Do you mind if I get a little real with you? I was nervous.
I have taught seminars in front of large groups, traveled and spoke internationally, worked with interpreters to present to non-english speakers in other countries, as a musician played in front of tens of thousands, and went on an international tour playing violin with a Grammy award winning band…
And I was nervous to film just a 10 minute video on a topic that I love and have been teaching for 6 years!
I don’t know what aspect of it was most stressful to me… maybe it was the difference in parameters in video versus communicating in writing, or the permanency of a video of my face floating around cyberspace forever, or the lack of time to get perfect video/great visuals/perfect lighting/perfect sound/perfect script. Maybe it was watching it back and realizing that…as usual… I was talking way too fast!
Excuse me, but is my tendency to perfectionism showing?
In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, there was a point in the process where I wished that I had never said ‘yes’ and was tempted to just scratch the whole thing…but I didn’t.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Initially I wasn’t sure if I would share the video on this blog. I wasn’t sure it fit in with my brand, was the level of quality I commit to on the blog, yadda yadda yadda. But then I started thinking. We all have a process and my commitment to you is to be real about the good, the bad, and the ugly in my journey as a creative entrepreneur. So far in sharing my personal journey I’ve focused on the past tense – stories of lessons learned. This one is still in full swing!
The last few weeks have really gotten me thinking about how fear affects the way we do business:
How do our fears hinder us? How do we face them? What would our businesses look like if we used fear to spur us on instead of hold us back?
Sometimes fear is a warning of something dangerous and alerts us to make changes in the interest of safety. Often it’s just a figment of our imagination and the fastest way to silence it is to press through it, set the emotions aside, and realize that fear is most often illogical or based on something much smaller than the emotion it elicits.
3 Steps to Overcoming Fear as an Entrepreneur
Not long after I moved to Nashville I decided to join a business networking group. As an introvert who was (is!) very uncomfortable with sales and networking in general, I knew that it was a needed step in my businesses but I was petrified! This is how I approached overcoming that fear. Download the worksheet and join me!
Step 1: Write down the pros and cons
Work out the potential benefits and drawbacks related to what you feel nervous about or are afraid of.
Step 2: Explore what each pro and con could potentially lead too.
If the best happens, what will you gain? If the worst happens, how will you respond/what will it lead too? My responses when I was working through my fears related to the networking group are below:
Pros (what could I potentially gain):
More business growth
Gain experience in networking
Learn to present my business clearly and concisely
Grow community with other entrepreneurs
Gain new clients.
Cons (what was I afraid of):
I might not know what to say
What if someone asks me a question I don’t know the answer too
What if I forget my 60 second commercial
What if no one refers business to me
What if I just don’t fit in the group.
Step 3: Decide if this is a fear to be faced now, later, or not at all.
Some fears are no longer scary when you step back from the emotion and look at them logically. When I compared my pros and cons for joining the networking group I realized that my fears were groundless and that the possible pros were well worth facing some nerves and jumping in. Some of the cons did happen! People asked me questions that I didn’t know the answer too. I learned that if I didn’t immediately know the answer it was ok to say, “I’m not sure, but let me look into that and I will get back to you.” Instead of causing people to doubt my level of experience it grew trust – they learned that I would be honest and they could count on my answers for accurate information. There were times that I forgot my 60 second weekly commercial – I learned to laugh at myself, everyone laughed with me (not
at me like I had been afraid of!), and I got invaluable input from more experienced business people on the way I presented my business. I found out that every person in the room had either been where I was, or was currently feeling the same. Every one of the things that I listed under the potential pros happened, and 7 years later I am still feeling the positive effects in my business.
There are times when you may evaluate your fears and realize that now is not the time to face them, or that the cons outweigh the pros. The key is that by evaluating an emotional response in an honest manner you can make an educated and conscious choice in how to respond. You are choosing to take control of your own business future instead of letting fear control you and every time you exercise your ability to respond by choice fear loses a little of its scariness.
So going back to the YouTube video, which is linked below, I found that it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. In fact, I’m contemplating adding video as a regular feature on the blog. If you would have told me that a few weeks ago I would have laughed!
Episode 1 of #FriendsFriday is here.
What can you gain today by identifying, facing, and overcoming your fears as a creative entrepreneur?
- If you had no fear, what is the first thing you would go out and do today?
- What does facing fear look like in your own business?
- What are your three biggest fears in business?
- What are some small steps you can take today to face those fears?
- How could facing your fears change the way you feel about yourself and your business?