How to Push Past Fear in Business

How to Push Past Fear in Business

Let’s talk about something scary: fear!

Fear in our business is a constant thing. I'm still afraid all the time. It's never going to go away. And I don’t want it to go away.

Yes, it's much more comfortable to take the same route we always take and do the same things we always do. But staying the same isn't how we grow: as people or as businesses.

We grow by challenging ourselves and trying new things. And that usually feels scary. It's our job as entrepreneurs to be afraid and to do big things anyway.

But that’s not exactly easy. So here are the mindset shifts and exercises that help me practice that skill…



Recognize it’s part of the process

Unfortunately, fear and failure are part of the game. When you’re running your own business, you’ll be afraid all the time. And all of the things you’re worried about happening: no one buying your products or services, not being able to pay your bills, having to fire an employee…they’re all going to happen! Every single one.

You’ll have times when business is slow, when you’re worried about money, when you have to let someone go. So instead of focusing on the “what ifs”, try focusing on the “when ands”. When this big scary thing that I’m worried about happens (and it will), here’s what I’m going to do about it.

Be prepared and create a plan for yourself.


Know the difference between good fear + bad fear

There are two kinds of stress that our body feels when we’re afraid: distress and eustress. Distress is the bad one: it’s what happens when something actually bad happens to you. Eustress is the good kind of fear: it’s what we feel when we’re pushing ourselves past our comfort zones and growing.

But here’s the thing: our bodies don’t know the difference. When we’re doing something that’s good for us (eustress), it can seem terrifying (distress).

The key is knowing the difference and being able to remind yourself that what you’re doing is actually for a purpose: to grow your business.


Fight Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a feeling like you don’t belong here. Like you’re not a real business owner. And that plays into fear a lot. Our fear is mostly based on not wanting to fail. But business owners (even the good ones) fail all the time.

We have to fail. Otherwise, we’re not innovating and trying new things. And that’s how we grow our business.

So stop thinking of failing as proof that you don’t belong here. It’s actually proof that you do!

“The key to success is doubling your rate of failure” - Thomas Edison


Focus on the benefits

It’s been so helpful for me to refocus my thoughts away from the fear and toward what I’m gaining.

If you’re afraid of taking the first step and starting your own business, think about the lifestyle that you want to live. The ability to set your own hours, be your own boss, take time for vacation.

If you’re afraid of public speaking, think about the ability to help all the people in the audience learn something and the ability to grow your expertise.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable relying on employees, focus on what you’ll do with all that extra time. You can take more time for yourself, your family, or growing your business.


The Challenge: Try one new thing a week

I’ve been doing a tiny challenge for the past year where I try one new thing a week. Sometimes it’s a small thing. Jackfruit was a recent favorite! And sometimes it’s something big: Podcasting comes to mind!

And I noticed something really interesting. After a year, the fear of trying new things hasn’t gone away. But I am a lot better at managing that fear and doing what I need to do anyway.

So keep practicing this skill. It definitely gets easier. Try setting a weekly or monthly goal to push past this fear.

PodcastNicole SwartzMindset