Entrepreneurship

3 Questions You Must Answer to Overcome Your Fears

People who seem fearless have gained control over their thoughts and feelings toward their fears.
3 Questions You Must Answer to Overcome Your Fears
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Guest Writer
Founder of Hack the Entrepreneur
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

To succeed in business, you need to overcome your fears. These fears can include the fear of failure and concern about treading into the unknown. It can be as simple as questioning your abilities as an entrepreneur. Each of these fears is valid and at times overwhelming -- but they don't need to be.

Entrepreneurs aren't without fear and don’t need to be inherent risk-takers. In some ways starting a business can give you more control over your destiny. Relying on your employer for financial security leaves you exposed to risk factors beyond your influence.

You don't need to jump out of a plane to overcome your fear of heights. You wouldn't get on stage for an unscheduled speech to a thousand people tomorrow to overcome your fear of public speaking. In fact, those actions would probably set you back on your journey toward overcoming these fears.

The people we admire who seem fearless and brimming with confidence aren't braver, smarter or stronger than you -- they have gained control over their thoughts and feelings toward their fears. They have learned how to use their inner voice to overcome fears and move forward.

There are three questions you need to ask yourself the next time you find yourself paralyzed with fear.

Related: What Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan and Eleanor Roosevelt Taught Me About Fear

What's the worst that could happen?

In one or two sentences, write down what the worst-case scenario looks like if your fear became a reality. After you've written out the worst outcome you can think of, look at it objectively and answer yes or no to these three questions:

  • Will this cause physical or emotional harm to yourself or others?

  • Will you suffer enormous financial burden?

  • Is this a career-ending outcome?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, your fears may be justified, and you should listen to them. If not, you need to accept that this fear is irrational and move forward to the next question. The goal of this is to be as specific as possible in your answer. You build up anxiety around vague outcomes. On the other hand, your concerns dissipate as you gain clarity on the potential downsides and upsides.

Related: How to Conquer Your Fear of Starting a Business

Will you regret not doing it?

There are two reasons you take action -- to move toward something you want (accomplishments, happiness, success, etc.) or to avoid that which will negatively affect you (danger, unhappiness, failure, etc.). To overcome your fears, you need to understand whether you are attempting to move toward the desired outcome or away from a negative feeling.

A fear of missing out (FOMO) can affect many aspects of life. And although fear is something we would typically seek to avoid, this fear can also be harnessed for good.

Research suggests that when people look back on life, they tend to regret what they haven't done more than what they have -- regardless of success or failure. When you answer this question of regret honestly, you can then confidently decide whether you want to move toward or away from that regret.

Related: 10 Financial Choices You'll Regret in 10 Years

Can you break it into smaller pieces?  

If you have been unable to assess the worst-case scenario accurately or determine if you would regret taking action, then you may need to dismantle your fear brick by brick.

Fears stem from the unknown. Not knowing exactly how to tackle your fear and all the contributing factors is cause for anxiety. You can overcome your fear in this case by breaking the big into smaller, more manageable pieces. By tackling concerns one by one, you can take baby steps toward conquering a bigger, less defined fear.

The goal of these three questions is for you to take the time to analyze the true nature of your fears. This exercise enables you to objectively view each of your fears, worries and concerns to find their underlying causes. By doing this, you will gain the strength and insight to begin to dismantle them one by one. And from there, you can overcome any and all of your fears.

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