By: Carol Tice
Are you afraid to move forward with your business?
Maybe you’d like to go into a new product line, go after new customers or even change what your business does altogether. But you’re scared to take the plunge.
It’s a common problem. And one that business-guru and Career Renegade author Jonathan Fields has been thinking about a lot lately.
At last weekend’s Successful Online Business Conference, or SOBCon, Fields spoke about his upcoming book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear & Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance. It turns out, most of us look at risk-takers and imagine they simply don’t have the sort of anxieties we do about making bold business moves.
But it turns out, they do. They’re just as scared as you are.
What’s the difference? These bold innovators have developed methods of coping and pushing forward to launch their new initiatives anyway, Fields says. Or to use an old phrase, they Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. Fields spoke about one such moment he experienced while running an Ashtanga Yoga studio in New York.
Looking for a way to attract new customers, Fields commissioned a study of how many calories adherents to this yoga style burn while doing routines. He got Self magazine interested in writing about it. Great PR move, right?
Then the article editor said, “You know, it’s too bad you don’t have a video, so people all over the country could do this.”
Jonathan Fields did not have a video. It had never occurred to him to make a video of the yoga routines. But here is what he told the editor: “It’s funny you say that — we just finished shooting our first video and it’s in post-production right now.”
Then he hung up the phone and said, “We need to make a yoga video right now.” He did, and in time to capitalize on interest from the magazine article.
That video opened the door to a whole new revenue stream for the yoga studio, allowing it to bring in paying customers who couldn’t visit in person. It took the business to a whole new level. And it happened because Fields was confident enough to drop everything and make the video.
So how can you conquer your fears to make big moves? It starts with rewriting the script you have in your head. For many people, Fields says, this tape is saying, “I suck, and this thing I’m working on sucks.”
Change your recording. Realize that you may be playing that tape just so you won’t have to feel nervous butterflies or leave your comfort zone.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to conquer the natural fight-or-flight response humans have when they feel fear. That feeling keeps you stuck. Anxiety is negatively correlated with creativity, Fields says. You can’t unleash your best as long as you’re worried about whether there will be ground under your feet when you leap.
The flipside of uncertainty, Fields observes, is opportunity. When you know in your gut you need to move in a new direction with your business, do it.