I’ve got a confession to make.
And later, a resolution as well.
So here it is: I spent my whole week last week doing… nothing.
I mean, I sat at my desk, and I flicked between Facebook and Twitter and email and Facebook and Twitter and email and Facebook and Twitter and email – you know the drill. I know I’m not the only one who’s done that. 🙂
I got no productive work done.
So you’re probably thinking that I got distracted by social media and that this is a post on staying focused. Except you’d be wrong.
Sometimes procrastination is actually something else
The real reason I got no work done, was that I was paralysed by fear.
I’m releasing our first product soon at Ready Set Startup and, although I’m excited about it, to be honest, I’m shit scared. “What if no one likes it? What if it’s a big flop? I’m sure you’ve heard those voices – all that stuff that can go on in our head at times.
That was me last week.
This happens every time I move outside my comfort zone
I wanted to tell you about it because I wanted to be accountable for it. And I also wanted to share with you some of the realities of being an entrepreneur. Because the fact is, every entrepreneur at some stage, actually at multiple times, experiences fear. [Tweet this]
It’s part of the journey.
It’s the thing that comes up against us whenever we’re pushing forward, whenever we’re doing something that’s good, something that will contribute, something that will move us and other people forward.
That fear comes to stop us. It’s very common. It happens often.
And because that fear so often comes when we are about to dive into something good that is outside our comfort zone, (and never when we are comfortable or engaged in non-productive activities), we can take it as a sign that we are on the right track. [Tweet this]
If you haven’t experienced it yet – expect it – because you will. If you haven’t experienced it yet, maybe you’re not pushing yourself enough. I’ll just put that out there. 🙂
So that was me. I have to say that last week, I gave into fear.
Feel the fear or die
I don’t want you to give in to fear. Or at least, not for long. I want you to work with me here.
Let’s make sure that when this fear comes, we recognise it for what it is – it’s actually a sign that we’re on the right track. It’s actually a sign that we’re doing the right thing.
Let’s make a commitment, when we feel that fear, to push forward anyway, because we only have 2 choices. One is to keep procrastinating and doing nothing and we can do that to the day we die if we really choose. But by choosing that we actually die a bit inside.
Or we can say, “I know I’m going to feel this but I’m just going to push on and I’m going to do it anyway.”
Let’s make that choice.
So here’s my resolution
The urgency to make this choice has really been stamped on my consciousness this week, because this week, a friend that I grew up with, passed away after a long battle with cancer. It really brought it home to me that none of us know how long we’ve got. We don’t know how much time there is.
Let’s use every day to make a difference. Let’s not be stopped by anything from doing the work that we know we must do, the work God’s put within us.
It’s not easy.
IT’S NOT EASY! Building a business is one of the most personally confronting things you can do. [Tweet this]
It’s hard – and that’s why a lot of people don’t make it as an entrepreneur. Because they are not prepared to meet, persevere and transcend the obstacles we all inevitably face.
Let’s expect the fear, let’s take it as a sign we’re on the right track and let’s push through it, do our work every day and move forward.
Can you make that commitment with me?
Let’s make every day count.
Pick up the free poster to go along with this post. It’s my favourite quotes for daily inspiration to win the battle, the ones that really help me move past fear and resistance.
The best thing you can read if you are in this place is this book: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. A chapter or two of this short but powerful read will put you back on track.
Excellent Post Susan. I’m in awe.
The vulnerable truth, sets an example for us all. I’m glad to be inspired by you and to know my own fight with the resistance is not alone.
Time, fear, distractions (et al) sure have their way with me. Sometimes I’m happy to have a “win” with submitting just one word. Some times it is breaking through and working (albeit briefly on my birthday! — Yeah! I beat it that time.) Take that resistance.
I’m not shy about hard work, long hours, etc. But this is different. The business is my life. Not in a way that I can even explain that easily. As my mission to do this work, to help evolve consciousness, becomes more clear, it becomes even more urgent for me to get things out there.
Its different because it is art not product. I understand just recently that if we don’t feel the fear and a bit of uncertainty, we aren’t pushing the edge enough. No “sure” new thing exists.
I’m using the fear as escape velocity for the gravity that is my need for security.
That sense of urgency helps me break through and not break-the-chain. (Well, true confession? Sometimes I freeze with fear. It helps to acknowledge it.
I’ve been reminded of late to just “ship it”.
Fear be damned.
In it to win it.
Thats the spirit!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joseph. What a great addition to my post. 🙂
I love honest posts like this one. It reminds us all that it’s normal to feel fearful and ok to feel this way. I’ve started up and run three businesses, so you’d think I would have got used to this fear. I guess it has become familiar, but it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to push through it when it happens. But pushing through it each time makes my comfort zone a little, tiny, bit bigger.
And it is so important to find ways of dealing with it, because fear isn’t just around starting up, it exists throughout the life of your business. If you can get used to pushing through it, you will be less likely to get stuck in the future.
Great post Susan, thank you so much.
Thanks for the kind words Liz.
The fear is so, so normal.
Your comment reminded me that it doesn’t go away. Ready Set Startup is my 4th venture and I’m still feeling it. An extremely experienced entrepreneur told me a few months ago that the fear never goes away, you just get better at dealing with it.
That’s a consolation I suppose!!
Spectacular. Dead on accurate. ’nuff said.
(And also one of my all time fav books! Loved this post. Okay…apparently not enough said.) 🙂
You make me laugh Kathy. 🙂
Gosh, you spoke my mind with this one, Susan! I’m bang in the middle of that fear right now…. far out of my comfort zone. The thing that works for me is to put what needs to be done for the week on a written TO-DO list, and set a fixed time each day to work on it… I’m allowed to scrap the whole days work as cr*p if necessary (as I fear it will be), but not allowed to NOT work on it. It’s been helping… and surprisingly, I haven’t had to scrap much work, even though I felt while producing it that it wasn’t my best work. Eventually it all works out.
LOVE this post!
Sumitha, that’s been my exact strategy the last few weeks! It’s been working great.
Your ‘confession’… I have totally experienced those sorts of days. it took me a while to realize ‘why’. It’s an on going process for me and I improve everyday. But now I just tell myself to ‘get on with it’.
Surprising, it seems to be working!
That’s great Naomi. Onward!
Great post Susan. I know exactly how you felt, because I’m in a pretty similar position right now. Currently, I’m on one big project which I’m pushing really hard from January (invested a lot of money and time in it and progress is not even close as it’s supposed to be), and another business opportunity knocked on my door about month ago and working hard to put together all pieces and start with it. But, 2 weeks ago I got paralyzed with fear (like you), fortunately this fear is not so strong in the moment when I’m writing this. As you said, fear is the sign of change, and facing with fear is something that motivates us to continue with work and life.
Yep. That fear is an imposter who calls himself reality. I spent last week giving into it, and this week I’m back up and running to catch up! I’m about to start developing a big e-course and it’s way out of my comfort zone. I just have to push through the fear and believe it will succeed.
Good on you Margo. You can do it!!
Hi Susan, amazing post. thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.
Thanks Pooja! 🙂