The fear of getting started is awful, it keeps us from our dreams and leaves us with the ever-haunting question: WHAT IF. Fear is a funny thing. It’s something we make up in our minds preventing us from moving forward and blocking us from our dreams. It’s a made up demon that looms over us every day and in every aspect of our lives.
We fear saying ‘I love you’ because we may not hear it back. We fear asking for that raise because we fear we’re not worthy or worse… that we may get fired because we were so bold as to even ask, how dare we?! We fear asking to eat lunch with the cool kids, because we’re afraid of being rejected and ridiculed. We fear taking that first step toward our dream because we don’t really think we can do it. We think it’s just not in the cards, not meant to be, it’s for them, not for us. It’s those special people that got fired and with nothing but an empty bank account and a dream suddenly made millions. It’s for those overnight YouTube sensations that went from nobodies to somebodies within 24 hours.
Here’s the thing, the only difference between them and you, me, us… is that they had the courage to keep going despite that fear. Everyone has fear living within them, no one is immune, it’s choosing to keep going and running with fear, hell even towards it, that makes the difference. Every human on this planet has the inherent right to be happy and live out their dreams and all you gotta do is beat the fear of getting started to become one of them. It begins with understanding it.
Fear is Actually Your Friend
Yup, really. Fear doesn’t know it’s getting in between you and your dreams. It’s like that one friend that is trying to do what’s best for you by telling you not to go to that party even though you’re destined to meet the love of your life there. Your friend doesn’t know that, all she knows is that there’s the danger of drunk frat boys and drugs and all the horrifying things she’s seen on the news. Alarm bells go off and all she wants to do is protect you.
Think of fear as that bestie. It learns from your experiences and then creates these boundaries so that you don’t get hurt again. Maybe when you were young you started selling homemade cupcakes because you just looooove baking, but some bully kid told you they tasted awful and smashed it on your head. Fear will take that experience and shield you from ever going through that humiliation and heartbreak again. Now as an adult, every time you get the idea of opening a bakery or starting a food blog, fear kicks in and you stop dead in your tracks. This is a limiting belief.
My own fear has kept me from doing so many things in my life, from isolating myself at lunch in middle school to waiting FOUR years to start my business. It was only trying to do the only thing it knows, to keep me safe. Fear is created to protect us from heartbreak and failure and you have to be grateful for that. You also have to say: ‘Hey fear! I totally get you wanna protect me, and I’m so so thankful, but I got this one ok?’ and then take fear by the hand and walk into the unknown… like buddies! Because guess what? Fear is also a very cool compass pointing you toward your dreams.
Here are my 3 fool-proof steps on how to beat your fear of getting started:
Step 1: Reframe Fear as Thrill
Did you know that fear manifests the same way as excitement does in our bodies? Your heart starts beating faster, maybe you get sweaty palms, you start overthinking… there is no difference at all. Fear manifests itself the same way as something thrilling does, its all a matter of perspective, of what mindset you are on. Just think of a rollercoaster ride, aren’t you scared and completley excited at the same time? Then, when it’s finally over and you’re safely on the ground again, the adrenaline slowly leaving your body, you feel happy, you feel like you’ve made it, hell you may even wanna go again. That my friends is how leaping into your dreams can be.
Think about it, if you go into taking a risk or starting a business with the mindset of it being thrilling instead of scary… the whole experience would be so much better! If you want to launch a new fashion line, why not get super excited about it? If you start feeling afraid, just reframe it into a thrill, the symptoms on our bodies are the same anyways! The most successful people in the world don’t feel fear less than everyone else, they just don’t see fear as a stop sign. They feel it and keep going, because they are pulled towards the thrill of that dream life they are moving towards.
Step 2: 5 Seconds to Freedom
Here’s a cool exercise that has worked for me in the past. Once you are aware that fear just wants to keep you safely tucked in your comfort zone, you can create a plan of retaliation!
Pay attention to how many ideas pop into your head in a single day. Be aware of your initial thoughts… how many times do you say ‘nah’ or ‘maybe later’ or ‘that would be so cool, just not now’. Notice that the greatest hits are repetitive and oh so boring. This is because fears’ main job is to avoid trouble and risk. It takes fear no less than five seconds to persuade you to abandon that idea. Which is why every time you want to start on that beautiful dream of yours thoughts like “I just don’t have the resources”, “where would I even start?”, “I am not pretty enough”, “I don’t have the time”… start popping up.
Those initial 5 seconds are crucial! Its the time it takes for you to be swayed into the “can’t do it, won’t do it” dark side. So here’s what you should do, in those first 5 seconds, use the greatest power available to you, your imagination, and pump yourself up into the realm of THRILL (not fear), and answer this question for 5 seconds: “Wouldn’t it be great if…” That way once you have an idea instead of giving into the fear, you turn it into a thrill and have a handy dandy list of reasons to run with it. Because changing your reality for the better is more thrilling than staying in your comfort zone with your OCD roommate: fear.
Step 3: Be the MVP!
Me and my hubby, Keal, are always brainstorming ideas and dreamin’ up possible apps to make. He’s a developer and I design, so we’ve always wanted to create an app just for fun, as a side project for us (kinda like a home project haha). One day he introduced me to a concept in the software world called: the Minimum Viable Product (MVP!). Its actually a very cool concept that has the power to get rid of the fear of overwhelm when you start out on an idea or dream. It makes it easy to START, which is amazing all in itself. What it means is, you create the teeniest, tiniest possible entry product to your overall bigger idea. You put out a snack to see if people like what you’re cookin’, to get some feelers out there, get some feedback and most importantly, make that idea of yours REAL and out in the world!
For example… let’s say your dream is to have a multi-faceted business where you share your love of food with the world! You want to offer online courses on how to decorate Pinterest-worthy cookies, have an online shop where people can order your baked goods, open up a physical store on the busy streets of New York, maybe even get a book deal, you want it ALL. So much that its THRILLING (see point above). The problem is you have never really started and are still working your cubicle job daydreaming of being on Ellen talking about your new cook book. Welp, that’s where the MVP comes in! It cuts the overwhelm right in its tracks and makes you take an easy and actionable step toward your dream!
So what’s the minimum viable product of your future empire? There are three points it needs to hit:
- It provides enough initial value.
- It demonstrates enough future benefit to keep people interested and coming back.
- You can get feedback to guide you through each future step.
So what’s the MVP for your food empire? It could be as easy as starting an Instagram and showcasing your gorgeous creations along with tips to create them. Its the easiest first step you can take and by focusing on it, you tame the overwhelm of your larger dream by making it less scary. The second step could be launching a blog, your Insta followers will then migrate to read your tips there… and so on and so forth. Before you know it, you’ll be building your business one step at a time while keeping your fear in check.
Starting to pursue your dream doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it also doesn’t have to stay in the daydreaming phase. All you have to do is have the courage to keep going with your fear in tow. Remember, fear is just a friendly compass pointing you towards what you want most in life. Yes, it will still scream and yell at you when it senses danger, but remember that’s its job! Unless it’s a hungry bear eyeing you as a yummy steak, just say ‘Thanks fear, but no thanks’, pat it on the head and keep moving forward.
So tell me, what’s your number one fear that has been holding you back? Mine has always been the fear of being judged. I’m working on it tho 😉