How I Got Past Fear & Found Confidence in My Small Business
Think back to the last time you were “ready” for a big change. Were you “ready” to start your business? “Ready” to get married or have your first kid? The truth? I wasn’t ready to start my business when I did. I felt like I was blindfolded and fumbling around in a dark room, bumping into things and trying to learn how to make my way through. Was it scary? Heck yes. Am I happy I started when I did? Yes, a million times over.
My belief is that waiting until you’re “ready” to do something is exactly how fear holds you back.
This isn’t to say that I never struggled with fear—believe me, I did. During one of my husband’s deployments (y’all military spouses out there feel me), my fear around working on my business became so debilitating that I almost quit. I thought of so many good reasons NOT to pursue my dream, and they almost got the best of me.
“I’m not good enough yet.”
“People won’t want to pay me what I’m worth.”
“I’ll never see the money I’ll invest again.”
“I hate asking people for money, so I won’t be able to sell myself.”
“It’s already been done—so many times and so WELL—by people who are more talented than I am. If I start now, there won’t be a share of the market for me.” (This was a big one).
Guys, these were BIG FAT LIES! These were my fears, manifesting as (seemingly) really legitimate thoughts. In reality, they were complete lies my mind made up to get me a fast-track ticket out of how uncomfortable starting something new is. But don’t get me wrong—however terrifying and stressful starting my business was, it was a make-or-break kind of life decision that ended up showing me how resilient, confident, smart, and talented I really am.
And I’m not trying to brag: three-years-ago-Jen would not have said those things about herself.
How I Got Past the Fear
I remember a very specific moment in my life when I knew I was going to give this business all I had. I was in yoga class practicing my forearm headstand. In case y’all don’t know what that is, it’s where you clasp your forearms together on the ground and balance upside-down with your feet in the air (see below). It’s SO SCARY because we’re used to standing on our feet, not our heads, and falling over is a real possibility.
I finally made it up into the headstand, holding it for a few seconds before I came crashing down to the floor.
And guess what? This is the important part. It didn’t hurt. I was more excited about those few seconds of success than the impact of hitting the ground. That small taste of succeeding at my goal made me realize that every failure I experience is a major part of every success I will ever have—and they are therefore reasons to celebrate. The fears and doubts? Not real. They won’t disappear completely right away—but you can choose to not listen and just barge ahead, regardless of the inevitable failures that are ahead of you.
Now I can do a forearm headstand every. time. I. try.
HOW I DEAL WITH FEAR NOW
“I’m not good enough yet” became “I have years of design experience, a beautiful, consistent style, and my clients LOVE my work.”
“People won’t want to pay me what I’m worth,” became “People have (and will continue to) pay me what I’m worth because they see the value in my services.”
“I’ll never see the money I’ll invest again,” became “I have seen tremendous growth take place when I invested money in myself and my business.”
“I hate asking people for money, so I won’t be able to sell myself,” became “I’m excited about sharing my investment guide with potential clients because of how confident I am in my talent and services.”
“It’s already been done—so many times and so WELL—by people who are more talented than I am. If I start now, there won’t be a share of the market for me,” became “It’s never been done by me before—and there are people out there who are actively looking for someone like me.”
I’ve proved every one of my fears wrong, and whenever new ones pop up (because they always do), I just think about how good getting that forearm headstand for the first time felt, and I’m able to kick those fears to the curb.