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Entrepreneurs / Fear

Breaking Free of Fear

When you turn fear against itself, you can find courage to live the life you've always wanted.
Breaking Free of Fear
Image credit: Yuri_Arcurs | Getty Images
- Guest Writer
Author, Speaker, Social Media Entrepreneur
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You became an entrepreneur because you have something great within you that you want to share with the world. Far too often, however, this little sneaky devil called “fear” gets in the way. Fear cripples. It steals. It lies. Fear is the worst epidemic of our time. The worst part? Fear takes its toll ever so slowly, ever so gently.

What can you do about it? How can you beat fear? Today, I’m going to share a nonconventional way to winning fear. It’s not just about positivity. It might feel uncomfortable. It might seem unusual. But at the end of the day, I know you’re looking for results. What do you have to lose?

Related: To Become a Fearless Entrepreneur, Learn These 6 Truths

Fear's greatest goal.

Fear is totally content with keeping you stuck. That's its goal. Fear freezes. If all fear did was keep you from moving, it would laugh at you the rest of your life. The key is finding a way to get unstuck. To unfreeze. To move.

What fear fears.

You can't remove the fear with positive thinking, wish it away or pretend it doesn't exist. Try this: Find a fear that’s bigger and meaner than your current rear. You can recognize the fear that comes when you think about taking a certain action. But also uncover the fear that would happen if you didn’t take action.

Related: The 5 Actions You Must Take to Beat the Fear Blocking Your Success

My own fear story.

I was born with the entrepreneurial fire in my belly. I was a horrible employee. It’s not that I didn’t work my ass off, but I had to do things my way (even if that meant bending or breaking the established rules). I dreamed of working for myself. But I had one big problem: Being an employee meant security. I had a massive fear of quitting my steady job. I feared losing the stability of my 9-to-5 gig.  

My fear took many forms:

  • Uncertainty. I didn’t know what would happen if I worked for myself.
  • Finances. What if I didn’t make enough money?
  • Loneliness. What if I had to work by myself for a while?
  • Self-sabotage. What if I don’t know enough or wasn’t good enough to start my own thing?

Related: 5 Mindset Changes You Must Make When Going From Employee to Entrepreneur

The one thing worse than my fear. 

With fears this large, it’s no wonder many of us stay stuck. How do you get unstuck? I was told for years that I needed to have a big purpose -- something positive to pull me toward my goal and eat away the negative. All of that is useful. It made me get closer and closer to living the life I wanted to live. And it helped me feel better about myself to make it happen. But it’s not complete. I couldn’t pull the trigger until I came across the one thing that changed everything: a bigger fear.

The bigger fear.

I thought about how life would look if I didn't pursue what I wanted. How would I view myself in, say, 10 years if I didn’t take a risk? What if I didn’t take a chance?

Instead of feeling good, I sensed a new kind of fear settling in. A heavier fear. I feared mediocrity and feeling suffocated. Or worse -- I feared that my white-hot desire for greatness would dim or die. I hated the experience. But this bigger fear swallowed my smaller worries. I quit my job. I started working for myself. I took the required action.

Related: 10 Challenges Every Entrepreneur Will Face

The bigger fear in action.

I recently attended an event that featured "Shark Tank" star Robert Herjavec as the keynote speaker. I’ve always wanted to meet him. After his speech, I found myself out of my seat and peeking backstage -- totally against the rules. My fear of getting into trouble kept me from crossing the threshold. As I turned to head back to my seat, the bigger fear hit me. When would I have another chance to meet Robert Herjavec? I feared the massive regret I would feel if I didn't at least try. I'd rather get turned away than wonder "what if?" So I walked backstage and acted as if I belonged there. I said hello and even got a picture.

Beating fear at its own game.

You miss every shot you don’t take. Whether it’s starting your own business, asking for that big sale or even asking a girl out on a date, remember that cheating yourself out of the opportunity is far worse than taking the risk. As I explain in my book, "Fish Out of Water," the discomfort that comes with potential rejection is better than the regret you’ll experience if you don't try.

Related: He Went From Dead Broke to Millionaire Because He Just Wouldn't Stop Trying

When the fear of taking action freezes you, find a bigger fear to swallow the smaller fear. Win fear by beating it at its own game. Get doing what you know you were born to do. The rest of us are counting on it.

12 Things You Need to Know About Fear, and How You Can Be a Better Entrepreneur Because of It