Are You Afraid?

 In Change

Michael is afraid.  Actually, he’s terrified.  A few years ago, he had a thriving consulting business, so he assumed things would always be good.  He was so busy working with his clients that he decided he no longer needed to actively market his services.
However, when Covid and resulting recession hit, his clients disappeared, and now he’s struggling to pay his bills.  Because of this he’s experiencing a paralyzing fear and is having trouble thinking about what to do to move ahead.  His fear has stopped him in his tracks.  He knows there are several things he can do to start reaching his clients, but his fear has become so big that he’s having trouble moving past it.

Can you relate to Michael?  Do your fears sometimes take over and interfere with your ability to function in your business or life?
Michael is not alone.  Fear is something we all experience when facing a new situation or feeling threatened in some way.  If you allow it to, fear has the power to control your behavior, and may interfere with your ability to be effective, successful, happy, and healthy.  It will also negatively impact your relationships.
Fear is actually a thought process that results from negative self-talk about your situation. When confronted with a challenge people often focus on the worst that can happen, which then may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  When we feel fear we often magnify our inadequacies, former failures, and inability to be worthy or cope. It just builds from there.
Fear, and the resulting anxiety, can trigger physical symptoms and bodily responses. Common physical reactions to anxiety include shortness of breath, sweaty palms, inability to hear think or focus (fuzzy brain), increased heart rate, distractability, etc.
The problem with fear is that it lurks in the back of your mind. Then, at unexpected times, when you are feeling vulnerable, it surfaces, grips your thoughts, and directs or dictates your behaviors.  Michael is having a difficult time looking at his fear because it brings up painful emotions and reminds him that he is vulnerable and not always in control. Things he doesn’t want to look at.

The good news about fear is that you can confront it, and once you do, it will no longer control you. Fear only has power over you when you run from it. The faster you run and the more effort you put into ignoring whatever is frightening you, the stronger and more powerful it will become.  The goal is to turn down the intensity of the fear so you can begin to think clearly and see ways through it.
This often takes courage, strong self-esteem and creating a feeling of being powerful.  Michael decided he could do this.
Together we looked at several things Michael can do to overcome his fear:

  • Look directly at and confront his fear. Be honest with himself about it all.
  • Be clear about what is so terrifying and what he thinks will happen.
  • Ask himself what is the worst that could happen?  Then ask himself if he could physically survive this?
  • Change the focus from the negative and the fear, to the positive and what he wants.
  • Realize that when he changes the way he thinks, he will change the way he acts
  • Focus on what he wants to happen and develop a clear picture of this.
  • Look at what he Can do, instead of what he thinks he can’t.
  • Get back into control by figuring out what he needs to do to move ahead.
  • Break it down into small steps and take action.
  • Visualize himself moving ahead and towards his goal. 

Michael now realizes that what he created with his imagination is much worse than the reality, and that even if the worst does happen and he loses his business, he is a capable competent person and will be able to find ways to survive and rebuild.
Once Michael stopped running and faced his fear, its power to intimidate and paralyze him diminished.  This allowed him to clear his head and begin to strategize ways to ramp up his marketing and move ahead.
He began to create an action plan that included revisiting and updating his old marketing plan; rejoining networking groups to renew former connections; contact civic organizations about speaking to a meeting, and visualizing where he wants to be 6 months from now.
So, I’m wondering, what do you do when you are afraid?  Do you let it stop and paralyze you, or do you confront it, move through it and move ahead?
It’s something to think about.

Sandy Abell is a best-selling author, speaker, business and life coach and Licensed Professional Counselor. She is also co-host of the podcast, Your Personal Power Pod.  You can listen wherever you stream your podcasts or on the website at . 

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