Many years ago, I was presented with an opportunity that left me filled with fear instead of anticipation. I was asked to teach a module of a Portfolio Management course, as the lecturer thought I had done well in the class the year before. My initial response was to decline the offer.
After reflection, I recognised that this development was perfectly lined up with the goals I had set; why would I fear taking it on? Examining my emotions, I realised that it bothered me that I did not know how to create a PowerPoint presentation, and that I was clueless about using a projector.
When I admitted my fears to the lecturer, she reassured me that those shortcomings were easily solved. After a quick introduction to the mechanics of setting up a projector, and a month's worth of self-tutoring on PowerPoint, I designed my lesson plan and entered the exciting world of teaching.
As we discussed last week, you have to be willing to step out into new horizons if you want to accomplish your objectives. However, for many people, the prospect of change creates anxiety and elicits irrational fears, which can be debilitating obstacles to their personal and financial goals.
What is fear?
Fear is the brain's reaction to some stressful stimuli that it receives. When your brain processes these signals, it responds by releasing certain chemicals into your body which may cause you to breathe faster and your heart to beat harder. You become poised to take defensive action.
This instinctive response to a troubling situation is nature's way of helping us to protect ourselves against danger. While fear and its resultant bodily reactions can be life-saving in times of peril, fear can be counterproductive when it is generated in situations that are harmless or even helpful.
Fear can be subjective
While there are basic fear triggers that are common to most people, fear can also be a conditioned response to a past incident, or from a negative association made with a set of circumstances. So while some people are deathly afraid of lizards, others are happy to keep them as pets.
It's important to understand that while your fears might be distressing to you, another person may look at your fearful situation and wonder what the fuss is all about. In fact, many of things you fear are not real; they are simply triggered by an anticipation of harm that may never be forthcoming.
Make your fears disappear
If you want to accomplish bigger and better things in life, you have to be willing to do whatever is necessary to break free from your fears. You may always be faced with situations that make you fearful; what you need is a game plan which allows you to proceed in spite of your trepidation.
Be honest with yourself when you feel scared about a new development in your life, and try to find the underlying reasons that are prompting you to resist carrying out the progressive steps. Let's look at some of the reasons why you may face crippling fear, and solutions to overcome them.
Fear of the unknown
Fear can kick in whenever you are in a situation where you feel uncertain or uninformed. For example, you may be afraid of applying for that vacant position at work because you don't know enough about the people in the department or you are unsure about the job requirements.
You can fight this fear by seeking information to remove your uncertainty. Get training to upgrade yourself, do research online or ask an expert who can guide you in making the right decisions. Once you develop confidence in your abilities to handle new ventures, you will conquer your fear.
Fear of failure
We may all have instances in our childhood in which we were ridiculed when we made a mistake. The fear of failing is so perverse that it can prevent you from trying something new. So you may make the tastiest muffins, but you're scared to offer them for sale in case someone rejects them.
Failure is merely getting a different result than you had desired; it is not the end of the world. Many of the world's top performers attained greatness because they were willing to learn from their many failed attempts. Embrace your mistakes instead of resisting them, and you will overcome this fear.
Fear of success
Another concern that limits some people from going after their dreams is the fear of success. Let's say that you could increase revenue for your salon if you started a social media campaign, but you are afraid that people may make unpleasant comments about you because you're in the limelight.
As the Jamaican saying points out, "Nobody neva kick a dead dog." Understand that envy and criticism are just a small part of the price of success; don't let your fears about what other people might say or do prevent you from becoming all that you were meant to be.
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money", will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at www.financiallysmartadvice.com and www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.