Whilst many, if not most, business owners want to steer clear of fear, avoiding fear has many unhelpful consequences. It is valuable to remember that fear is natural emotion that everyone experiences and that there are multiple benefits to fear. Feeling fear warns us against dangers in business. (The corrupt employee, supplier or client; unethical behaviour; excessive risk taking; etc). Avoid fear and you may never take the well considered risk that makes the big difference to the results you get in your business. Tell yourself that you aren’t feeling fearful, nervous or worried, and suffer being perceived as inauthentic or worse physical symptoms that can follow through not “feeling your feelings”.
Feeling fearful is useful in a number of ways:
1. It can be a powerful intuitive emotion: Your “fear” can tell you that you are excited and interested in a new challenge or project. Excitement is simply the flip side of fear. You may wish to choose to interpret your fear as excitement. Learning to distinguish the two can help you take appropriate action. As yourself, I am fearful or I am simply excited and I am labelling it as fear and letting it stop me?
2. Fear can also act as a moral guide and be your inner conscious; it can be a tool to help you decide what is right and what is wrong. E.g It can help you act with integrity (which normally pays dividends in business and personal relationships). The business owner who acts with integrity is usually one you can trust.
3. Feeling fearful towards a supplier or client, for example, can cause you to decide that you no longer want to work with them. Working with suppliers and/or clients that fit and that you have positive feelings about, typically leads to the best business results.
4. Worry as an indicator of fear tells us we care about something. For example, if we were worried about our health it may prompt us to take better care of ourselves, and to consult a doctor if appropriate. The same applies to our business bottom line. Worry guides us in the direction of when and where to take action.
I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer which is so valuable and helpful if you are a worrier in business. It says: “God grant me the ability to change what I can change, accept what I can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference”. Using this in your business will help you to get the results you want and to feel calm at the same time!
It is your choice to see fear as a benefit or as a curse. Whilst it might sound counterintuitive, seeing the gift in fear and learning to make fear work for your business, can really help enhance your mastery of the inner game and help you get motivated at work to let go of what isn’t working or take action that might be really challenging, but nevertheless highly valuable!
How have you turned fear around into motivation that prompted beneficial action? Share your tips.
This article was written by Karen Skehel