Let’s Challenge Ourselves To Be More
It’s ok to be afraid. We all have some amount of fear when doing new things or putting ourselves out there, but the anxiety we are talking about today is the kind that cripples us when dealing with money or business.
Whether starting a business, making investment decisions, or deciding on what to eat for dinner, we all have fears that we could make the wrong decision. This leads to an anxiety that compels us to do nothing, or worse, leads to poor decision making.
I’ve made bad decisions in ALL of the business ventures I’ve attempted. Some of those decisions have led to complete abject failure. The difference between that failure and my future success is the ability to overcome the fear of making those mistakes.
I want to walk you through the mental roadblocks that are holding back your ultimate success, even as you scream and hold on to the door jamb begging not to go.
So take my hand, success isn’t going to come to you, you’ve got to go get it.So take my hand, success isn’t going to come to you, you’ve got to go get it. Click To Tweet
Afraid To Take Chances
Honestly, the most fun I’ve ever had when it comes to business or financial matters, is when there is a lot at stake. This creates an adrenaline rush for me that I liken to riding a roller coaster.
My mind is awash with possibilities and while failure could come at any moment, I’m not bracing for the problems, I’m preparing for the success.
What this really means, is that if you spend all of your time worrying, you won’t take the chance to begin with. Your fear will literally keep you from doing the things you know you should do.
How do you counter that fear directly? Keep the positives in mind about why you are taking chances in the first place. Anxiety can be irrational, and you must counter that with as much rationality as you can.
You aren’t going into these decisions without as much research as possible, so arm yourself with knowledge and look at the situation through that lens.
I once attempted to design, manufacture, and bring to market my own line of leather accessories. I researched and studied every aspect of the business until my keyboard and mouse begged for mercy.
Ultimately, I had to take a chance and get a prototype made, which cost me $250. At the time, that was about what I made in a month with the side business that was funding the prototype.
I knew what had to be done, I just needed to jump into the deep end.
Nothing feels better than holding a product you’ve designed from the ground up as a proof of concept.
More on that later.
Fear Of Market Failure
While the business aspect is an understandable anxiety we could all face, what if you are afraid of investing your hard earned dollars? What if 1929 or 2009 happens again and I lose everything?
If you are a new investor, this may seem like a reasonable fear, but I assure you it isn’t. Both of those market crashes lost huge sums of money, yes, but they didn’t bring the markets to zero. Which is what it would take for you to lose all of your money.
These market crashes, and the market corrections in between, is what leads to real gains in your portfolio. The stock market can not go up forever, and nor should it.
The only time you should fear major market loss, is when you are approaching your retirement and need immediate access to your money. Even then, if you have enough on hand, you should be able to weather anything the market throws at you.
So how do you overcome the fear of investing? Well, you read blogs like this one, for good advice of what to do and not to do. You also research your tail off, because like I said before, the more rational information you have, the less irrational fear will creep up.
Don’t let this anxiety of market movements keep you from making one of the best decisions of your life. The sooner you start investing, the closer you’ll be to freedom.
Time is your best friend.
Letting Fear Control You
You’re looking at your screen right now and wondering if I’m going to hit the heart of the matter. The fact that thinking positively and building knowledge of subjects doesn’t help with YOUR brand of anxiety.
My girlfriend Ashley has paralyzing anxiety that drives her to do some of the most irrational things. She refuses eye contact with strangers, or goes out of her way to avoid social awkwardness. Ash is aware that these things exist and that her anxiety helps to cause them.
Ash will also say that no amount of rationality will fix them. Being conscious of these traits doesn’t cure them.
And she would be right. There are times when anxiety and fear just won’t let go.
Don’t give up yet, though. I want you to try something that could help you to break the vicious cycle you may be facing.
While Ash won’t try this(Haha), what I’ve always done is to face the fear directly and do it anyway. This method is like pulling the bandage off quickly so that it lessens the pain.
This could help you initially, but this method works much better if you repeat the process regularly.
For example, if you’re afraid of investing, start with a sum that you wouldn’t mind losing, say $10. You wouldn’t miss that money, so pick a good index fund and invest it.
Yank that bandage off!
