Have you ever heard the phrase “face your fears”? A person’s response to that tends to go one of two ways: instantly thinking, “Absolutely no chance” and sprinting in the opposite direction, or, a “yes, I CAN do this”, gun-ho, let’s-go-flat-out-and-defeat-this-thing approach.
And yet neither of these responses will allow you to come through those fears unscathed. One ends with no action being taken and the other, risks making you so vulnerable and overwhelmed, that you end up with your fear growing rather than dissipating.
There’s a very logical reason why this happens. Once we understand this, we can begin facing our fears without freaking out.
You’ll all be familiar with the idea of a “comfort zone”. These are the things that we feel quite comfortable doing and which don’t cause us stress or anxiety. Everyone’s comfort zone is different. But for the purposes of this, let’s imagine it as a circle.
That circle is encompassed by another slightly larger circle that we’ll call the “stretch zone”. In this area are the things that are not exactly comfortable for us to do but that don’t completely fill us with fear. It’s that butterflies-in-the-tummy, little-bit-nervous type stuff.
And then, finally, we have another slightly larger circle around that one called the “danger zone”. This is the freeze-to-the-spot, fill-me-with-panic, get-me-out-of-here-now type activities. If you’re scared of heights, it might be jumping out of the aeroplane. If you worry what others think of you, it could be standing up and speaking in front of a room full of strangers.
When we hit this danger zone, our minds think that we are in danger and need rescuing. Those primeval responses we discussed in the last blog post start to kick in. Your mind and body work together to do whatever they can to keep you safe from the perceived danger...whether it’s a genuine danger or not!
The trick to facing your fears is to spend your time in your stretch zone. When you do this, you begin to become more comfortable with those new activities – your comfort zone grows and eventually, the stretch zone too.
So, how can you make sure you’re in the stretch zone? Well, it’s simply about taking one step at a time and gradually moving yourself in the right direction rather than leaping straight into the full on scary actions.
If you fear rejection, don’t start approaching 20 new people a day with your offer. Start with one...or even one person you already know likes your business. This will give you the opportunity to practice your approach and as you get more comfortable you can increase the number of people to approach.
If you fear not being a good enough business owner when you spend more time with your children, start with reducing your weekly working hours by 30 minutes and notice how much better you feel and how productive you become when you do return to your work because you feel more rejuvenated and have greater clarity from the time out.
If you fear being successful, begin planning for having an extra client each week, 5 extra sales each week or an extra £25-50 a week. Talk about it and think about how life will be different and what coping mechanisms will be needed to accommodate the increase in your success enabling you to always feel in control.
Remember, simply take things one step at a time and you will be facing your fears and moving in the right direction. What next step are you going to take to move you closer to where you want to be in your life or in your business?
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