Written By: Emily Souder, MA, MSW, LCSW-C
We are female business owners. We have heart, motivation and creativity. We also have fears. What’s on the other side, through the fear?
When you take the leap to start your own business, you often feel your stomach jump up into your throat. You might start noticing all sorts of uncertainty pop up. When you don’t get immediate validation from the Universe by way of tons of clients and income, it can feel like a giant NO. There’s nothing like that deflation and disappointment to squash the very creativity that led you to jump into entrepreneurship in the first place! And let’s be honest, that feels icky.
I don’t think there is any business owner out there who hasn’t gone through periods of uncertainty, even after they have been in business for many years. In fact, I have heard many people talk about the increase in challenges that can come up once you decide to start your own business. Jen Sincero writes about how new entrepreneurs often go through a period where things seem to get worse before they explode into greatness. Whether it’s emotional challenges (that voice in your head!), physical symptoms, or external road blocks. It’s almost as if the Universe is saying, “This is what you want, right? Show me you’re serious!”
Another word to use in place of uncertainty, and what is likely hiding not so deeply beneath, is fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of embarrassment. Fear that we’ll lead our family into destitution. You are not alone in feeling fear!
Take Away the Power Fear Has
When we push our fear away, or resist it, pretending it’s not there, its presence has a way of growing and gaining power. However, when we acknowledge it, we take away its power. It no longer gets to steer the ship when we say, “Hey, fear. Back again, eh? I know you’re hoping to keep me safe, but I’ve got this.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, in Big Magic, writes about fear as a passenger on a road trip with her. She knows that it’s going to be coming along for the ride, but she doesn’t let it give directions, touch the radio, or drive. Consider accepting that fear will have a presence, but the presence of fear in and of itself doesn’t mean that anything is actually wrong. In fact, it can even be an indicator that you’re testing your limits and moving into your authentic self.
Your thoughts, including your fear thoughts, aren’t you. They’re just thoughts. Our mind allows for all sorts of things to flow in and out, and the thoughts do flow out, if we let them. But if we cling to them as truth, they tend to hang around. Noticing them and resisting the urge to latch onto them gives us freedom and flexibility.
Trust in Your Vision
Leaning into fear requires something that is not always easy to practice: trust. Trust in your vision, yourself, the Universe/God/the world. Whew, can it be scary to let go and fall into that! And on the other hand, it can be immensely freeing. When you are no longer trying to force things to happen and start believing in a greater energy that flows outside of you, you get to take a step back. You get to breathe. By breathing, you get to create sustainability for your business and the other areas of your life. Relationships, hobbies, and being human in general all require that you have something left at the end of the day!
When we trust that things will happen, there isn’t a definite timeline. And that can be scary! Most of us love to have specific timelines of when and how. Now, I’m not saying to float into your business with no planning, preparation, or knowledge, because taking action is still important. But taking action and showing up is way different from fretting, forcing, and obsessing. Practicing trust — and it does take practice — allows you to shed the need to always know exactly how something will happen.
Consider these ways to experiment with increasing trust:
1) When you find yourself questioning your business vision, come back to your why. Spend a few minutes journaling or thinking about why you wanted to create this business in the first place. What does it mean to you? Who will it help? How will their lives be changed?
2) Think of a time in the past when you felt a great deal of uncertainty in your life, and then things turned out just fine or you received what you needed to at the time.
3) Say hi to the fear, and let it know it won’t be leading the parade. Acknowledge it with a “hey there” and set the boundary that it won’t be making any decisions for you.
4) Reflect. How might your fear be holding you back from fully investing (I’m not talking about just financially here) in your business? Be honest. Is it keeping you from sharing your services as widely as you could? Is it telling you that you can’t be on a podcast or submit a guest blog post? Tune in, and then do the opposite of what your fear wants you to do!
5) Create a mantra. Even saying “trust” to yourself several times throughout the day can shift your current perspective and make a big difference.
Experiment and practice. Each day, do something that scares you a little bit. And most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip into old patterns. It happens. You’re a person, and people don’t usually create change overnight. Just re-set your intention to trust, and get back into the flow.
About the Author
Emily Souder is a writer, self-care & authenticity coach, Reiki Master, and licensed clinical social worker in Maryland. She offers life coaching services to moms and mom entrepreneurs, as well as distance Reiki sessions to people all over! She is also a panelist for Mother Hustle, an online publication for mom entrepreneurs. Emily loves spending time with her husband and two kids, and enjoys fresh air and a good cup of tea. She values connection, trust, and love.