Flying In The Face Of Your Fear

by Lori Saitz on January 5, 2011

Graceful Sea Bird Flying Over the Columbia
“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.”

~ Guillaume Apollinaire (a French poet, 1880-1918)

As I evaluated the past year’s performance of my company, I was frustrated.

What ELSE do I need to do to improve the numbers, to make it profitable?! I refuse to blame the economy (in fact 2010 was better than 2009 for me).

This frustration is bigger than just setting some new or better goals for the new year.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for running my own business. Maybe I should go get a job, as my husband is encouraging me to do. On the other hand, I’ve seen people who aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed create successful companies.

Hmmm, okay, that thought didn’t help my mindset.

Then I happened to see this question, posed by entrepreneur Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx:

Would you do it if you weren’t afraid?

Of course, it’s fear that keeps us all from what we really want. Any other excuse is really fear disguised. It’s why you drag your feet on making decisions and taking action.

So take the first step and acknowledge that fear.

Let it out in the open and give it its day in the sun. Like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum, what that anxiety really wants is attention. Give it some.

Sit and really focus on feeling the panic; make no attempt to stuff it back in the closet or beat yourself up for having it. Feel it for 15 minutes, an hour, however long.

Then, when that feeling is completely worn out from stomping around, waving its arms, and kicking its feet, go back to the question of what you would do if you weren’t afraid.

Start with thinking of the overall goal; in my case, a profitable company that supports the lifestyle I want. Now what is the one thing that you’ve been putting off doing because you are afraid? I can hear you right now saying, “but I don’t know.” Okay, what if you did know?

It could be as simple a step as finding someone who’s already done whatever you want to do and asking for help. Think of the very small first baby steps and start with those.

I do know what I need to do. I’ve just been putting it off for two years because it will be a big change and a lot of logistics and I’m not sure how I will afford it.

It’s scary because what if, what if, that move turns out not to be the answer? So easy to get carried away on the train of apprehension here!

As the quote at the top says, you must come to the edge, even though you are afraid. If you want to succeed, it’s the only choice.

Come; let’s fly together this year.

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Image: Rachel James via Flickr, Creative Commons

Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She shares happiness by helping business people show appreciation for and give recognition to customers and employees with The Gratitude Cookie™. With an understanding of the value of creating strong connections and experiences, she supports clients in increasing customer loyalty, referrals and profits. Connect with Lori on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

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