Since leaving the safety of corporate life and starting a business, I often have feelings of fear. Fear of the unknown road ahead, fear of what people will think if I don’t succeed, fear of not making enough money. Whenever I start to feel this way, I begin to feel stressed, demotivated and think that I’ve made a terrible mistake. But it only takes one moment of insight, reading one inspiring article or just talking to someone about an idea, then the passion kicks in and defeats the fear. Just like that. I now realise this fear is only thoughts and there is no real situation here to be fearful of.

Thoughts are not experiences

There is a difference between real fear and simply feeling scared. Fear is a natural survival instinct. If you come across a man-eating lion, it is natural to feel fear. Adrenaline pumps into your veins and your heart-rate increases to prepare you to flee for your life. These days we don’t normally have to fear man-eaters on a day-to-day basis (unless you count your boss). This residual instinct has been translated into us feeling the symptoms of fear whenever we face an uncertain situation. Feeling scared is often irrational. Our mind likes to make up scenarios in order to prepare us for some improbable future event. Unfortunately this often inhibits our sense of what really is and causes us to make up conclusions based on nothing more than day-dreams.

You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection – you cannot cope with the future. – Eckhart Tolle

So if you have dreams you aren’t following, or ideas you aren’t pursuing because your mind is making excuses for you, try to put your thoughts into perspective. After all, they can’t eat you.

4 Responses to “Fear”

  1. 1 Tobin Harris March 29, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Hey there

    Nice blog post. I know exactly what you’re saying here, having started out on my own several years ago, and then starting to actually grow a business 1.5 years back. All scary experiences.

    Have you read “Feel the Fear, And Do It Anyway”? It’s pretty cool. My memory is crappy, so the only thing that really stuck is this:

    Living outside of your comfort zone is a great thing (I can testify to this, it’s the only way to grow). If you’re uncomfortable and scared, you’re probably doing something right.

    As you’ve already discovered, reading stuff that inspires you is really helpful. I know some entrepreneurs read inspirational materials all the time, it helps lift your thoughts into more positive places.

    I also have another rule I live by, which is that I don’t want to look back and regret *anthing*, especially NOT doing things. I usually ask myself, “will I regret not trying [_______] (insert scary prospect here)”


  2. 2 timross March 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks for your reply, Tobin. I will definitely get that book. It’s nice to know others who have done this sometimes feel the same way. I like how you say that feeling uncomfortable and scared means you’re probably doing something right. Feels very counter-intuitive and must be the reason many people give up. Thanks for the great advice!

  3. 3 Tony To March 30, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Inspiring post Tim.

    In not so many words as Seth Godin, it sounds like your lizard brain is kicking in. There is a section on his book, “Linchpin”, that talks about fear and how it takes over your vision and ability to create art.

  4. 4 timross March 31, 2011 at 3:06 am

    Cheers Tony. I have read Linchpin, it’s a really good book and helped motivate me to do this. Yeah the lizard brain starts to kick in every now and again. It’s good to identify what it is and know that you can ignore it. For anyone that’s wondering what we’re on about, here’s some info: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/01/quieting-the-lizard-brain.html

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