How to shut out the crippling voice of fear

By: WACEKE NDUATI OMANGA

On Monday morning on my way to work, I had a conversation with a good friend about fear and it prompted me to write about this today.

Following the article I wrote two weeks ago on the transition from employee to entrepreneur, I have started having various discussions on my social media forums. I went back to several of the comments and lo and behold, the issue of fear is extremely common. In fact, someone actually said that if they would just stop being scared they would start a business.

I gave a talk last week on the same topic and fear is what dominated the discussion. I was asked how I overcame fear when I left my job.

We all want to know how to get past fear. Many people want to make that transition into business but fear holds them back. And fear is not just a stumbling block to those people who want to make go into business. Ask anybody who wants to make a career change. They feel the same thing.

Ask anybody who wants to go the next level with her investments. Ask anybody who want to confront something with themselves or others. Fear is all around, waiting to cripple you into inaction.

Now, I feel this emotion and battle with it almost every day.

ROOTED ON THE SPOT

This is for those of you who have been saying that you want to start a business, side hustle, create wealth, do something different but year after year you have found yourself rooted in the same

place.

We will be wishing each other “happy New Year” in just a few weeks. Don’t you think its time we did something different so that you are not in the same spot come the end of 2016?

Imagine you are driving your car with a passenger, let’s call him Mr X. Mr X is one of those annoying people who yaps endlessly.

You are going for a wedding. You don’t know exactly how to get to the venue but you have an idea. At least you know where to start and you have decided which route you will use. However, your passenger is distracting you.

Mr X keeps telling you how the route you are taking is wrong, how you are not a good driver, that only people with 86 years experience and doctorates in driving are able to use that route, how it might rain, etc. He even tells you the benefits of not attending the wedding.

You can stay warm in your bed, watch some TV, get some reading done, be well rested, you won’t run the risk of getting lost and so forth. He even convinces you that nothing will be missed by not

attending this wedding. Before long you believe Mr X and since he clearly knows what he is talking about, you even give him the car to drive you back home.

Mr X is fear. I am no psychologist or counsellor to tell you why Mr X shows up. Could be you invited him without knowing, messages you received earlier on, belief systems, experiences, etc. The fact is he is there. Now let’s say going to the wedding is starting the business.

Mr X will always be there to convince you why you should not start. Telling you how it is risky and how you will fail. Fear will make sure you remember how uncomfortable it will be e.g. not having money for a while, possible rejection of ideas, loss of status and how comfortable your current situation is e.g. routine or a steady income.

You can stay warm and snuggly under the blanket and everything will be ok. You then start letting fear drive your agenda. It becomes the reason not to do anything.

The more you don’t do, the easier it becomes not to do. You have handed over the keys and fear has mastered you. Or something else could happen. Mr X is still yapping away in the car but you

simply ignore him. Yes, you will feel unsure of this route, you will feel scared, you will feel anxious, but you can choose to keep driving and not to engage Mr X.

This is an act of will, not a result of feeling the right way. The more and more you practise it, the easier it becomes to ignore Mr X.

The more you ignore him and move forward with your chosen route the quieter and quieter Mr X’s voice becomes.

Not necessarily because he is not talking, but because you are so focused on the road, you have shut his voice out.

Same way when you are engrossed in a good movie, you sometimes don’t hear whatever else is happening in your house. So for a moment there you will have to pretend.

Yes, you handle fear by first pretending. What would you do if you were not scared? Do exactly that even if your voice is quivering and knees are wobbling.

So start driving to the wedding even if you are scared of getting lost. Start that business even if you are scared. Go for that course. Talk to that person.

At least this way you are not handing over the keys to Mr X. You may be feeling out of your depth but you are now mastering or overcoming fear. You did not hand over the keys. You are your own driver.

WE ARE ALL AFRAID

Everyone feels scared no matter how successful he is. The difference is that some people have learnt to have the right relationship with fear and understood how to handle it.

Even if you do this successfully with the route to the wedding, remember Mr X will continue to show up whenever you are trying something new.

He is persistent and does not get tired. You are feeling scared because fear is one of the most important and continuous things you will have to deal with as an entrepreneur or investor.

You are being tested now in the beginning because it will always be there. If it is stopping you now, it will stop you later.

There’s no magical moment in time when fear will disappear forever. If you have handed over your car keys to fear, take them back. Drive your own car.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION