Fears… when was the last time you leaned into yours?
Sitting on the black leather couch, I looked at the elevator and thought about running. I was quite intimidated by the floor-to-ceiling windows and the hallway of awards.
It’s 1999 and I wanted to partner with one of the world’s largest recruitment agencies in London as their international business partner.
All I kept on thinking was, “I’m not good enough, I don’t know what I’m doing. I should leave and save myself the humiliation.”
I stayed. I survived and they wanted to see a business plan. Theoretically, I knew what a business plan was but I had never created one outside of a class assignment.
I pushed through my fears and inexperience and… I got the contract!
In January 2000, I opened an agency in South Africa to recruit teachers for the UK. At the time, I didn’t even know how to send an email let alone run a business, but I believed I could and so I figured it out as I went along.
It turned out to be one of the most amazing opportunities of my life.
Now, I’m a seasoned entrepreneur in yet another country and another business venture.
I see so many people holding themselves back from amazing opportunities, success, love and even life because they believe more in their fears, limiting beliefs, excuses and negative self-talk than in themselves and their abilities.
Whoever you are and whatever you’re up against, lean into your fears and say YES to the next opportunity that lights you up, even if you can’t send an email!
3 Ways to Push Through Your Fears
BE READY AND SEE THE OPPORTUNITY
The best opportunities in the world can come along, but if you’re not sure what you really want it won’t matter.
I was looking for something exciting to do when I returned to South Africa after my UK working holiday visa expired.
My friend came home one day and said he was approached with the opportunity to become an international business partner for his teaching agency in South Africa but he wasn’t interested, as he wanted to stay in the UK.
I immediately saw an opportunity for myself in this and approached my own agency with the idea (something they hadn’t considered at the time). I researched the opportunity before going in for the first discussion and it turned out top be a win-win for both of us.
- Which other agencies were doing it already? (competition)
- What did I want from this opportunity – the terms? (contract)
- Who would be responsible for what? (role allocation)
WHAT TO DO NEXT
1. Get crystal clear about what you want in your life and business – what does success look like for you? What do you dream about? A muddled approach will give you mediocre results.
2. Do your homework when an opportunity or project comes your way to ensure it’s right for you and aligned with your values and goals.
3. Remember, if you don’t have plans of your own you’ll become part of someone else’s plan, so be ready when opportunity knocks.
SAY YES AND TAKE THE FIRST STEP
The next time a project or opportunity comes along and your inner critic pipes up pointing out how you’re ‘not good enough’ or ‘don’t know enough’ silence it, check in with your plans to see if it’s right for you and say Yes as soon as possible.
Once you give your monkey-mind half a gap, fear will kick in and it will give you all the reasons why it’s bad idea, how you’re not ready for this and point out what else you need before you can say Yes.
Instead of giving in to your fears, take the first step to make the opportunity a reality e.g. pick up the phone and make the call, reach out to the right people who can help you move forward or take a pen and paper and jot down your thoughts to get the ball rolling.
Great questions to ask yourself:
- How will this [opportunity/ project] help me to reach my goals?
- What resources will I need?
- Who can help me?
- When is the deadline?
Remember, what is big and scary for you, will be easy for someone else and vice versa. If it’s right for you, say Yes and take the first step.
ACT AS IF
You’re ready, you said Yes and now it’s time to take the first step. When reality sets in you might ask yourself “What was I thinking? How will I cope?‘”
It’s time to ‘become’ the person you’ll need to be to reach the goal so start by acting ‘as if’ you’re already that person.
In my case, I had to ‘become’ the successful business person that launches the venture successfully. I had to ask myself how Catherine, my mentor at the time, would do this or negotiate that?
Let’s say your opportunity is to speak at a business networking event. You know it would be a great way to promote your business (excitement) but the thought of it makes you sick to your stomach (nervousness), you can start here:
- Who do I know that speaks well in front of crowds?
- What makes them a good speaker – are they confident, funny, relaxed, knowledgeable?
- How can you copy those traits but still use your own personal style?
- What can you do/ say/ wear to achieve that trait?
- Who can I ask for help to better prepare myself for the situation?
- What are my specific fears around this and how can i overcome them?
If you want to be more confident, start noticing confident people’s posture and body language, how they talk and what they wear. See how you can incorporate some of the same things in your own life and practice it daily to make it second nature.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
1. Spend 5 minutes a day imagining being the person you want to become – how do you talk, stand and dress? What do you do in a day?
2. If we take the business networking event, see your more confident self successfully speaking in front of the crowd, their smiling faces and how proud you feel of yourself for pushing forward. See how excited they are about your offer and how you solve their problems.
The more often you start acting ‘as if’ you’re already the person you dream of becoming, the easier it will be to say Yes to new opportunities and make your ideals, real.
What opportunities have you won in the past because you said Yes, although you were scared? Leave your comment below.
Author: ALICIA MENKVELD Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.
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