I’ll get right to the point on this one:
If you cannot get outside of your comfort zone, and do the things that scare you on a consistent basis, you will not be successful as an entrepreneur
This principle is even more pronounced if your entrepreneurial venture is in the direct sales industry. Those consultants who allow fear to immobilize them will not even get their businesses off their ground. Getting outside of our comfort zone, and doing the things that scare us, is the #4 most important thing that we’ve done in our business.
Fear is an ever-present part of our world. You can trace its roots to our ancestors, our fears of being the next meal, or having our livelihood destroyed by the next marauding invader. As conscious analytical animals, we are constantly aware of the many threats to our existence and stability. Therefore, we learn to survive, and fear and protect against things that can threaten our safety.
Fear is conditioned in us from the time that we are kids. In grade school, we learn to fear giving the wrong answer, fear the bad marks, fear not getting into the right program or right school, and fear taking a position that is contrary to our teacher. As we grow older we fear not being able to make a good living and support our family. We fear not saving enough for retirement and being alone and helpless. We fear not being able to help our kids with university and schooling. We fear losing our jobs, we fear that we won’t be successful, we fear that we won’t be happy, we fear, we fear, we fear.
We must never forget however, that fear is the companion to growth.
We cannot grow unless we learn, and we only learn when we encounter, for the first time, something that was previously unfamiliar, and then navigate the unfamiliar setting so that it becomes familiar.
The correct path is not to try to eliminate fear entirely. Fear cannot be eliminated. Fear is an emotional response giving a signal that you are in unfamiliar territory; it is actually a good thing.
The correct path is to simply take action to navigate the unfamiliar territory, and make the unfamiliar territory familiar. When this happens fear will dissipate because you have mental and emotional references telling you that you have been here before, and you can handle it. Educate yourself as to the rules of this new territory.
The problem is never the fear itself; it is how you hold the fear. It is what the fear does to you. Does it cause you to act, or does it paralyze you from action? If you hold fear as inhibitive then you experience feelings of helplessness, depression and paralysis. When you hold fear as simply an emotional signal to action then you experience education, energy and empowering choices.
We knew early on in our business that if we were going to grow it to the scope that would enable us to both work full time from home we would have to get outside of our friends and family, and outside of our immediate community. So we had to confront the scary reality that we would have to encounter unfamiliar territory – we’d have to talk to people that we didn’t previously know, we’d have to learn methods (like online marketing) that we previously had no knowledge or experience in.
When you understand exactly what you want to accomplish, it becomes a must that you move outside of your comfort zone
Some people have more difficulty than others with this principle. For those who struggle, and find themselves continually immobilized by fear, here are some strategies to help you:
- Consider the absolute worst case scenario that could happen from you taking the action that scares you. You can handle the worst case scenario. Likely the very worst that could happen is simply rejection. You can handle rejection.
- Now consider the best case scenario of taking the action that scares you. Think about how it will feel if the best case scenario materializes. This image will give you added strength to move forward.
- Remember that courage is just like a muscle. It is strengthened by exercise. It is exercised by doing things that require it. You won’t get courage from a book, or a video. You might get inspired, but in order to get courage you have to habitually do the things that scare you.
- Think of a time that you did something that scared you. Now tell yourself – “I did it then, I can do it now”.
- Turn it into a game. Don’t get so hung up on results all the time. Results will come, don’t worry about that. For now you are working on your personal development. Try to get 10 rejections in a day (if you are in sales). Give yourself a reward after you attend that 10th exercise class that scares you. Make it fun. Life doesn’t always have to be such a “rewards based” grind. If you turn it into a game you will find that you have a lot more courage.
- The stronger your “why” (the reasons why you want to accomplish the goal that you set for yourself) the more courage you will have. We don’t have to be convinced to confront fear to save a loved one. Our why is compelling. No one is saying your why will ever be as compelling as that of a loved one (nor should it) but if you could even tap into a sliver of that power, fear wouldn’t disable you anymore. What is it about your goal that makes you come alive? What pain does it alleviate? If you accomplished this goal how would your life be different? Why do you want it? If you can answer these questions with crystal clarity, and if your answers create an emotionally compelling statement, you will have power over your fear.
- Don’t expect fear to go away. It doesn’t go away. But know that every time you feel it, it just means that you are growing. That is good. Celebrate the growth. What you focus on is how you are going to feel. If you focus on the fear you’ll feel scared. If you focus on the growth you’ll feel empowered.