Facing Fear Factor in Business: Fear– Paralyzes Decisions, Creates Uncertainty, Kills Businesses… Demystify It…

The only barriers between yourself and a life without limits are the powers you’ve mistakenly given to your doubts and fears. ~Guy Finley

Fear is the biggest obstacle you’ll ever face; it’s detrimental to your business success and your life achievements. Fear is ubiquitous: Fear of failure; fear of embarrassment, fear of success… Demystify fear and you can overcome it. That is, unless you’re too scared to try.

According to Sage Lewis; the four main fears that modern folks run into are: Fear of the unknown (what you’re unfamiliar with). Fear of failure (will you lose money?). Fear of isolation (fear of going against the flow). Fear of looking stupid (self-explanatory). Fear feels bad. It makes your blood pressure go up, your heart rate accelerate, sweat shows up in places you’d rather it didn’t, your mouth goes dry, fingers tremble, the voice quavers and cracks, and your stomach flip-flops.

Repeated fear (stress) causes changes in areas of the brain related to decision-making. Fear distorts decision-making. It’s not just the deciding part of your brain that gets changed by fear. It actually changes your perception. What this means is that fear changes what you think you see. Fear inhibits action. Fear immobilizes. Fear changes the entire decision-making process. Fear creates faulty decisions.

So the fear you feel (of the unfamiliar, of failure, of isolation or of looking stupid) is having an effect on your life and your business. In his book Dave Ramsey’s uses a great example: He said it reminds him of a squirrel that runs in the road in front of a car. The fear of a car bearing down on the squirrel causes them to run one way, then another, then another, all in the street until you hear, ‘blump blump’. It can kill your business!

The challenge is to remove indecision from your life so you can make your decisions and get on with your business. In order to do that you need to find the cause of your indecision and demystify it. Or, like the squirrel, if you don’t know which way to go; the impact on the business can be devastating…

In the articleFear–Your Most Fierce Business Competitor by Clyde Lewis and Stephen Glaros write: Fear clouds your judgment. Fear constricts your blood flow. Fear pushes thoughts out of your cerebral cortex that plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness. I see terrified business owners all the time. They yell. They thrash around. They make irrational decisions.

They forgot all the rational, clear-headed decision-making they had made earlier in their moment of clarity. This is a crucial moment for you and your business. If you start relying on the emotions you are feeling during the process of risk taking you significantly increase your chances of making the wrong choice.  The worst time to make a decision is when you are freaking out. You will undermine your best thoughts and plans if you don’t push yourself through the fear…

In the article What’s Fear Got to Do with Business? by Sage Lewis writes:  Fear can be totally convincing, but the amazing thing is that there is no reality to fear because it is about things that are imaginary. It’s a biological signal to alert your mind and body of approaching danger. It’s about things you think are going to ‘get you’. In modern culture it’s also known as existential anxiety. It causes humans to be anxious about who they are and where they belong.

It has an impact on every facet of life, including your business. You may not be able to sanitize life and eliminate all the discomforts and reversals of fortune. But beware of the fearful things that you’re imagining. They’re not real. When you run into a discomfort, problem, loss, reversal, disaster, you will be able to deal with it. The old adage, ‘don’t borrow trouble’ is more important than ever.

Fear has many faces. Fear’s main tactic is to make illusion seem real. Fear is promoted and encouraged by the culture around you, such as; the news (economy is terrible and everyone is failing), advertisers (no one will love you if you don’t use our product), law enforcement and insurance companies (your car will be stolen if you don’t lock it or you’ll die if you don’t wear a seatbelt), medical (you’ll get diseases if you don’t check for these symptoms)…

It has decision-making repercussions, it locks you into squirrel-cage-type thinking and it has a negative impact on your health. Denial doesn’t help– it only perpetuates the stress.  As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!” Your fears might be all that’s stopping you from taking the steps for thinking creatively and reaching your goals.

