I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m an entrepreneur or perhaps I seem to others like someone who is ‘fearless’ (which for the record, I’m definitely not) but I find people often share with me the things they really want and wish for, but are just too afraid to pursue.
When I’m contemplating a new idea or big decision, I often feel a lot of fear and anxiety about it but I’ve adopted a simple practice that’s really helped me re-frame and overcome my fear. It involves asking myself and answering three simple questions.
The first question is: What am I most afraid of?
When I think about this thing (whatever it is), what is it that I’m really scared of? The answer to this question obviously depends on what the thing is, but generally involves one or several (or all) of the following:
- I’m scared of what others will think of me
- I’m scared that I’ll fail
- I’m scared that people will think I’m crazy
- I’m scared that I’ll lose money
- I’m scared that it won’t be the right thing
- I’m scared that I don’t know what I’m doing
- I’m scared that I’m not smart enough
- I’m scared that I’ll look incompetent in front of my team
I then ask myself the second question: So what?
And I try to answer that question in relation to all of the fears that have come up for me.
I’m scared of what others will think of me…
So what? You know why you want to do whatever it is that you want to do – are you really going to let the potential thoughts and judgements of others (most of whom you don’t even know) stop you from pursuing what you really want?
I’m scared that I’ll fail…
So what? Whenever you fail, you also learn something important. You know this. And you know what they say, if you’re not failing from time-to-time, you’re not trying (or even really living).
I’m scared that people will think I’m crazy…
So what? Maybe I am kind of crazy. Maybe that’s a good thing. I feel as though the most successful people I know have all been thought of as kind of crazy at one point or another.
I’m scared that I’ll lose money…
So what? Maybe I will lose some money but one thing I know for certain is that I’m never going to end up homeless on the street. No matter what, I know I’m resourceful and resilient and I’ll always be ok.
I’m scared that it won’t be the right thing…
So what? You won’t know unless you try it. If it’s not the right thing, then you’ll know and you can choose a different path.
I’m scared that I don’t know what I’m doing…
So what? No one knows what they’re doing. Like actually though – everyone’s just figuring it all out as they go. And it’s ok to ask for help (and by the way, you know way more than you even realize).
I’m scared that I’ll look incompetent in front of my team…
So what? Do people respect a leader that doesn’t take some calculated risks, that always plays it safe, that isn’t willing to try new things and possibly fail?
And then I ask myself the third question - the ‘what if’ question – as in what if the opposite of all my fears happens?
What if I do this thing and…
- What if it’s amazing?
- What if it lights me up and serves me in a way I could only have imagined?
- What if it makes a difference for others?
- What if it changes me/others/the world in a positive way?
- What if it’s a huge success – financially and otherwise?
- What if it’s the exact right thing for me in this moment?
- What if it changes the trajectory of my life for the better?
- What if I don’t even realize what’s truly possible yet?
- What if this is THE thing for me?
What if? Don’t you want to know? I know I do.
The next time you’re feeling stuck in fear, try this simple exercise and remember fear is just a construct of your mind, and you can change your mind anytime you choose to.
With love + light,
just the best kids clothes on the planet
Since 2008, we've made the softest, the snuggest, the coziest, the coolest baby, toddler, and kids clothes on the planet, created ethically at factories that pay employees a living wage, with sustainable materials that don't leave our planet worse off than we found it. We believe in passing it on, and our stuff is built to be beautifully outgrown, resold, and reworn by kid after kid after kid. We make our best basics for their best future, and we're so happy you and your little minimalist are part of the famm.