Be Afraid. (Then Make It Work For You)

be afraid (then make it work for you)

Do one thing every day that scares you. Eleanor Roosevelt

Part I- You have nothing to fear but having no fear.

Fear. The very word strikes fear in our hearts. But by the end of October, we will voluntarily buy a ticket to some Halloween thriller. As a general rule, humans try to avoid any situation where they will have to feel their fear. Because entrepreneurs draw every asset from their bank of courage, and take huge risks just to start a business, fear often trails close behind. Fear can cause us to cower like little children in the dark.

Fear is unavoidable. Psychologists call this response “lizard brain”. The lizard part of our brain handles the fight or flight mechanism–that primal instinct that creates an involuntary response. We humans do not like it because it is something we cannot control. And we love to be in control.

Thousands of articles exist to help you overcome fear–so many that it seems unnecessary to say more. Instead, we will discuss something this month that is worse than being afraid. What could possibly be worse than fear you ask? You may not have thought about it before.

Worse than being afraid is having no fear at all.

Fear is a rational response to many situations. Fear is a signal to perform some sort of preemptive action, usually somewhere in the realm of self-preservation. Without fear, we would have no adrenaline to act in times of real peril. The very survival of our species would be in question. Fear then is a good and helpful motivator. Yet at other times, it is paralyzing. And all the time, it just feels bad.

The real problem with fear is not that it exists, but rather its tendency to show up when we least want it. We find ourselves without the tools to deal with it. And at those times, the more we try to get rid of it, the more it multiplies like rabbits. We need to not get rid of it, but work with it. Because when we learn to recognize it, harness it, and work through it, fear can yield some very powerful results. So go ahead. Be afraid.

Imagine for a moment what having no fear might mean:

Having no fear may indicate you are not growing. It may mean you think you know everything. Confidence is good. Overconfidence is not. Because every small business has problems, overconfidence means you are engaging in a battle that you do not yet know you are fighting. If you had seen this battle coming, you would have prepared–but you were not looking for it.

Having no fear may mean that you are not learning. A gap always exists between where we are and where we need to be. And much business failure comes from the gap. If we avoid leaping the gap, we will never become. Angst is always associated with the leap. Continual learning in small business is essential. We do not know what we do not know.  But if you do not fear the gap, you will not be motivated to overcome it.

Having no fear may mean you are quite comfortable in your comfort-zone. Staying where you are is sure-fire demise in business. Your fear could provide the fuel to push beyond where you think you can go. For example, if you would rather die than give a presentation, fear may motivate you to sign up for a speech class–especially if your job depends on that presentation. In practicing for it, (because you are so afraid you will screw it up), you may discover new abilities that you never knew you possessed.

All entrepreneurs should own a T-shirt that reads “Some Fear”. Fear is a good and healthy and rational response to a good many situations. Join us all this month when we learn to listen for things that go bump in the night, and then turn that bump into the sound of progress.

Do not fear to feel your fear. Feel it. Then put it to work for you.

Join us next week for Part II: Be Afraid. (Then Make It Work For You.)


Why do we at etc!graphics inc, a graphic design company, care about your business strategies?  Because no matter how beautiful we make your visuals, your graphics will never make more sense than the clarity of your own vision. The clearer your target, the more lucid your marketing, and the better connection from your visual graphics. We want to help you become the best you can be. Join us all this month as we share ways to help your small business sustain and grow in a crowded marketplace. Etc!Graphics is devoted to helping you, the small business owner, think like a marketer.

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