Fear is a natural response to danger. These responses can keep you alive. Fear responses and creative problem-solving likely saved all the ancestors that made it possible for you to be here.
In business, fear can be a force that can destroy everything – often before it even begins. How many ideas and dreams are destroyed by real or even imagined fears?
Fear within startup founders, owners, and employees hold businesses back, preventing them from seeing opportunities, retaining talent, or making critical and strategic decisions. It’s only natural to feel fear in certain situations, but when fear responses are persistent and disabling, they can end in a “Permanently Closed” notice to your customers.
How you deal with fear will determine how much control you have over your business. In this blog post, we explore the four common fear responses that most people experience when fearing something new and some tips for preventing them in business.
Recognizing Fear Responses In Business
The first step towards overcoming fear is recognizing when it is taking control of your business.
When fear responses are persistent and holding you back from success, this can signal that you need to take action to control it. You can do this by determining your fear responses in your business and learning how to stop them.
The most common fear responses that businesses experience are jumping to conclusions, escaping, freezing, and holding back.
Jumping to Conclusions aka Fight
Some people try to solve the problem of fear by jumping to conclusions.
This means coming to a negative conclusion about something, such as someone else’s intentions.
Jumping to conclusions can take many forms. For example, you might assume that a customer will be angry and write them off before they’ve even had a chance to respond.
Or you might assume you’ll fail at a project before you even start working on it.
Jumping to conclusions is also caused by a lack of information.
For example, you might assume that a customer is angry even though they haven’t expressed any anger.
You might assume that a customer is mad because you think they’re annoyed with your company, but they might actually be upset with something else entirely.
Escaping aka Flight
Some people deal with fear by trying to escape from whatever is causing them anxiety.
This can take many forms, such as refusing to take on a challenge, procrastinating, or quitting a project early.
Escaping is a typical response to feeling overwhelmed.
In many cases, it’s related to feeling like you don’t have the skills you need to be successful at a project. This could be anything from feeling unprepared for a big presentation to not knowing how to use a new piece of software.
Escaping can hurt your business in a few ways. First, you might be driving away potential clients or failing to complete projects assigned to you. Second, you might be hurting your reputation by seeming like you have a lack of commitment.
Freezing aka Freeze
Freezing is the inability to move when you’re feeling fear. You might be paralyzed by fear, unable to make decisions or act.
This is a widespread fear response in business. It can be triggered by many things, such as taking a risk, presenting in public, orsellselling.
Some people freeze when they feel like they don’t have all the information they need to decide.
Others freeze when they are worried about making the wrong decision.
Freezing can hurt your business in many ways, but the biggest is preventing you from taking action. When you’re frozen by fear, you cannot take the steps you need to grow your business.
Holding Back aka Fawn
Some people freeze when they’re afraid, but others hold back.
They may be unwilling to take on new projects or try new things. They may be holding back on the effort they put into their work.
Holding back can show up in many different ways. Some people may be unwilling to learn new skills because they fear failure.
Others may refuse to take on new projects that would put them out of their comfort zone.
Holding back can hurt your business in a few different ways. First, you might miss out on opportunities to take your business to the next level. Secondly, you risk putting a poor reputation on yourself by refusing to take on specific projects, especially if the reason for holding back is an irrational fear.
How To Prevent Them!
The best way to deal with these common business fear responses is to prevent them from taking hold in the first place.
Fear in business is often triggered by a lack of control. When we feel like we don’t have control over a situation, the brain will respond with the common fear responses above.
There are many ways to combat fear and prevent it from taking hold. Some top strategies include staying in control, being prepared, managing emotions, and challenging your thinking.
Stay In Control
One of the best ways to combat fear is to stay in control of the situation.
This means making sure that you have everything you need to be successful and prepared for challenges. It’s important to do your research, plan out your challenges, and take the time to learn new skills.
When you feel like you have the information and skills you need to be successful, it’s easier to stay in control of your emotions.
You are less likely to fear failure or get anxious about challenges. This will also make you seem more confident to others, which is a trait that customers and clients like to see in business leaders.
Another way to prepare for challenges is by preparing for failure.
It’s an unfortunate truth that almost every successful person has failed at some point in their career. This means that almost everyone has experienced a period where they were afraid of failing.
If you’re prepared for failure, it’s much easier to get past it. This means that when you fail, you’re prepared to use that as a learning opportunity and keep moving forward toward success.
This also means that when you succeed, it’s a lot easier to stay confident and calm.
My Do Stuff And Get Stuff Done – A Guide For Women Entrepreneurs can help you be prepared and manage emotions. The Do Stuff Process outlined inside helps eliminate not only these fear responses but reduce failure. It includes a section that has troubleshooting and tips for when fear has set in while you are trying to move your business ahead.
When you’re feeling afraid, it’s essential to manage your emotions.
This means taking time to step back, likely an overnight sleep to remove the flooded chemicals from your body, and on a new day think about the situation again – non-emotionally.
This will help you to determine why you’re feeling afraid and take steps to manage that emotion when you approach it again.
For example, if you’re afraid of failing, remind yourself that failing is a normal part of success.
If you’re afraid of making mistakes, remind yourself that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and improve.
This 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise is well-known and can be used by people of all ages when you need to ground yourself if your emotions are out of control.
Challenge Your Thinking
The last way to combat fear and prevent it from taking hold is to challenge your thinking.
This means you need to look at your fears and break them down into smaller pieces.
Then, you need to ask yourself questions about those fears to determine if they’re rational or not.
Once you’ve done this, you can take action to control your fear.
It’s essential to do this as soon as you start feeling fear. Studies have shown that you have 75 seconds to stop a brain flood. The longer you wait to deal with your fear, the more there will be and the harder it will be, and the longer it will take to overcome.
Fear is a natural response to danger keeping your brain and body alive. When fear is allowed in the business, it can be a devastating force.
The first step towards overcoming fear is recognizing when it is taking control of your business. You can determine when you are experiencing the most common fear responses in business.
Be aware of these fear responses and identify when they are happening in your business quickly.
The second step toward overcoming fear is applying the prevention techniques covered above as soon as you’ve identified the ways fear is taking over your business.
Have you seen these fear responses in your occupation lately? These are opportunities for empathy, understanding, and growth.
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