Yes. Yes. Yes. I got this. I’m going to make millions. Hmm, ok don’t get ahead of yourself.
The immediate feeling after I came up with my startup idea was of course pure excitement. This is it. The idea ticks a lot of boxes for me. I was interested in the wellness industry (tick), I was passionate about the idea because of a personal experience (tick) and even better I could make a living from helping people to get healthy and feel great the natural way (tick). On top of this I think I had spotted something unique, which topped up the excitement even more.
Firstly, I turned to Google to find out if there was anything else like this in the market. I discovered that it wasn’t completely uncovered territory, which many things aren’t these days, but it seemed that the unique spin I had thought of was in fact something new, at least with my googling skills.
Feeling very confident, the next thing I had to ask myself was: Can I and how do I start my own business?
Excuses, excuses, excuses
Seconds later the excitement was overtaken by a huge rush of, yes you guessed it, FEAR. And that was stronger and more powerful than any other feeling I had had about starting a business. The fear paralysed me completely. My thought process went something like this:
- “I don’t have any money.”
- “I’m in a full time job working long hours, I don’t have any time.”
- “Nobody will like in my idea.”
- “I’ve just paid of my five-figure student loan, I don’t want to be in debt again. “
- “Who am I kidding, I don’t have what it takes to run a business.”
- “People will look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I’m going to start a business.”
These are the kinds of thoughts that took over my mind and finally killed my enthusiasm. The dream of starting my own business was put to sleep.
Fear is a common phenomenon for many business owners and wannabes, as our minds take over and crush our dreams with a bang! My self-critic made me feel so insignificant that I managed to talk myself out of pursuing my dream. Who is this horrible person and how did she get in my head so quickly!? Those thoughts were not welcome but yet I believed the voices in my head, as at the end of the day I was the one talking. And unfortunately at this point I had no tools to overcome them.
Fear is actually a natural feeling that comes from an age-old mechanism called fight or flight response, which is crucial for the survival of species. Olivia Fox Cabane puts it well in her book: The Charisma Myth: Master the Art of Personal Magnetism:
“We’ve seen the effects of anxiety, dissatisfaction, self-criticism and self-doubt. Where does all this negativity come from? The difficult feelings we experience are a natural by-product of one of our most useful survival mechanisms. Negativity exists to spur you to action, to either resolve the problem or get out of the situation. Feelings like fear or anxiety are designed to get you to do something.”
And that’s exactly what I did. I took action. In that moment fear got me to lose faith and carry on my life the way it was. I chose the comfortable, safe path.
Who else has been paralysed by fear so much that it stopped you from going after your dreams? And how did you handle the thoughts?