I recently underwent an exercise is self-loathing, doubt and despair. Sounds thrilling doesn’t it?
The subject of fear is difficult to wrangle, but it is one of the most important subjects I cover in my workshops and in my business launch program. Because to truly understand where you are going, you must first accept fear.
Accepting fear allows you to avoid entrepreneurial bipolar disorder
We’re smart enough to conceptually, and sometimes rationally, understand fear. But having control over it is another story. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself with entrepreneurial bipolar disorder - one moment you feel that you can do it and the next you're convinced there’s no way you could, it’s just too hard.
Taking the backroads
I’ve been studying the actual, physiological process of fear. We owe all our angst in life to a little piece of our brain called the amygdala. This is our fear brain – it sits 1 ½ inches straight in from our temple.
When you encounter something new, there are two neurological pathways that process a stimulus (i.e. opening our bank statement, making a sales call, going into the dark basement). One is a fast superhighway that is moving too quick to be bothered with details (no, that really is just a rubber snake...not an actual live cobra). The other is the slow backroad that takes in the scenery (ah, isn’t the view breathtaking – look at the trees, the flowers, oh look there’s a ladybug). The superhighway takes us to an unconscious, immediate reaction whereas the backroads allow you to process the information to then make an informed decision.
Working hard to get ahead of the curve
Our brains are actually programmed to sabotage any effort to override the initial fear response. It’s like a mother of a newborn baby who is protecting her little bundle – yes, I was just as neurotic with my little girl. But after a while you must let them experience life – fall down, pick themselves up, laugh, cry. It takes restraint to not swoop in at any little threat (big threats – yes; little threats – no). As gross as it may be, that clump of dog hair she just ate may cause a hairball but no life-threatening injuries...trust me on that one, I know first-hand.
This protective nature is how fear keeps us from participating in new (and perhaps better) experiences. Sure it keeps us from stepping off ledges, but it does not discern the level of risk. To our brain, risk is risk and is to be avoided at all costs. This is where we have to work hard if we ever want any new adventure in life.
May the fear be with you
I tell my clients that you have to fully accept the adversity that may come with the launch of a business – accept that failure is a possibility and be okay with it. I realize that sounds a little backwards but think of it in these terms: if you realize this concept in the beginning stages, you can set your efforts and focus to place all probabilities for success in your favor (i.e. do your research and make a plan).