Are you standing in the way of your own success? Or maybe letting fear stand in your way?
If you are, you are not alone. We all let fear take the wheel sometimes. That’s true no matter where you are in your business. I see this show up in a lot of ways. Any of these sound familiar:
- I’m not ready to launch.
- Other people are doing what I do already (and better)
- I’m not good enough.
- Everyone else has it all figured out.
- What if no one buys this?
- What if people buy it and don’t like it?
In other words, what if I fail? Fear of failure kind of makes sense (though you still don’t want it to stall your business.) But I also see people getting held back by fear of success. Fear of success? Yes—it looks like:
- My life is working right now. I don’t want to mess that up.
- What if I things take off and I can’t keep up?
- If I did get speaking gigs, what will that mean for my family?
- What if I’m uber successful and I don’t have time for my kids?
- I’m afraid my husband will be jealous if I make more money than him.
- I worry that if I fill my program I won’t have time for myself.
Whether we fear failure or success (or a messy mix of both), fear holds us back—if we let it.
Let’s not let it.
Breathe Through Discomfort
First of all, figure out if it’s really fear.
Maybe you’ve been successful running one kind of business, but now you are going to do something different. Fear keeps creeping in.
Or your youngest child just started preschool and suddenly you aren’t working just during nap time anymore. You wonder: What do I do with this time? Should I have put her in preschool? I have more time now, why can’t I get more done?
Sometimes we aren’t afraid as much as we are experiencing the discomfort that comes with growth and change. When that happens, you might be tempted to pull back—slow down on a new business or rush into a new launch or tell yourself you aren’t good enough.
But really, you need to learn to sit through transition, breathe through the discomfort and keep going. (And you don’t have to do it alone. Talk about it. I guarantee that you aren’t alone. Tap into your Mama CEO community.)
If it’s really fear, look it head on and get yourself past it.
Name Your Fear
One of the first steps to taking back control when fear starts to take over is simply naming your fear.
Take time to think it through. Journal about it. What’s really bothering me? What’s holding me back?
Maybe you know. Maybe you keep saying it: I’m afraid nobody will buy my program. Or maybe you need to dig a little deeper to realize that you are afraid you won’t have time for your kids if your program takes off.
While you are naming fears, name your stress trigger as well. For me, I know I need enough space in my calendar. When I don’t have it, I get anxious. So if I’m feeling stressed and like I can’t do this, I sign my kids up for a day of afterschool care or move an appointment to give myself some bigger chunks of time.
I know somebody else who gets stressed when there is too much open time. Everyone’s stress triggers are different. If you know yours, you can get yourself out of a stress-fear cycle.
Just naming your fear starts to take some power away from it. Plus once you know what you are up against, you can figure out what you are going to do about it.
Reframe Your Fear
One thing you can do to address your fears is reframe them. Start, as I said, by naming your fear:
No one will buy my program.
Now ask yourself: What proof do I have that the statement is true or not true? What facts do you have?
I have sold programs before. Even when people didn’t buy right away, I ended up filling enough spaces.
Take another example, one that I hear all the time: I don’t know enough.
Let’s say you are a successful health coach who is bringing her practice online, but you keep saying I don’t know enough to do this. What facts support or discount that statement?
Your education and certification are facts that you know your stuff. But, you say, I don’t know how to do an online program.
Ah, your fear is that you don’t know enough about running an online business. But you do know that you created a website and started an email list. You’ve tapped into a network of online business owners. You know enough to take the next step—and you know how to learn what you need to know. You know enough.
Create a mantra
Creating a mantra is another way to tackle the fear. Write your fear on a Post-it or in your notebook. Then cross out all the negative words and replace them with positive revisions.
Say you’re afraid you don’t know enough and can’t deliver, so you write: I don’t have the skills to get people the results they want.
Cross out the negatives: I
don’t have the skills to get people the results they want.
You have a positive mantra.
I have the skills to get people the results they want.
Sometimes you need to replace or massage your mantra.
So if you wrote Nobody is going to buy my program, you cross out the negatives and get:
Nobody is going to buy my program. But you need something more.
Write: The right people are going to buy my program.
Read your mantra aloud to yourself. Post it on your mirror, in your workspace, all around you. Remind yourself every day that you can do this.
Dealing with What Ifs
But what if your fears come true? What if nobody signs up for your program? What if you sell zero of your new product? What if nobody shows up for your webinar?
Fear is about the unknown. So name your fear and your worst case scenario. And then ask yourself what you would do.
So if you launch your program and nobody buys it, you won’t have the money you had budgeted for the mortgage. So maybe you sell one-on-one slots to clients to fill the gap. Or you pull it down, review and adjust the marketing, build your list, and relaunch it in two months. Or get a job at Starbucks to cover the bills and launch something new in Q3.
Having a plan for the what ifs helps us get past the fear and keep moving.
But before you hit that what if moment, make sure you know the indicators that you are heading toward your worst case scenario.
If your worst case scenario is that you’ll get so busy you won’t have time for your kids, recognize what that looks like: Does it mean you can’t pick them up for school? Does it mean missing events? Does it mean not volunteering in their class any more? Does it mean having to work on the weekends? These things becomes indicators that you are moving toward your fear.
Instead of backing off so that you don’t accidentally become “too” successful, use these indicators to course correct.
Maybe you raise your rates so you can work less or decide to launch a group program instead of only doing one-on-one work. Or maybe you decide that you will have somebody else pick up your kids after school, but you won’t work weekends at all. You get to decide.
Take One Step
When we get overwhelmed or fearful, we tend to do one of two things: freeze or tornado.
Freezers can’t move forward so we waste time on Facebook. We clean our office. We can’t make any decisions or do anything.
Tornadoers start to do everything. Instead of following a course of action, we have to do all the things: the webinar we hadn’t even thought about, a new product in addition to the one we’re already launching, saying yes to everything people ask us to do . . .
Neither of those response is productive. But the good news is that if you are caught in either of those reactions to fear, stress, or anxiety, the solution is the same: Just take one step.
Write one email.
Make one call.
Decide one thing.
Forget all the things that need to happen and take that one next step.
Don’t let fear run (or stall) your business. Step aside and get out of the way and then move forward into your own success.