You could tell me it’s because the timing isn’t right. You don’t have your business degree yet. You don’t have enough money. The economy is too unstable. The stars aren’t aligned.
In a word, you’re AFRAID.
Every reason, every excuse, every seemingly rational argument comes down to this. Fear, plain and simple. Well, maybe not so simple. We all have those metaphorical monsters under the bed, created from dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of experiences and memories that taught us the world isn’t safe, and we need to hide under the covers to avoid getting hurt. I get it–there’s been plenty I’ve been afraid of in my life. Luckily for me, business isn’t one of them.
But no matter what your specific fear is, know this: you can work through it. Not through drugs, or years of therapy (those might work, just never tried them myself), but by doing a few easy-peasy exercises. They might sound strange, silly or airy-fairy. But what do you have to lose by trying them? Oh yeah–the fear that’s in the way of your dreams, that’s what. Sounds like these might be worth a try then:
- Tapping, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). I know several people who use this technique, with great success. It involves tapping your fingertips on meridian points such as your chin and the top of your head, using the principles behind acupuncture along with saying specific statements that address the core of whatever issue you’re working through. I won’t explain the whole process here, but there are several websites and YouTube videos that can help you learn the technique.
- Success Inventory. Divide your life into thirds (i.e. childhood, adolescence, adulthood) and write down successes you had in each stage of life. For example, when you were a kid, maybe you learned how to swim, ride a bike, do long division, or pass a babysitting course. When you were a teenager, you may have travelled alone for the first time, learned to speak another language, got your first job, and discovered french kissing. As an adult, perhaps you’ve planned events, graduated from various academic programs, had children, done marathons, or learned how to knit. All of these are examples of accomplishments, and whether you feel they’re big or small, chances are you had to overcome some fear, or a sense of inadequacy. Write down every success you can think of in your life, and take a good long look at this list. Congratulate yourself for a job well done, and realize that you’re capable of doing anything you truly wish. Going forward, be sure to add future successes to this list, and celebrate each one.
- The Pink Bubble. There are countless ways of using visualization, and Shakti Gawain is well-known for her Creative Visualization techniques. A great one to try is the Pink Bubble, which involves imagining what you want to happen–say, your business starting up and achieving great success, encountering none of the problems you fear, and then surrounding that vision with a bubble of warm, pink light. Then let that bubble go, and watch it drift up into the sky. You’ve created your ideal vision and now you’re releasing it, unattached to the outcome.
- The Worst-case scenario. Sounds counterintuitive, but this technique is all about dwelling on the negative. Many people have come out with variations on this exercise, but it basically involves sitting down and writing out your worst-case scenario, with whatever it is you’re afraid of. Imagine starting your business, and having everything go spectacularly sideways. Really delve into all your scariest visions here. It could end with you being penniless, alone, homeless, and maybe addicted to crack. Go big, be dramatic, and make it even worse than your worst-case scenario. Then sit back, take a deep breath, and think: what could you do if this happened? How would you deal? What resources could you call upon? Who would help you? Create a simple plan for climbing your way out of the disastrous vision. There’s always a way out, and if you know that, it makes it a lot easier to take bigger risks.
- The Work. Byron Katie has written Loving What Is, among other books about this technique. Her point is that all pain, all fear is the result of our thoughts, and our thoughts are not reality. If we can learn to regularly question those thoughts that hold us back, we can move beyond them. The Work consists of 4 questions you ask yourself whenever you’re experiencing fear, or any other kind of discomfort as the result of your thoughts:
- Is this thought true?
- Can I absolutely know for sure that it’s true?
- Who would I be without this thought?
- What are 3 ways in which the opposite is true, of what I’ve been thinking?