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What am I afraid of?

January 4, 2010

Several months ago, my mom bought me this great little e-course called “Marketing for Nice People.” When you click on that link, it will tell you that the course is closed (for now). If you happen to be a nice person, and you happen to own a small business (or a not so small business) that you want to grow in a nice way, I HIGHLY recommend the course.

In any case, I was poking around on Itty Biz . com (the website of Naomi, one of the creators of Marketing for Nice People), seeing what else she and Sonia (the other creator) had to offer because they’re pretty awesome and I like to support awesome people. I came across a post from Naomi called “Entrepreneurship: What to Do When You’re Scared Shitless”. Since I want to be an Entrepreneur and the idea is pretty terrifying, I clicked on the link. Here’s what she had to say:

“So here’s my not-very-linear advice on fear.

First, acknowledge it. Get to know it. The worst thing to do with fear is pretend it’s not there. You’re not fooling anyone, least of all fear itself, and by denying its existence you just look like an idiot. Get to the root of your fear. Analyze where it comes from. Find out what you’re really afraid of.

If you think you’re afraid your business will fail, you’re not. You might be afraid of poverty, of humiliation, of never finding happiness, but you’re not afraid your business will fail. Figure out what the problem really is and stop pretending the Big White Elephant of Fear hasn’t taken up residence in the corner of your home office.”

So I’m sitting here, wondering to myself what I’m afraid of. I have at least six business ideas that I could, theoretically, implement even as a side business, without too terribly much effort. But I haven’t done it.

My excuses up until this point have been that I don’t have any time (which is mostly untrue, but I’ll save that for a different post)
and that I don’t where to start, but the time situation isn’t a problem at the moment, what with the new development in my current job, and knowing where to start is just a matter of sitting down and thinking it through, figuring out what the most logical first step is.

I’m not sure that I totally buy into her “You’re not afraid of failure”, because that’s been a big fear of mine for a while, but perhaps it’s less fear of failure, and more fear of disappointing people. Perhaps it’s fear of letting my loved ones down because I’m not pulling my weight, financially, in my marriage. I am fortunate to have married a very wonderful, loving, understanding man who is happy to work the steady job that pays most of the bills while I bounce around from job to job looking for my purpose, my fit.

But just because he’s willing to support me and my whims doesn’t mean I want to take advantage of that support. Not unless I’ve got a good game plan. So part of why I haven’t started is my typical perfectionist’s procrastination. “It will never be perfect, so why should I even try?” And that’s never good.

So fear of disappointing others is a big fear. But what else?

I’m afraid I won’t know what to do.

I’m afraid that I’m not ready to be an entrepreneur.

I’m afraid that all of the business ideas I’ve had thus far are stupid and they’ll never work and I’d be foolish to try.

I’m afraid that I’ll never figure out where I fit into this wide world of careers.

I’m afraid that there’s more I need to learn about business, about life, before anyone will take me seriously.

I’m afraid that I’ll get everything ready for my business, whatever it is, and never get any customers.

I’m afraid that I’ll tell people I’m starting my own business and they’ll look at me, at my 26-year old self, and laugh.

I’m afraid that I’ll die young and never accomplish half of the things I want to accomplish in my life, partially because I never figured out how to get started on the first one.

Bah.

But, as Naomi writes,

“Fear is normal.

As a bloggers, artists, writers, business owners, we are afraid. Trying to avoid fear, circumvent fear, or remove fear is an act of futility. Fear will not go away.

Live with fear, do your thing anyway.”

So, I’m going to face those fears above, knowing what they are, and try anyway. Because I will never know if I could have done something special if I never try, and I think my greatest fear of all is the fear that I will never be anything more than average because I never tried.

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