I guarantee if you aren’t where you’d like to be it’s because of one of these three fears:
Fear of the Unknown
What it is: Uncertainty about options; not knowing how it will all turn out; unsure what’s “out there.”
How it manifests: Revisiting the same options over and over, unsure which one is “best.”
How to know if you’re a victim: You’ve been considering doing something for awhile but keep talking yourself out of it. May also manifest in your spouse, friend, or coworkers saying, “Are you still talking about this?” or “Not this again…”
What to do about it: Clarify who you are and then use that self-knowledge as the lens through which you analyze your options. Does one of your options appear to align with who you are more than what you are currently doing? DO IT. Always choose authenticity and anything that gets you closer to being you more of the time. Everyone wins when you’re you.
Still stuck? Do a force-field analysis. Draw a line down the center of the page. List option #1 on one side and option #2 on the other. List the factors under each that would contribute to you choosing that option, e.g. money, time, great co-workers, better location. Then assign a point value from 1 to 10 to each. Sum the two columns at the bottom and voila! A quantitative way to make decisions. Now, more importantly, pay attention to how you feel about the option that won. Are you excited, relieved, disappointed? That probably says more than anything.
Fear of Failure
What it is: Most fear is this kind. It’s a fear of doom and gloom — a fear that you will make the “wrong” decision, people will laugh, and you’ll prove to be a massive failure.
How it manifests: Lots and lots of excuses. “I’d do that, but…” or “the timing’s just not right” or “I need to get all my ducks in a row first.”
How you know if you’re a victim: You’ve bought a whiteboard recently. Or you’ve said, “as soon as I have _____ or _____ happens, then I’ll be ready.”
What to do about it: Identify proof points in the marketplace — people who are doing what you want to do — and interview them. You’ll boost your confidence and get clearer about a potential path to success.
Still stuck? Make a list of immediate actions that will actually move you forward and attack them. Beware of faux actions that appear to move you forward but don’t, like creating a business plan, rebranding yourself, or organizing your materials.
Still still stuck? Get clear about what success will look like so that you can be realistic about what it will take to “make it.”
Still still still stuck? Let’s talk. I’ve got about a thousand more ideas.
Fear of Financial Insolvency
What it is: A fear that you won’t make enough to support yourself and the decision will lead you and your family down a dark pit of despair and straight into poverty.
How it manifests: An excessive focus on needing to know how much you’ll make in your new venture. It also may manifest as over-inflating your needs, e.g. “I need at least six figures to make this work.”
How you know if you’re a victim: You’ve said, “I’d love to do it, but what if I don’t make any money?” Or, you’ve flat-out blamed money for your risk-aversion — “yeah, I just don’t think I could make it financially.”
What to do about it: The worst thing you can do is guess, as in the statements above. That’s straight-up lazy. Want to know if you’ll make it? Figure out how much you need to make it. Then figure out how much it pays. Then break it down monthly and do the hard work of projecting exactly how much it’ll yield.
Still stuck? Create a survive budget and a thrive budget. The survive budget is just that — how much you need to live minimally for 6 months while you get your venture up and running. It’s an amount you don’t want to be at for long, but you can survive at if need be. We’re talking rent/mortgage, utilities, food, and gas. Also create a thrive budget, a line-item budget that sums to the amount you need to feel like you’re thriving. This is the number after which you can no longer blame lack of money for your lack of happiness.
Oh, and the reason I can write about these is because I’m an expert in all three. I’ve lived them for the past seven years daily. The goal isn’t to ignore them, but to work with them. Or, better yet, to work in spite of them.
Which one is your pet fear??
Hi! I'm Dustin.
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