Women in the Business Arena™ EP105: Overcoming Fear that Stops You in Your Business

“Realize that you are absolutely going to confront fear if you’re trying to grow your business.” -Sonya Stattmann  (5:38 - 5:43) 

As entrepreneurs, we are used to using our rational mind to build our business, but when faced with “paralyzing” fear, we have to use different tools and skills to effectively navigate it.

Rationalizing ourselves out of fear doesn’t work. We need to first realize that fear is normal. It’s a big myth that we have to be fearless to be an entrepreneur. The truth is that If we’re moving into new areas, moving up to a new level, or growing something we’ve never grown before, fear is inevitable.

“If you’re going to go into a business venture without fear, you’re losing one of your best assets, because fear has the ability to tell you if something is changing or needs attention.”  Laura Shook-Guzman (6:48 - 7:01)

If we don’t experience fear, we’re probably not moving in the right direction. We’re staying in our comfort zone, which won’t get us very far. 

Knowing that fear is normal and that it is an indication we’re moving in the right direction will help us ride out the fear. Believing fear is not normal will tank us.

It is helpful to recognize the symptoms of fear. 

When we are right in the middle of fear, we might experience: 

  • Panic
  • Numbness
  • Feeling disoriented
  • Overwhelm
  • Racing heart
  • Dry mouth

In these moments, we can disrupt the fear by shifting our nervous system and engaging a different part of our brain.

One way is by using hot and cold water. Start by washing your hands in cold water, allowing yourself to feel the cold. Then turn the water to as hot as you can handle and feel the heat. Go back to cold water, then back to hot, three times. 

Breathing exercises also disrupt fear. Breathe in to the count of four, hold for four, breathe out for four, and repeat. 

Once the paralyzing fear is disrupted, our thinking brain can take over and explore the purpose the fear is serving. Fear has a way of showing up when we need to pay attention.  Sometimes our fear isn’t about what we initially think it is, but about something else altogether. 

Many people are quick to label their fear and often assume it is a fear of failure. But if we explore it, we often discover it is something different than we expected.

Doing an exercise of radical inquiry where we keep asking ourselves “why” can uncover the real fear. We may come to realize the fear doesn’t have anything to do with our business, but with something else. 

Paralyzing fear is never about the NOW, even though it feels like it is. Instead, it is triggered by something in the past. 

“The amount of confidence I’ve gained in myself over the years has not come from my greatest successes, but has come from walking through the center of my discomforts or my failures.” Laura Shook-Guzman  (30:07 - 30:20)

By working through the fear, we are building our resilience to discomfort and our skills to succeed. Any path to success or transformation will have natural ups and downs. Learning to sit through that discomfort has huge rewards because we learn so much through the challenges and the fear. 

Realize that fear is normal as you move forward in your business. It is inevitable. Use it to bring you back into the now and uncover what is actually triggering the fear. You can move forward despite the fear and discomfort and find renewed confidence.

We also highly recommend finding support if you need it. Reach out to an experienced therapist or coach who knows how to help you navigate fear. 

How to get involved

  • Join the Women in the Business Arena Group on Facebook and continue the discussion starting next week!
  • Reach out to us - we’d love to hear more about where you’re at in life and business! Find out more here.

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