Dealing with the Fear of Starting
“I am too old for this.”
“I won't be able to keep up.”
“I won't have time for my family and my children.”
“I don't have a background in this.”
“I don't have the money for this.”
Do these sound familiar to you? If so let me break it up for you, these are just excuses that you are giving yourself.
I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but if you examine each one of these sentences, they all sound like excuses.
Starting anything can be incredibly overwhelming. And it would be so much easier not to begin anything new. But just imagine how our life would have been if we never took the first step as toddlers.
We as human beings are designed to take up challenges but along the way we pick up negative information and slowly we stopped taking risks.
Don't take me wrong, every one of us is scared beyond belief when we decided to take up something new. But as the saying goes, “It’s not the absence of fear that makes you courageous but the willingness to continue in spite of the fear.”
If you find yourself in a situation where you want to start something new, but you are afraid, I hope I'm able to nudge you closer to taking that leap.
Here is how I break it down into four simple steps that help me when I have to start anything new:
1. Write down the end goal
At the beginning of any new project, I write down how I want the end to look. This helps me get clear on the why behind starting the project
I then break down this goal into actionable items. It serves two purposes,
1. It encourages you to get started and 2. It helps you measure how effective I am.
2. Create a flexible action plan
You have your goal in front of you, now break it down into smaller goals or micro-goals that will help you in achieving your main goal.
Keep it flexible so that you don't feel overwhelmed but structured enough that you feel accountable.
3. Prepare for some failures
Know that you are going to face failure in some form or another. That does not mean you set yourself up for failure. It just means that it does not blindside you. A lot of what you do will feel worthless, but the key is to carry on because only then can you get better at it.
4. Perfectionism is not equal productivity
I did a whole post about this a while back which you can read here. But to sum up, endless polishing and tweaking is just another form of fear. Don't hide behind the “I’m a perfectionist tag.” You are fooling no one but yourself. That is not to say you put out half-hearted work. Anything you put out should be a reflection of you but at the same time remember that you can grow only from your mistakes so be comfortable making them and put out your work.
Now it's your turn; I would love to know how you dealt with fear while starting something new, so leave me a comment below and let the conversation begin.