Following my annual community survey last month, I noticed a trend.
Over and over again, the 1,300+ of you who took time out of your day to tell me about yourselves and your businesses (thank you!) used a single word to describe what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. The theme was so pervasive, in fact, that I started to wonder if you’d all gone in with each other behind my back just to make sure I was paying attention.
And I am!
The word didn’t surprise me, and it won’t surprise you, either. I experience it regularly myself, and I’ve come to see it as a blessing and a curse in everything I want to accomplish.
What is it? Fear. Entrepreneurial fear, to be precise. Every entrepreneur is afraid, and given the opportunity, every entrepreneur wants to talk about it.
So let’s talk about it.
How We Talk About Fear
At least in this community of personal brand-building entrepreneurs, fear sounds like a lot of different things. From the survey, I noticed people using phrases like these to describe their hesitations:
- I don’t know what makes my personal brand unique
- What if people don’t want the ‘thing’ I’m really good at?
- I’m still trying to figure out who I want to serve
- Is it too late for me to start building an online business?
- I think the market is too crowded for me
- I’m not original enough
Sound familiar? I think everyone wonders at times if the next step is the right one, and we can work ourselves into all kinds of anxiety trying to figure out how to do it all perfectly. There was a point in my own business where I was so skeptical of live streaming. After all, it’s very LIVE, isn’t it? However, once I got myself into a rhythm with Periscope, I was a total believer.
But that’s exactly the point. The fears you share with me, and the ones I share with you, aren’t really about the details. The specifics don’t matter as much as we think they do. I may have been wary of live video streaming, and you may be nervous about webinar platforms, but in the end, what matters isn’t the things we’re afraid of. What matters is the mindset behind them, and the very real risk of trying to succeed from a place of fear.
If I may be so bold, I don’t care what you’re afraid of. I care that you’re always afraid.
New Words for Entrepreneurial Fear
Words have power, my friends. You already know this because you used such an important one over and over again in the survey. And just like you all got my attention with the fear theme, I now want to get your attention with some alternatives. Next time you’re tempted to say “I’m afraid” of something, try out these five phrases instead. And I promise, if you put the same energy behind them that you put into feeling fearful, you’ll see business success you never could’ve dreamed of.
Instead of “I’m scared,” say…
I’m inspired – See something new in the online space? See someone trying out a new platform, technique, or project that would be perfect for your business? You’re not afraid to give it a go—you’re inspired to put your own spin on it and try it yourself. In fact, you’re so inspired that you might just reach out to the person already doing it and tell them directly that they’ve convinced you it’s worth doing.
I’m in demand – See an opportunity to grow your audience, reach more clients, serve more people? Of course you do. Entrepreneurs see possibility everywhere, and guess what? You’re not afraid to pursue those opportunities—you’re seeing exactly where your expertise is needed in your community. That group of people is waiting for you to show up and help them, and ultimately, that’s what entrepreneurs do, day after day. You show up. You serve. You make it about them—and about HOW you can serve them with the solutions you create to solve the problems they’re experiencing.
I’m summoned – Oh, there’s a new social media platform that every other business owner is yapping about? There’s a new launch funnel that’s converting like mad? You’re not afraid that technology is moving too fast for your online business to keep up—you’re called to become a better entrepreneur today than you were yesterday.
Yes, the world of online business changes rapidly. The game itself changes faster than any of us can stay on top of, but that’s no excuse to sit out the whole round. If you ask me, that’s the fuel to rise to the occasion. You’ll need it on a regular basis to take your business to the next level. Over and over again.
I’m capable – Your launch failed, you lost money on an investment, you made a mistake that cost you big? You’re not afraid to try again—you’re newly capable of avoiding those missteps next time around. Trust me, I have failed far more times than I’ve succeeded in life, and if I’d been too afraid to try again after any of those failures, I never would’ve made my first three figures, let alone my first seven!!!
Capability is not a measure of how many times you’ve succeeded. It’s a measure of how often you’ve failed and kept going.
I’m ready – There’s a reason you’re afraid to be an entrepreneur, and it’s not because you’re not ready. It’s because you are. It’s because your idea matters to you (as it should!). It’s because you know you’re the right person, with the right idea, at the right time.
The world needs what you have to offer, and because my online community is all about building a business around your personal brand, I can’t say it enough: no one else can do the thing you want to do. If you don’t do it, it simply won’t get done. Ever. The potentially limitless audience that needs you will never get the solutions, the service, and the inspiration that they’re waiting for. You owe it to them to deliver.
You’re not afraid. You’re ready. There is no more entrepreneurial fear inside of you.
The Final Word on ‘Fear’
You may not ever completely banish fear from business. It’s the four-letter F-word that kept us alive in caveman times, so it’s instinctual, but now, more often than necessary, it just “protects” us from our own potential. We mistake every little fear as life-threatening. We give fear more power than it deserves by telling ourselves over and over that we’re afraid.
This week, I challenge you to change the tape that plays on loop in that brilliant entrepreneurial mind of yours.
Stop saying you’re afraid.
Start saying you’re inspired, in demand, summoned, capable, and ready.
And then, get out of your own way already! You’ve got places to be.