I have a challenge for you. The next time you are stopping yourself short from trying something new or accomplishing any goal that you desire, ask yourself if what is stopping you is a fear or a danger. I challenge you to question this because I am on a mission to help you realize that you can go from reacting to life to owning your life. One way to learn how to own your life is to conquer your fears and take chances. It is important to take balanced risks, apply yourself, and reach your goals that you have deep inside of you. If you are fearful, you will not do any of that. This is what we need to change.
I heard a phrase recently, and ever since I heard it I have had it stuck in my head. It is, “is it a fear or is it a danger?” I love this question! That is why I want to challenge you the next time you are hesitant to move forward to ask yourself this question. Is this a fear or is it a danger? I am pretty certain that the majority of the time the answer will be fear. We can tackle fear! If something is a danger, we know not to do it. Fear on the other hand, we need to face head on and get to the bottom of it.
An example of a danger is one where the risk is too high and you could severely damage yourself, your reputation, your livelihood, or those around you. An example of a danger is going to a cash advance store to borrow a lot of money when the large interest rate will never allow you to pay it back. The math simply does not add up. Contrary to this would be a fear of asking your parents for a short-term loan, or even asking your employer for an advance on your paycheck. Yes, you are fearful to look unprepared and maybe even a bit desperate in their eyes, but that is opposite of putting yourself in a financial bind that will only get worse….and get worse very quickly.
After you acknowledge that what is holding you back is fear, it is important to sit with that for awhile. Why is this a fear? Are you afraid of failing? Afraid of looking foolish? Afraid of going bankrupt? Afraid of becoming homeless from a really poor choice? Once you have figured it out, then I want you to name it. Yes. Name it. Naming it brings it to life where you can better continue to tackle it head on and have a conversation with it.
Now that your fear is named you can have a conversation with it, ask it questions, and pick it apart. For the sake of demonstrating herein, the name of this fear is “Fear of Failing at Starting My Own Business.” Now you can start to ask it questions:
- What exactly are you afraid of?
- Why do you think you will fail?
- Are you prepared to start your own business?
- Do you have emergency money saved up to fill in and help cushion you until you fully take off?
- Have you done your research on your target market and how you can make an impact?
- Do you already have your business established?
With the answers to these questions you will begin to further confirm whether it is a fear or a danger. Examples of how answers to the above would be a danger:
- This is my 5th attempt at starting my own business and I have done nothing more or different to prepare myself.
- I haven’t been successful the other several times of attempting to start my own business.
- No, and I have a large mortgage, two car payments, and $25,000 in credit card debt.
- No, and I owe my sister $5,000 from the last attempt, and my Grandmother $12,000 from the attempt before that.
- Yes, and selling ice cubes on the Arctic would be fun and something I’ve always wanted to do.
- No, and I don’t know where to start. I like to wing things.
Examples of how answers to the original questions above would be a fear:
- I’m afraid of being lean financially for the first few months where I may need to use money from my savings account.
- I actually don’t think I will fail, I just worry because all the pressure is on me to make my own paycheck.
- Yes. I have a business plan, I have current clients that are waitlisted until I have openings, and I have myself organized and ready.
- Yes. I have a full six months of money saved to cover my current household expenses. I also have a separate account that is specifically for covering my business in case I have any lean months.
- Yes. I have done my research and my business is entering the next $3 trillion market. I can run this business both in person and online.
- Yes. I have been doing this part-time for two years and have a steady and consistent flow of clients. With more time in my schedule, I will be able to see more people.
You can see from the overly exaggerated examples above why asking these questions, answering them honestly, and then picking them apart will quickly allow you to see if what you want to do is a fear or a danger. With the first example, you would not do it because of large odds of financial ruin. With the second example, you can quickly see just how prepared you actually are and that you just need to take that first step and trust.
Another option you can add to this exercise is to ask with the fear questions what is the worst thing that can happen. When doing this you automatically start to develop a Plan B, which is always a good idea to have anyway. An overarching Plan B to the fear questions and answers above is that you can get a different job. When you see it this way you further confirm that it is a fear and not a danger.
This exercise is an example to test your true grit, determine how badly you actually want what you desire, and to help you naturally make your own decision. It is a shame to not go after your dreams because you are fearful. Once you do this process once, you will see how effective it is and you can apply it to so much more in your life.
I wish you all the luck with this process and in discovering your dreams!