Did you know that there are some common fears that you and I face, particularly if we are thinking about making some changes in our lives?
Have you have ever been discouraged, fearful, or anxious about making changes in your life, relationships, or business endeavors? I know I have.
Before I go any further, I want to let you know there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are ways you can be released from fear! You have within yourself the power to allow your dreams, grit, and tenacity to turn these common fears into a powerful force that can propel you towards your dreams and aspirations.
In 2017 I penned a book, The No-Fear Entrepreneur, which resulted from my own journey in understanding some of the fears that you and I commonly face. Building this book was a survey that I sent out to hundreds of entrepreneurs, primarily women, and their responses helped set the book’s tone.
Here is a quick summary of the top 3.
1. Fear of Rejection — 94.85%
2. Fear of Failure — 92.74%
3. Fear of Criticism — 82.98%
The Fear of Rejection
The fear of rejection is a powerful fear that can cast a long shadow over a person’s life. Most of us experience the same fear and anxiety when placed in situations that could lead to rejection. Still, for some people, the fear can become debilitating. An untreated fear of rejection tends to worsen over time, gradually consuming every part of an individual’s life.
I know in my own journey as a writer, I have had to face this one head-on. I remembered a few years ago, one of my mentors said, “Will you get the book written so I can endorse it, be prepared to have a thick skin!” After four rejections from my first manuscript, I understood what they meant. Incidentally, that book idea is still on hold. The good news, I’ve had three additional books published.
And my mentor, Florence Littauer, was one of the first endorsers for my first book, Get a Grip on Depression.
The Fear of Failure
When you act out of fear, your fears come true. Fears about creativity fall into two families — worries about yourself and fears about your reception by others. In a general way, fears about yourself prevent you from doing your best work.
Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is a delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.
I believe that C.S. Lewis hit the nail on the head when dealing with the fear of failure. “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.
The Fear of Criticism
I love this quote from Darrell Stetler II, a Methodist Pastor in Kentucky: “One of the most natural things humans do is be afraid of what other people will think. You may not believe this affects you… you might not be a part of something like this: Are you a member of the ’Dependent Order of Really Meek and Timid Souls’? The acrostic of the first letters of its name forms the word “doormats.” The Doormats have an official insignia — a yellow caution light. The official motto is: ’The meek shall inherit the earth if that’s ok with everybody!’”
Here are some things I’ve learned in my own journey that might help you confront and conquer your fears.
Fear-based Decision Making
Fear-based decision making is when you let the voices, your concerns, and worries determine your actions (or, in most cases, you lack activity)
“I want to write a book, but what if people hate it? Maybe I should read more.
“I want to share this new idea I have with my co-workers, but they would probably laugh me off.”
The result is that you do not do the things that you say are important to you.
I’ve known these voices myself. For years, I refused to write because of an event that happened in the 10th grade. I had a teacher tell me that I would never be a good writer, and I allowed that thought to take root, and for years I allowed it to hold me back. I do not blame the teacher. After all, she planted the idea. I chose to water it and nurture it.
So, catch your breath and let it out slowly. These are common issues that all of us face. However, that does not mean that we should continue to do it.
5 Resilient-based Ideas that will help You Push Forward
After all of my mistakes, I have learned a few things and learned about managing the voices.
1. Don’t pick goals where the stakes are small.
When you stay inside the safety of your comfort zone, by listening to and obeying the little voices in your head, you will most likely self-sabotage. It is not so much failure as it is a clever way of holding you back.
If you fail inside your comfort zone, it is not a failure. It is just maintaining the status quo. If that is all that you want to do, you will never try anything new, and the voices will have won.
2. Nobody is rooting for you to fail.
Maybe you will succeed. Perhaps you will fall flat on your face. For the most part, nobody cares one way or the other.
This is a good thing! The world in front of you is massive, and you and I are small, and that means you can pursue your dreams with little worry about what people think.
3. Just because you do not like where you have to start doesn’t mean you should not get started.
I wish I were a better writer when I started writing. I wish I were more thoughtful about money and business when I first started. I wish I were a better photographer when I picked up a camera. However, more than anything, I am glad that I chose to start even though it was not very pretty in the beginning.
Here is a tricky question I had to ask myself. How long will you put off what you can do to maintain what you are currently doing?
4. Stop making uncertain things, certain.
Who says you are going to fail? Just because someone else didn’t do well in that job or business does not mean you will also fail.
You always have a choice, and in America, those choices can lead you to a place of self-satisfaction, increased self-esteem, profitability, blessing others, and living intentionally.
Stop acting, believing that failure is a sure thing for you. It is not.
5. The only absolute failure is not taking any action in the first place.
We all struggle with feelings of fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability. Unfortunately, most of us let those feelings dictate our actions. For this reason, the simple decision to act is often enough to separate you from most people. You do not need to be great at what you do. You need to be the person who decides to do it.
You can experience more blessings and success by doing the things that most people make excuses to avoid.
By now, I am sure your head may be spinning, so allow me to help you anchor your thoughts in a safe, encouraging, and honest word, an ancient text found in 2 Timothy 1:8 (Amplified Bible).
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and love and sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and love and sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
No matter what issues you are dealing with, the truth in this passage can help you be strong, courageous and face the fear/s that you are dealing with.
If you feel stuck, get some help. There are folks all around you who can help. Besides, there are webinars, books, and podcasts that can help. I offer Work-Life Consulting/Coaching to develop a personalized plan to help you push through fear.
For more information, check out my website www.johnthurman.info.
After all, what do you have to lose?
Will you choose to face your biggest fear and take action, or will the fear of facing it keep you in the cocoon of complacency.