Updated: Feb 12
It is time to identify, confront, address, then move forward from the fears which have kept you bound as a small business owner.
Identify your fears. What are they? What are the fears and concerns regarding your marriage, kids, health and business? Maybe yours are similar to what mine were. I feared my marriage was going to end in divorce, my husband would feel intimidated by my success, we would disconnect as a couple due to time constraints and I would not live up to what society told me a wife should be. I feared my kids were going to become an episode of kids gone wild because I failed to spend all my time with them, while enduring the judgement of the Pinterest moms who did not stop by the local bakery for class parties as I did.
Physically, I feared I would never be able to do the things I had done prior to a back injury, put on more weight causing me to seem undisciplined to some, and never rebound from poor energy levels and mental fog. I feared I would not be able to remain relevant in my career, unable to provide for my employees’ families, and unable to keep up the appearance that all is well. All these fears had me spiraling and had my mind beyond bound.
It is important to identify the things and opportunities fear is preventing in your life. In my life, it was hindering my ability to connect with my husband and kids, stopping my creativity and career advancement and causing the very things I feared physically. The saying, what you fear most will come upon you, is true. One afternoon I spent a few hours with a young lady in my family who was in counseling for anxiety and depression. I expressed to her I really wanted to understand what she was going through and asked if she would feel comfortable opening up to me. As she honored me with her story, I realized her anxiety was in all actuality different forms of fear occurring in her life. For some reason, we hesitate to say our lives are being ruled by fear, but we cannot confront something we are unwilling to call by name.
I had a client named Jeffery who was so bound by fear he could not operate effectively as the leader of his business. He second-guessed every decision he made and eventually got to the point he would not make decisions. He began placing the sole responsibility on his business partner. As you can imagine, this was causing major problems not only in the business but also in their work relationship. In that moment, I realized fear manifests as a lack of personal responsibility, family responsibility and business responsibility. That fear makes us throw the responsibility on someone else. Jeffrey was not only doing this in the business but also in his home life which was really affecting his marriage in a negative way. The contentious relationship with his wife only compounded his problems at work.
He spent his whole day ruled by fear of failure, insecurity in his abilities to lead his business, and being a constant point of disappointment to his wife and business partner. Fear will overtake your life if you do not learn to name it and confront it.
Confront fear. First, answer the what if questions and then speak truth to the lies fear tells us. When I asked Jeffery what his biggest fear was, he confided it was his business going bankrupt, not being able to support his family, and his wife leaving him. So, I instructed him to find a quiet place and answer what would happen if his business did go bankrupt.
During our next time together, Jeffrey dawned my door with a smile on his face and a pep in his step. I asked him what was different about him. He told me he answered the question and realized even if he did lose his business, he would still be able to support his family through another skillset career he has, and his family would be fine. Jeffrey proceeded to explain as he processed through this, he talked with his wife and discovered she would not leave him or think he was a failure if he had done his best and the business did not make it. He realized his fears were rooted in lies.
Address fear and move forward. The moment Jeffrey realized the truth, he had a choice to make. Was he going to continue making decisions according to fear or start operating in the truths which would free him to be the leader his family and business needed him to be?
Thankfully, he chose truth. Jeffrey was no longer afraid to make decisions. His insecurity in his abilities began to fade as he made decisions and realized he knew what to do. Even in the times he made a wrong decision, he found great comfort in knowing it was not the end of the world, adjusted, made the next decision a right one, and kept moving forward.
So, next time fear calls... Answer it!