An entrepreneur who had worked hard to develop a new children's toy was at a crossroads. Several of her friends' children had tested her prototype and given it glowing reviews. However, she was apprehensive about investing the significant amount of capital required to manufacture her product.
I suggested she secure pre-orders to cover the expenses of a limited production run. It was then that her real fear emerged: "What if a store owner refuses to pre-order my product?" She was frightened that if a store owner rebuffed her request for pre-orders, she wouldn't have the courage to solicit other potential customers.
It's our nature as entrepreneurs to have the personal conviction to overcome most fears. However, we sometimes find ourselves in uncharted waters that cause trepidation. To vanquish these fears and devise an appropriate course of action, we must trust our instincts.
1. Be honest about the cause of your fear. Personal beliefs are extremely powerful. They form the basis for how we react in fearful situations. Ask yourself hard questions about the uncertainties you're facing. Whether it's fear of public speaking or unfamiliarity with handling company finances, get specific. You can find a resolution to any predicament once you recognize what it is.
2. Maintain a positive attitude. Revel in your ability to look past fear toward successful outcomes. Learn how to work with any apprehension rather than letting it become a roadblock. Always be cognizant of your attitude, and don't let fear cloud your outlook. If a pessimistic viewpoint develops, stop and refocus. Get creative and turn the fear into an opportunity for growth.
3. Declare a clear outcome before you act. Clarity and commitment lessen the anxiety you feel when attempting something new. Rather than avoiding challenges that alarm you, gain a sense of control by clarifying the situation. Develop a simple and clear mission with a specific outcome. Stating a tangible result decreases your fear and redirects your energies toward reaching your goals.
4. Don't let what people say or do infuse you with doubt before you take action. Accept that rejection happens to all of us, but it will only impair your progress if you allow it to. Unshackling yourself from people's expectations and keeping your vision clear will propel you to even greater success.
5. Anticipate bumps in the road. Acknowledge that you'll sometimes feel disheartened. Rather than dreading it, expect it. Remember that you've been apprehensive before and successfully worked through it. To lessen the impact of stressful periods, keep a list of activities that make you happy. Whether it's reading a comic, calling your best friend or taking a hot shower--what simple action will improve your spirit? Engross-ing yourself in an enjoyable activity can put fear on the back burner.
Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Success and Kick Start Your Dream Business.