But to really push your fear over the edge, make it an automatic investment every time you get paid. Check back in a couple months and see how this decision made you feel.
That account is now growing and you only had a small prick of pain at the very beginning, good work!
Positively Reinforce Your Decisions
It may be ok that you face your fear and do something outside your comfort zone, but how do you go back to that new found strength and get stronger?
This is probably my favorite part of any venture or risk taking moment.
Look back on the decisions it took to get where you are. Count the successes and see where they have led you. Did the success outweigh the failure, or did your decisions blow up in your face like a cartoon rabbit?
Either way, you are a more learned person than before. If we don’t mentally revisit these decisions and apply the lessons learned to the future, we will never be successful.
The funny thing is that you’ll yell at me and say that you already knew that, but I promise you that you’ve made mistakes and instead of learning from them, you brushed the entire incident under a rug.
I know this because I have too.
Remember the leather accessory prototype that I ordered and took a huge risk in paying for? Like a proud papa, I ogled the item and caressed the leather, only to fail in the next step of the process.
I had spent so much time and energy in the design phase, that I had neglected some parts of what it would take to bring to market. You know, important stuff like cost of materials and shipping to the distributor. I didn’t have enough capital to move forward with that part of the process.
That lead to my new leather accessory becoming a very expensive mistake.
I quickly swept that portion of the process under the rug.
What I propose to you, Dear Reader, is that you find the flaws that caused you to fail and correct them before they happen again.
If I were to develop a physical product like that again, I would spend less time dreaming about how many are going to sell, and spend that time raising capital. Priorities are more clear in hindsight!
Treat Problems As Opportunities
Creating things from scratch leads to a lot of obstacles to overcome and just reaching the prototype phase was a pretty big undertaking. Every issue I ran into had to be addressed and fixed before moving on.
You run into these same types of obstacles in your life. What we fail to do, is turn those lemons into lemonade. Or into Coke Zero, which is much better drink in my eyes.
You may not even know that there are opportunities hidden in your problems, but they are there. These issues crop up all the time, but you have to dissect them a bit to get to the true root of the problem and find the good in it.
With my leather accessory, I kept running into an issue of finding the leather that would best suit the item. I wanted to emboss a design on it, and my manufacturer kept coming to me with extremely low quality leather that wouldn’t accept the embossing.
I went back to the drawing board and found a solution to both problems. This ultimately led to a better product in the end too.
The new design would incorporate a metal plate fastened to the broad side of the bracelet becoming the focal point of the piece. This plate could be engraved instead of embossed, and would cover the worst parts of the leather grain issues I had.
It was making Coke Zero from lemons!
I encourage you to rip apart your obstacles and see if there is a clever way to come out ahead on the other side.
Create Beauty From Chaos
Anxiety can also creep into our lives because we haven’t accounted for what will happen. You may know what you want to happen, but have you planned for everything that could happen?
This is where we create a plan. We take the chaos of our ideas and build them into a step by step plan of action.
Imagine how much stress and anxiety you could avoid if you already know where the road is going. This is especially helpful for any business or side hustle ideas you may have.Imagine how much stress and anxiety you could avoid if you already know where the road is going. Click To Tweet
It’s too easy to get caught up in the small things and not have a plan for the big ones.
If you are anything like me(Hope not!), then you’ll enjoy getting down and dirty with every little minutiae of making your business go.
It literally took me a day to figure out what color I wanted the top of this website to be. Actually, I still don’t like it hmmmmm…
While these things are what you get the most enjoyment out of, they don’t get you to the next step of the plan. Focus your intensity and skills on getting to the next step and you’ll find that your anxiety levels aren’t as pronounced.
Success Breeds More Success
That brings us to the best part of conquering your anxiety and fears, the rewards! Whether you were having trouble investing or venturing out into the world of business, once you see a little success, you can build upon that success.
Making those life changes, then following them up with more positive changes, will lead to your success in overcoming anxiety.
Pull that bandage off quickly and strive to do more.
It is easy to give up, trust me I’ve done that too, but if you are on this journey for real rewards and riches, then you need to step your game up and make fear and anxiety a part of your past.
It seems like our fears do win out a lot of the time, but has there ever been a time that you conquered these fears? How do you fight your anxiety?