Is fear holding you back?

Fear Yourself
Fear Yourself (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Sunday night we came back home and saw a car parked in the driveway. It looked as though the occupants were looking at a map because they had their car’s inside light on. But this is the only information that we had.

Gripped with a sudden terror that this could be a hijack set up, we drove away. We circled the suburb until we thought the coast was clear and went back home. The car was gone. We took our chances and drove quickly inside the entrance, closing the electric gate immediately.

Fear can be a powerful motivator. It can be your friend and ally. In this instance where we had almost no information about the intentions of the occupants of the car in the night, we had to act on our fear and drive away. Memories of not too long ago hijackings and armed robberies flooded even during those few seconds when we came across that car in the driveway in the night. The terror of being surrounded by four armed men with guns was too much to take any chance.

Fear comes from that old part of the brain, the reptilian brain, that has been with us for thousands of years. Fear can be triggered in an instant. Those few moments can decide whether you are going to live or die.

But fear can work against you. In business situations you may have very little information and because of this fear of taking a step forward may paralyse you into inaction. Fear of the unknown can also prevent you from exploring possibilities out of your regular routine. But the irony is that venturing outside your everyday routine can be the trigger for new thoughts, concepts, new business ideas.

As Earle Nightingale said, “Yes, we cheat ourselves of the lives we could know, the things we could accomplish, the things we could have, because we are afraid to try, to ask. If we knew ourselves better and the nature of the world, we would fear less and attempt much more.”

When you venture into a new area in business without the necessary experience being afraid is okay. It is an early warning signal that tells you to tread with caution. You may have a good business idea but if you don’t know the business market or have any domain expertise, you might be heading towards a hiding. Unless you have some means of bridging the gap between your experience and that required in the marketplace through an adviser, mentor or business partner who knows the market or industry, your risk will be too high.

The same thing applies when you find out that your best idea isn’t working and you need to either revise your plans or walk away. By failing you may learn vital information that can assist you in your future business ventures.

Some people say that you should feel the fear but do it anyway. The problem with this is throwing caution to the wind is not always the best policy. Yes, you can move ahead with a feeling of fear but not blindly into something you know very little about. That’s why it’s important to equip yourself with information, knowledge and experience before you move into new business territory.

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