I’ve done a lot of scary things in my life, especially when I was younger and didn’t realize the risks I was taking. As we grow older, we take on a new relationship with risk. We begin to analyze more, make “better” choices, and think twice before doing things outside of our comfort zone.
The funny thing about fear is that we often don’t register it as such. When it isn’t a life or death situation (like skydiving), we tend to process and manage fear differently.
Starting my business was the scariest thing I ever did, but at the time, I wasn’t able to articulate my feelings. Instead, I avoided doing anything to grow my business. At times I thought I was “lazy” or “bad at business,” but in truth, I was afraid to put my ideas and talents out into the world. I was afraid of potential judgement and criticism that seemed inevitable when opening myself and putting it all out there.
Unfortunately it is usually the things that we want most in life that we end up putting off the longest. We make excuses, push it to the back of our minds and even write it on our “to do next year” list!
But this keeps you from getting what you really want. Here are a few helpful tips that I discovered for moving forward with your big dreams, since fear doesn’t always make progress easy.
- Get real: Do you really want this dream? It can begin to take a toll on your self-esteem and your motivation if, year after year, you don’t complete your goal. With every new year, I (and most of America) set out to lose weight and look better. Every year I remain the same and don’t lose a pound. Two years ago I decided that in all actuality, this was not my priority. I wanted to make 2013 all about quitting my job and traveling, not about cutting calories and spending 2 hours a day in the gym. Once I let go of this “fake dream,” I felt better about myself, focused my attention elsewhere and (ironically) lost more weight than I had in previous years!
- Educate yourself. When you understand something from many angles, it will no longer seem foreign to you, and fear subsides when things become more familiar. For instance, I’ve been curious for awhile about writing a book. I kept getting “stuck” whenever I would begin to imagine the technicalities of publishing. I recently spoke with another person who has written a book before, and I purchased a book about writing books … and all this info has me revved up and ready to dive in! So pinpoint what has you stuck, and do something small to educate yourself. This will help you move beyond fear and into step 3.
- Do “something.” If you followed my advice in step 2, you may have even pieced together a plan breaking down where to start. Some people operate best by taking small baby steps, and some people prefer to jump in headfirst and fill in the rest as they go. I’ve done both.
When I finally quit my job (to get ready to travel), I had been planning and mapping it out for a good 6 – 9 months. I had set sales goals in my business and a timeframe that I wanted to meet them by. When I met them, I quit. However, booking tickets to Malaysia and China for the first time with my husband was very spur-of-the-moment as I got an email alert about good travel deals. We booked and filled in the all the necessary pieces leading up to our trip. It doesn’t matter what the dream is, you have to take the first step before you can get to the finish line!
Have you overcome your fear to accomplish a big dream? Or, do you have a big dream you have yet to fulfill that you want to commit to bringing to life this year? Share in the comments below!
Anna Long-Stokes of Electric Empire / www.electric-empire.com
Anna is an Intuitive Business Strategist who helps small business owners Build, Electrify and Rule their Empires. To read more of her musings and encouragement, check out her blog at www.electric-empire.com.