Deciding that you are going to put yourself out there and you are going to push the ‘GO’ button on pursuing your chosen path can be terrifying. And if you feel like that, don’t despair. Dealing with fear is a way of life when you are creating something new.
The fear of releasing an idea, product, service, charity, cause out into the world is a normal response to the emotional risk that we are taking.
Fear is normal
When I first launched Women Unlimited back in 2008, I felt excited, nervous, uncertain, ambitious, terrified and exhilarated. I knew I wanted to create something that supported women entrepreneurs, I knew that there was a gap for a site that was smart, professional and not too girly and I knew that I was the right person to bring it to the market.
But I also knew that while sometimes I can be highly motivated and get lots done and there are other times that I struggle to get out of bed. And I also knew that there have been many times in the past that I have decided to do something and it never gets out of idea stage. Or that I start on a project and the motivation for it has fizzled out before it has a chance to really succeed.
What fear looks like
As I am going through redefining what Women Unlimited is and as we change our focus, I have more fear. And at times that fear can literally take my breath away… but there is also a sense of excitement, of anticipation.
Can I do this?
Am I the right person?
Do I know enough?
What if nobody show up?
And I could go on. And sometimes that fear wins. It slows me down and gets in the way. I lose direction. I compromise.
Thankfully, those things aren’t permanent. They are just mini diversions. And then I get back on track again.
Ways to deal with the fear
Here are some of my suggestions on how to deal with that fear.
Get really clear on why you are doing what you are doing.
Take some time to really get in touch with your own motivation and vision. What is your motivation for taking this action? What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to serve?
Keep the focus
It is so easy to lose focus, particularly if you have lots of other things going on at the same time. If we let it, life has a tendency to get in the way of pursuing our goals; parenting, relationships, friendships, arguments, career, financial worries and more. There is always stuff that we have to deal with, the trick is to just decide that you are going to find a way to keep your vision front of mind. Keep reminding yourself about it. Don’t let it go.
Remind yourself regularly about your motivation
There are many ways that you can do this, so choose one that feels good for you. For me, the most effective way to do this is through meditation. I’m a little too impatient to meditate for very long, so I set a timer for 10, 12 or 15 minutes and just close my eyes, think about my vision and then, ask for guidance and then relax into the peace and space that is created.Other people like journaling, where you write every day or every couple of days on your thoughts, ideas and progress or you might use affirmations. Other ideas include putting post-it notes up on your wall or create a wallpaper for your computer or phone. Just do something that is going to keep you thinking about what you want to do or create.
Set goals and targets
There is a lot written about the benefits of goals and targets – but I’m going to be really honest here and say that I find goal setting challenging. Setting the goals is the easy bit, but I have a tendency to have expectations that are too high or I want to achieve too much in the time allocated and then feel like a failure when I don’t achieve them.If you are a goal setter that is great, please continue. If you are not a natural goal setter, then cut yourself some slack and just focus on the vision.I have also found that it’s not great for my mental or physical health to set goals that are too difficult either in output or time – so I have learned to be a bit easier on myself as I’ve gotten older and make sure that I give myself proper time to achieve the goals I want. I think there is potentially a lot of damage done in the name of ‘hustle’ – particularly for women.
Build in some accountability
Find an accountability buddy that you check in wiht regularly and agree your actions and share your progress. If you don’t have anyone that you can do this with, use a diary/ planner where you write down your activities and check them off and even give yourself a reward.For me, one of the effective ways to bring in accountability is to announce what I’m doing publicly and set a target date. It (usually) galvanises me to actually do the work and get it out on a particular date.
Don’t let perfection get in the way
Perfection is a problem for many women and can stop us from actually getting things done. It can be uncomfortable putting things out there when there is a part of you that knows that it could be better, but trust me, waiting for perfect is a fools game. Most people won’t even notice the flaws that seem so glaringly obvious to you.
Let your intuition be your guide
If it feels wrong, it probably is. This is a hard lesson to learn and maybe be costly (as I discovered to my detriment when I signed a contract for £8000 for the wrong venue … but that’s another story). So learn to listen to your inner wisdom. Learn to know when it is fear talking and when something isn’t right. And trust yourself over others, really tune in to what your intuition and energy are telling you.
Get comfortable with the uncomfortable
Fear never goes away. The difference between those that are successful and those that aren’t is that those that are successful don’t let the fear win. Anytime you are emotionally invested in an uncertain outcome, you are likely to feel fear. So you might as well embrace it and welcome it as a sign that you are stretching yourself.
Know that this is a journey
As you go about bringing your idea and vision into the world, there will be times that things don’t go according to plan. So, decide that you are going to be flexible right from the start. Be open to new opportunities and ideas, follow your instinct, even when it doesn’t always make sense and learn from your mistakes. Enjoy the journey as that is where all the fun is.
Bringing your vision into the world is an act of great bravery, so give yourself a massive pat on the back.
Today I have fought my demons and won. Tomorrow I may fight and lose. But there is always another day.
You are doing something amazing and it is natural to be fearful – the trick is to make sure that you don’t let that fear win in the long run.