I was having a conversation with my good friend and Money Manifester, Karen Baines, the other day and we were talking about the man sitting in an office in the opposite building to us. Here was a man, whom we had presumed, had chosen to work 9-5 every day and have a guaranteed paycheck at the end of the month. We, on the other hand, had chosen to work for ourselves, where clients are not guaranteed, monthly incomes are not guaranteed and the truth is that fear is something we have to battle with every day.
As entrepreneurs, we have chosen not to take the safe, comfortable, potentially boring route of working for someone else. Of course, you get a guaranteed paycheck at the end of the month, you get paid holiday and sick leave but the potential to increase your monthly/yearly wage is relatively minimal. We know that there are no guarantees in the corporate world either and a job is no longer for life. Plus the 9-5 is really more like 8-7 and possibly working at the weekends too but there is still an element of comfort and certainty, which a lot of people understandably find very attractive.
Getting comfortable with uncertainty
As entrepreneurs, we have effectively chosen the road of uncertainty for ourselves but fear is nonetheless a feeling which can be paralysing and unhelpful as we try to grow our businesses. And fear is a particularly common emotion when it comes to the challenge of enhancing your visibility and putting yourself out there. Fear can strike when you are considering charging higher fees or giving away some of your best stuff as a means of growing your reputation establishing your credibility.
But what we, as entrepreneurs and business owners, need to remember and remind ourselves is that we have chosen to travel the road of uncertainty for a good reason. We know that our journeys will be frightening at times but if we get it right then our dream clients, our ideal lifestyle and a very healthy bank balance could all be within our reach.
My feeling is always that the universe wants us to step up and to experience the joy of having a wait list of VIP clients, a sell-out online programme, a £100K per month income and/or a two-day working week. But all this also needs to be in alignment with your desires and who you really are as a person.
What does stepping up look like?
In the realms of business and in life, stepping up often means stepping outside of our comfort zone.
To be the person we truly want to be we have to take a degree of risk regardless of the outcome, regardless of whether or not we will be judged or criticised.
It doesn’t always have to be a gigantic leap. History and experience tells us that slow and steady progress that is sustainable is much better than having amazing success that fizzles out very quickly.
Sometimes we just need to take baby steps and give ourselves the chance to learn and digest information before we move forward again and take another step forward. Taking on too much too quickly can be disastrous. It can lead to situations in which you’re not just fearful you are absolutely terrified and unable then to get the clarity you need to keep making positive progress.
But stepping out of your comfort zone and into our courage zone doesn’t have to be terrifying. Taking small steps in the right direction is what it’s really all about and by doing so you start to build up your confidence and your belief in yourself and what you’re trying to achieve. Then before you know it you can start taking giant leaps without realising and without being terrified of what might go wrong.
It worked for me
When I first started my business, The Blueprint Group Practice, I got to a point after the first 12 months where I realised that if I wanted to grow I was going to have to start presenting to groups and large audiences. People are often surprised when they find out that I suffer with fear and nerves when presenting. The truth is I always get nervous even today when presenting. I’ve learned to control my nerves but they are still there.
In the corporate world, I had managed to present very few times. I was comfortable having one-to-one conversations and over time I got comfortable contributing to group conversations but when I had to stand up and present that was a whole different matter. And guess what, I coached all the consultants I worked with on how to present in front of 100s of people including our clients but I held a deep fear inside about doing it myself.
When I was faced with having to grow my own business and I realised that public speaking was going to be important I decided to throw myself in at the deep end. Rather than volunteering to do a short 10 or 20 minute presentation somewhere, I held my own day-long workshop. This might seem crazy but it was the challenge that I needed.
I was super nervous before the workshop but that nervousness meant that I focused in on what needed to be done and I worked extremely hard on learning my material forward and back. So when it came to running my first workshop on that cold March morning, I knew my stuff so well that I grew in confidence as the day went on and by the end I felt much more secure in my abilities to hold people’s attention and get my messages across when I really need to.
Overcoming your fears
I think it was the great Nelson Mandela who said that courage isn’t about not being afraid, it’s about being afraid but then being brave enough to overcome that fear. For entrepreneurs, this is an important idea to keep in mind because being fearful is inevitable. The key to success is using that fear as motivation and using it to drive you on towards the achievements that made you want to step away from the 9-5 or 8-7 working life and try something else in the first place.
As far as I’m concerned, being an entrepreneur is a great way to live life to the full and get everything you want out of every day. I hope you feel that way too even if sometimes it can be tough to take that leap of faith and step outside your comfort zone.
If you liked this post please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and I would love to hear how you have overcome any fears in your life in the comments below – I know we will all learn a lot from them.