Conquering Fear

I was on the phone with a client the other day and we were talking about stepping through fear vs. doing what just feels plain hard or unpleasant. And I realized there is a very clear difference between the two.

Yes, to grow we must experience some discomfort, and conquer some fears, it’s just part of the process. If we want to stay in our comfort zone, chances are we’ll stay pretty much where we are in all areas of our life and our business. If we want to grow, or we want our business to grow, and we want our reality to be different than what it is right now, there’s a good chance we’re going to have to endure a little discomfort as we step into it and “grow ourselves” up to that next level.

I’ve done this repeatedly in my business, when I’ve made decisions to start a new business or hire a mentor or try a new marketing activity. And in the cases where I’ve had a core KNOWING that this was something I was supposed to do, even if it scared the heck out of me, it always grew me and my business forward. Always!

And the bigger the leap and the bigger the fear, the more I and my business grew.

However, sometimes we’re doing things in our life or our business that just feel downright hard or unpleasant. They’re “uncomfortable” but on a different level than the growth activities. These are things we really don’t want to do, things we don’t enjoy at all.  Yet they are things that we feel we “should” be doing because somewhere we got the message that these are things we “need” to do to be successful. So instead of doing them because at some deep level we KNOW they are the path to growth, we are doing them because we feel like we SHOULD be doing them.

So that’s your first clue:  Doing something because you KNOW you need to vs. doing something because you think you SHOULD.

As I look back at the times I’ve done things that weren’t screaming at me from that knowing place, but instead were being done more out of obligation, or a feeling that this is what I’m “supposed” to do, I not only experienced discomfort while I was doing them, when I came out on the other side, it STILL did not feel good.

So here’s how you know the difference.

When you step through fear and come out the other side, you are exhilarated and you want to do it again. It’s energizing. It’s like you have conquered something and it feels amazing. The pain or fear was temporary and you see it for what it was, a necessary part of growing and getting to where you are now.

However, when you are doing something that is difficult or scary or painful and you come out on the other side and you DON’T have that same feeling of exhilaration, that’s a great big red flag.  When you definitely don’t want to run right out and do it all over again, that’s a sign. A sign that maybe that activity belongs in the “should” category and isn’t something you really ought to be doing.

THAT’S how you can tell the difference.

YES, to grow you have to experience some discomfort and you may need to do things that scare you and conquer some fears. But if what you’re doing is just plain hard and painful and there’s no exhilaration on the other side, you’re probably not on the right path.  In fact, there’s very likely an easier path that will get you there faster and more joyfully, even if you have to step through some fear along the way.


About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. Now she helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

8 comments on “Conquering Fear

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Debbie. I’ve definitely done things in my business because I felt I should. But then always found a way to put off doing it again! I like the idea of leaving those things behind altogether, instead of feeling like it’s my fault that I can’t seem to make it work.


  2. Hi Debbie,
    I’m still doing a “should” but when I’m done with this one, I will move into doing what I need to do to move my business onward and upward.
    Yesterday it was actually physical pain that I was feeling and I can’t continue this way.

  3. Like you, when I go ahead and do something I’m afraid of, I feel exhilarated afterward. My problem is, some things I really detest doing are things that MUST be done. I tend to put them off because I dislike them, and then when I finally do it, I feel exhausted. If I had just gone ahead and jumped in to do it, I might not feel so drained afterward.

  4. Thanks for all sharing so openly about your challenges with the “shoulds” and conquering fears. This is definitely an area that most business owners face so know that you are not alone. And being able to face them openly and honestly and then make a decision about how to deal with those situations in the future is how we proceed in our business with our eyes wide open.

    Lois – on those MUST be done things, if they’re that horrible, is there someone else you can delegate them to, if they absolutely must be done and you really detest them? Or, is it something you just need to get into the practice of doing first and getting it done, and the more you do that the easier it will become. Just a few things to consider.

  5. Hi Debbie,

    My fear comes from fear of failure, and that fear seems to paralyze me and make me doubt whether I should take advantage of an opportunity. Then I wonder if it’s the opportunity that’s not right, or the fear of failure. You see where this is going!

    There’s more to it than that, obviously, but that’s where it starts.


  6. Hi Debbie,
    I agree that there is a great feeling when you get through something you were fearful to do, but knew it needed to be done.

    Sometimes we need to let go of the “good things” and hang on to the “best”. I tend to get sidetracked with a lot of good things sometimes when I really should focus on my priorities.

  7. Hi Debbie,

    Love this stuff. It’s exactly what I’ve been dealing with for years, and again more recently. I recognize Connie’s comments.
    My personal story is that after all these years, I’m looking at such poor employment opportunities and without an advanced education my future might be limited…unless I create something of my own. There is just such fear of the unknown, but I know that it maybe my last chance at a future I desire.
    Making a decision is probably my biggest challenge.

    thanks for your enthusiasm.

  8. Brian – thanks for sharing so openly. Just something to consider … making the decision is always the hardest part. Don’t worry if you don’t know how, make a decision to step into what you want and the how will all work out. Too often we wait to know the how before we leap, and as a result we never leap. Trust your inner knowing, do what you feel inspired to do, keep step forward in faith, and watch the path and the “how” appear.

    Good luck!

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