One of the tell-tale signs of a purpose-driven entrepreneur is to have a very big vision in life.
People that are ambitious, driven by a sense of purpose, who want to achieve something really meaningful – and not just for themselves but for others – are people with big dreams and awesome visions.
The thing is, when you hold such a vision and commit to fulfilling it, you find that there’s quite a distance between where you are now and where you want to be, which is, fulfilment of that vision.
The greater the vision the greater the distance that stands between you, and with greater distance comes more, and sometimes bigger steps required to achieve your end goal.
For a purpose-driven entrepreneur, vision, mission and goals, are weighty words. It’s not as though you’re trying to achieve anything just to make a profit. You want to have a successful business and leave a legacy that benefits the planet. For me, I want to do something freaking fantastic for this planet! I want to make a positive difference.
So, the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, gets stretched. It gets pulled and charged with the emotions we feel about taking those big steps; emotions that are usually challenging and uncomfortable. One of the stronger emotions we come up against is fear.
Business can be risky business
There can be a lot of risk involved in making entrepreneurial decisions. The path itself is one of pioneering and innovation, so you need to accept that risks are par for the course of leadership, but perhaps, as a solo business person who’s been doing the hard yards for a while in your start-up phase, it can be difficult to take those bigs steps with confidence.
Things at risk can be losing time spent with your family, risking financial investments, your home or sense of security, and even your health. Taking your business in directions that you can’t reverse from, right? There’s all sorts of risks involved, the results of which you need to eventually face and that are all genuine reasons to feel fear.
Don’t be afraid of fear
A lot of coaches will tell you that fear is like this irrational, dysfunctional thing, as though we’re better off getting rid of it as much as possible. It’s as though we should fear the fear! Personally, I find there’s a more emotionally intelligent approach to dealing with fear that enables us to experience it with greater ease.
Perhaps one of the reasons why many people don’t deal well with fear is because, from an emotional intelligence perspective, all emotions have a function, and in particular fear has a very important function relative to our survival. Our physical survival, but also the survival of our identity and place in the world.
The function of fear is to let you know that something has to change in your environment in order for you to be safe, or you have to change something within yourself relative to the environment, to be safe.
What it’s asking you to do is make an adjustment.
If you consider the risks and big steps that you’re taking as an entrepreneur, it’s actually quite normal, in fact I would say, extremely normal, to feel fear. In fact, if you don’t feel any fear at all in taking those steps then perhaps you haven’t weighed everything up. If there is an element of risk then it’s quite functional and understandable for you to experience fear. It’s a real and genuine response to your risk-taking.
It’s how you deal with fear that’s really important.
It’s all about how you face your fear
Recently, one of my purpose coaching clients hit me up for a 10 minute Velocity Call. When you come onboard for my coaching you get unlimited access to me, such as these 10 minute coaching calls where I help you get ‘unstuck’.
He calls me up and says, “Heath, I’ve brought my business to this point and I’m about to cross a line. When I cross that line I can’t reverse, I can’t go back. I’m fully committed to this process and going in this particular direction.”
I said, “Okay, so what’s the problem?” He said, “Well I’ve hit a massive wall of fear, like I’m really, really feeling a shit-load of fear and I’m finding it hard to take that step. Even though I can’t really undo it all now but if I take this step then it’s going to be very difficult to undo it all.”
I said, “Okay, cool.” So here’s the thing: he was expecting me to do some sort of clearing with him, which is what I can help him with – clearing emotional stuff – then give him some sort of pep talk to help him overcome his block. Instead, I did something he wasn’t expecting.
I said, “So tell me what are you really afraid of? Like what is this fear that you’re experiencing all about?”
He said to me, “Well, if this all goes to shit, and it doesn’t work out for me then there’s potential loss of respect from my partner, the kids are going to get taken out of all of their activities. I may have to let go of my house, and I’ve got to face my family if it all fails.”
We went through a big long list of technical things that could occur if his next big step didn’t work out. We literally mapped out all possibilities. We zoomed forward in time focussing on particular outcomes to experience them; imagining the realness of the ‘what-ifs’ and weighing up the risks.