In the article Feel the Fear and Go for It! by AMS writes:  Fear can make you crazy, but it can also drive you to great heights. When fear is controlled it can work for you. When fear controls you it can be devastating. Fear can affect your business in many ways. Fear of rejection keeps you from making sales calls and marketing. Fear of losing an account keeps you from staying in touch. Fear of sharing with people what you do can keep you from getting important referrals. Fear of being blamed for a decision or being wrong keeps you from making important decisions that can positively affect your business and ultimately your life.

Many people live their lives in horrible situations because of the fear of change or fear of the unknown. They become paralyzed by it. Let fear take you to the next level. Let it motivate and challenge you. Harness your fear and let it work to your advantage. Even if you feel terrified move your feet and take that step forward. Don’t wait to feel comfortable to take action.  Fear can be your ally or it can be your enemy. Survive your fear and keep moving forward….

In the article Overcoming Fear in Business by Bradford Shimp writes:  In business, fear can keep you from growing and it can keep a great idea locked up. Many potential great businesses never even get started because of fear. Whether it is the fear of rejection or general fear of failure, ideas are routinely kicked to the curb before they even have a chance because of fear. We allow fear, an intangible, to hold us back.

We must change our focus. Instead of thinking of how we might fail, we should think more on how we might succeed. Even a little chance for success should be enough to spur us on. In my experience, only one thing cures fear; doing the thing you fear is how you overcome fear. When you do something you were afraid to do and realize that you are fine, it’s a little easier to do it the next time. If you can learn to embrace the thrill of fear, then you may be positioning yourself for great success.

Action is the water on this fire. Think about the worse things that can happen. You might look bad or even feel stupid, but if you never try or never take the risk to grow your business (or to launch it), you will live in frustration and well under the level of your potential. Don’t let fear hold you back.

In the article Using Stories to Overcome Fear by Peter Guber writes: Fear can paralyze or catalyze an organization. Leaders’ who embrace fear can effectively manage the fears and success of their enterprise. Leaders must be story-tellers making fear an ally, not an adversary, and ultimately conveying the message that ‘fear’ is just; False Evidence Appearing Real’. I’ve learned to tell stories that turn fear into a powerful motivator.

Good leaders use stories, frequently. They tell stories that cast them and their organizations as agents of change, rather than defenders of the status quo. As a leader, you cannot eliminate fear or abolish uncertainty or avoid the prospect of change for your company. But you can leverage these emotional navigational stakes to your greatest advantage by telling a purposeful story to all your stakeholders. 

So what exactly makes an effective story? A story is a vehicle that puts facts into an emotional context. The information in a story doesn’t just sit there as it would in a list or data dump. Instead, it’s built to create suspense and engage your listener in its call to action. Facts and figures are memorable to computers, not to people.

Research on memory conclusively shows that all the critical details, data, and analytics, are more effectively emotionalized and metabolized by the listener when they’re embedded in a story, and they become significantly more actionable. This is what I call emotional transportation. Your story and its supporting facts transport the people who hear them to carry your story forward. Good stories, well told, turn people into apostles and advocates of your brand, service, mission or cause…

Avoiding what we fear only strengthens the fear and makes us less prepared to deal with it: Confront fear and over-time it often goes away, demystify it. According to Margie Clayman; fear is not always a horror movie kind of fear. It’s not always voiced like the never-ending screams of Shelley Duvall in ‘The Shining’ movie. Sometimes, fear is just a very quiet seemingly rational list of reasons. Sometimes, fear is dressed in a fancy three-piece suit with lots of pie graphs showing you why you should not proceed.

Fear comes in all sorts of forms and shapes. However, once fear is accepted as reality it takes rare and creative leadership to reverse it. The upside of fear is that it can be harnessed and used as a powerful motivator to bring people to act. Leaders must have a clear, viable plan to minimize tension and take bold action to challenge and reduce fear.

Corporate leadership must rise to this unique challenge, and transform fears into opportunities. Recall the famous quotes: The only thing we have to fear is fear without a plan… or; The only thing to fear is fear itself.

The inches we need to be successful right now are everywhere, and it’s up to us, and only us, to fight for them. And when we add up those inches, it will make the difference between winning and losing. Find and keep the people who will fight for those inches with you. That’s a team. Either you win as a team or you all lose as individuals. But fear will not help you win at all. ~ Any Given Sunday (movie)