We all have different fears. Mine might sound ridiculous to some, but I am scared of lizards and of losing the people I love. I do not know when these fears first surfaced, but it seems as though I have had them forever. Thankfully those kind of worries do not affect my business in a negative way. However, when it comes to entrepreneurship, fear plays an integral part.
Many people never take that step to start a business because they are afraid of failure and would rather not invest in that emotional drama. The “what ifs?” hold many back – hindering them from even taking the first step towards their desired goals.
Last week we held an Anjez workshop – part of an initiative aimed at empowering entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi through a series of workshops, talks, and events – with the life coach Shaden Bolbol, where we discussed how the fear of success and not failure holds many back. Believe it or not, a lot of people fear success. They do not know if they would be able to handle it. As the American author Marianne Williamson once said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”.
This was something I recently discussed with a friend who has the potential to become a great digital videographer. The work she does in her free time is phenomenal, and she receives many hits on her YouTube channel. I asked her why she doesn’t set up a business, creating a similar effect for companies in the UAE. She replied honestly, saying she knew she would be great, that her potential is beyond what she imagines, but she is afraid of the “consequences” that success would bring about. Would she have to give up the time she spends with her family or hanging out with friends? Those were the kind of questions racing through her mind.
For those with a similar mindset, the good thing is you are not alone. The 35 people who showed up to our workshop revealed how common fearing success actually is. So here are some ways to overcome it:
Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel
Visualise your desired outcome, the successful version of yourself. How is that image? Carry out this exercise for as little as five minutes a day for a couple of weeks to rewire your mind. The best time to do so is when you wake up in the morning. I indulge in 15 minutes, first thing in the morning and just before I go to bed. It helps to set my mood at the beginning of the day and calms my mind before I sleep. The more you familiarise yourself with this vision, the more normal it will seem to you and it will become less frightening.
Cut the negative talk
If you fear success, chances are there are a lot of negative thoughts roaming around your mind. Thoughts such as: “You are happy and comfortable with your life as it is. Why change that” or “You would not have enough time to spend with your family, and you might lose them” need to be renosed. When you notice such a thought, flip it around and ask yourself: “Will this thought bring me closer to my goal?” Or imagine what someone you admire would do in such a situation. Would they allow this idea so much of their time? Probably not. Changing your mindset takes practice, but you will get there.
Last, enjoy the moment
Having a vision is a great thing to keep us focused and ensure we are not distracted by the negative chatter in our minds. Try not to get totally immersed in the vision and miss the small wins and victories along the way.
Fear is something wired deep within our mind that we sometimes do not notice. The first step to overcome it is to address it head on. With perseverance, everything is downhill from there.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.
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