What we found was that in each and every one of these hypothetical scenarios, he believed he had complete access to all of the resources within himself to be able to deal with the outcome. We agreed that there could definitely be setbacks and that they would have a massive impact on him but it wasn’t anything that he couldn’t deal with. It wouldn’t ultimately lead to his death.
So I asked him, “What is it that you’re actually afraid of? If you know that you can handle all these potential outcomes with all of these risks involved in taking the next step, what is it that you actually fear?”
What we discovered was this: he was afraid of not being able to accept himself for all the choices he had made.
It really landed for me too. When he shared this insight with me, I had a massive realisation about what I face in my own business. I think it speaks to a lot of people on the entrepreneurial path that is driven by purpose. That ultimately, what we fear is ourselves. Can we face ourselves if the things we invest our time, money, energy and focus into, don’t work out?
After we had waded through all possible outcomes, tried them on and worked out if he had enough resources to overcome potential obstacles, we then took a moment to get really clear about his relationship with himself. I proposed he form a contract with himself – like an agreement – so that whatever happened, he would respond to himself in the way outlined in the contract.
The contract was this: No matter what happened, no matter how the cookie crumbled, he agreed to always completely love, accept, and forgive himself, regardless of the consequences of his actions.
I took him through a process called Higher Self Technique. It aids you to access your full permission at the highest level of consciousness, to state an intention and make it so.
After the process when we returned to the present moment, interestingly, the fear was gone and replaced by excitement and anticipation.
Fear is not always irrational
As at much as it can be in some instances, fear can also be rational and warranted. You need to have your ‘spidey-senses’ tuned-in as to whether a fear you are contemplating is rational or irrational.
I’m a firm believer that emotion actually talks to you. It is this language of the soul that is so complex that your mind can even struggle to read its messages. The centres of your heart and gut are where we instinctively feel into our experiences, and when we learn to read our emotional language, the penny drops and we are guided from a heart-space.
When emotions come up, especially the uncomfortable ones, I don’t believe it’s as simple as just ‘dropping it’, or toughening up or repressing it. It’s wise to tune into what it is that you’re actually feeling, and what it is that it’s actually telling you.
You can use that information to make a mindset shift, or a change of perspective that enables you to work with and overcome the emotion, rather than seeing it as a block. You can use emotion to propel you forward, as you might use fear in a functional way like my client did.
I’ve broken down the steps to take to use fear functionally so that you can take them away and apply them for yourself, especially if you find it beneficial in your business and entrepreneurial journey.
Steps to facing fear functionally
Step 1: Identify exactly what you fear.
As soon as you hit the wall of fear, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself, ‘What is it specifically that I’m afraid of happening? What is this thing that I’m afraid of experiencing or have happen to me?
Step 2: Consider how you might deal with the worst-case-scenario that you fear.
Ask yourself, ‘If that were to happen then how would I deal with it? Do I have the resources? As my best self, how might I deal with that thing occurring?’
The answer is always going to be affirming. A ‘yes I can’.
Step 3: Agree to accept yourself no matter what happens.
Agree to completely accept, love and forgive yourself regardless of the outcome. Notice what happens with the fear.
You will probably find that it dissipates.
The other interesting thing about fear is that sometimes it tells you that you don’t have all the information that you need. That’s when fear steps aside and becomes what you would call anxiety, which is based around uncertainty. Perhaps the next step for you is to gather more information before your next move.
We can take control of our fear in a way that is functional and transformative, just as I have shown you in this article. Most importantly it’s a good idea to become used to it. Fear is a part of your entrepreneurial expansion through walking a path of purpose. Personally, I have become uncustomed to recognising fear as a sign that I am operating outside of my comfort zone and that I am pioneering new territory for my business and myself. It’s part of playing a bigger game, just don’t let it keep you small and remember you don’t have to be slave to fear but it need not be your enemy.
The Next Step
Everyday I help purpose-driven, conscious entrepreneurs who want to make a big difference in the world but feel held back by obstacles like fear of failure, self-doubt, inaction and uncertainty of direction. I help them to discover their true purpose and align the way they think, feel and act with their greatest potential so they can achieve more impact, more fulfilment and more abundance in their business and life.
If you’d like to find out how you can overcome your fears to playing a bigger game in business and life simple just click the link below and book yourself in for a Free 10 Minute Chat with me.