The #1 block to your success + how to free yourself from it

Can I share something with you? I live with some level of fear, most of the time.

And you know what else? Everyone does! Leaders ranging from Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, to Michael Jordan and Richard Branson have all talked about fear.

The difference between them and us, is their ability to accept fear (even dance with it) and do what they need to do anyway.

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Fear is not a bad thing in and of itself. It’s what stops you from getting on an elevator when you get a weird vibe from the person already on-board, even though you don’t know why.

But where fear stops being helpful is when it limits your dreams, the effort you make, or how engaged and committed you are to living your best life.

This article isn’t about getting rid of fear, but learning how to feel it (maybe even dance with it?) and move forward anyway.

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Here are 5 ways to overcome fear and build the business you came forth to build:

 1) Stop caring what other people think

We think we’re scared of failure, but very often its success we’re afraid of. What will your family, friends or spouse think if you become too successful or rich? You can’t change other people, but you do have the power to decide how you respond to them.

Sometimes just acknowledging that your family thinks all rich people are jerks is enough to release yourself of any hold it has over you. You know you’ll still be the same kind, caring person you’ve always been when you hit the big time. You’ll just be wearing better shoes!

2) Ask yourself what you really want

When I was in the process of deciding to close my management agency, Plum Creative, so I could focus on building my coaching business, I was scared witless.

Even though I knew in my heart-of-hearts I wanted to commit to my coaching business, full-time, I had a hard time admitting it, even to myself.

When pushed by my dear husband to “face the brutal facts,” I blurted out the huge obligation I felt to the talent I represented and admitted my fear about what they’d say or think of me if I closed the agency.

Once I was able to voice what I really wanted, and shine a light on my fear, I was able to release it and move forward.

3) Make a plan

Ask yourself, what would it take to make it happen? Let’s say you want to build your own creative business or freelance career. What do you need? Here are few pointers:

A unique positioning – Getting clear on what you do, who you do it for, how they benefit from working with you, and how they can work with you, are the basis of a successful business. Gain clarity here and the rest will follow.

Clients – Once you know who your ideal clients are, you need to figure out where to find them.

Here’s a tip: go for the low-hanging fruit first. Who have you already worked with? Who has expressed an interest in working with you, but never pulled the trigger? Who is in your network? You’ll be surprised how many prospects are hiding in plain sight.

Services – How can people work with you? What is financial and time investment they should expect? What man-power do you need to service them? Do you have an easy billing/payment method set up?

A way to connect with prospects – Once you’ve contacted your low hanging fruit, you’ll need to reach new prospects. Will you do this through networking, a newsletter, social media, giving free seminars?

Pick one or two ways that work for you and commit to taking action regularly. Being consistent in your efforts builds the know, like and trust factor. People buy from those they know, like, and trust.

4) Shore up your defenses

Just because you choose to face down your fears, doesn’t mean they’ll go away. As you make progress (and you will!), you’ll be required to step up more and play an even bigger game.

And guess what, that will bring a whole host of new fears. Live with the fear, see it for what it is (I like to think of mine as a well-meaning, but misguided elderly aunt) and do what you know you need to do.

Everything you need is within you. And if it’s not, you have the smarts to learn it or find the right resources.

5) Hold yourself accountable

My accountability group consists of four fabulous, creative, and accomplished women. We’ve all been doing what we do for years, are ambitious, and committed to reaching our goals.

That said, in any given session, there’s almost always one person who’s feeling a bit low about one set-back or another.  When I’ve been that person, the support and guidance I’ve received has always helped me get a renewed perspective and move forward.

You’re not super (wo)man, you’re just a person, so find the right people to support you in your dreams.

Are you ready to blast away your fears? What action will you take first? Please comment below!

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  1. Hi Justine,
    Thanks for this article. Even though you said all the things that I tell myself (and often others) regularly it’s still so challenging. In particular your lead in with what will others think when I hit the big time. This is actually something I’ve thought about a lot specifically regarding my demographic of 30-something LGBTQ+ communities. There are so many different reasons for people in my community to struggle with being successful but one of them is that making money is often equated to “working for the man” and that is what so many of us in our twenties fought against because “the man” is seen as the very thing that oppresses us. While it is true that our society is still set up for heterosexual, cisgender people (particularly men) to find the path to success this doesn’t mean that we have to continue to keep ourselves in the rut of resistance. We can change that system from within once we have a seat at the table (and then blow up that table!)
    This is all even more relevant because the freelance work I’m just starting is a consulting business that educates people on the vast spectrum of gender identity and how the gender binary is negatively impacting all of us.
    Thanks for rockin’ it!

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