A realistic resolution for small business owners: Overcoming fear

David Chaumette
Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

Most of us have many new year’s resolutions, but really small business owners need just one: overcoming fear. Don’t let fear paralyze you.

The biggest topic that most of us don’t want to talk about it is how do you overcome fear in your business and how, if you don’t, it will overflow into your life. Two many of us allow fear to overwhelm us, to prevent us from acting. So many times I am in meetings with clients and I say to them, “why don’t we try this?” And they say, “Well, I can’t do that because of this, this, and this,” or “You can’t do that because this might happen.”

Stop. Just stop. Stop letting fear drive your business. It is the one biggest problem that we small business owners face, and we all need to stop today. But how do you do that?

  1. Realize that fear makes projects seem insurmountable.

And then so so what? Ok, not really, but, what’s the answer? Take things on one step at a time. Always be asking yourself: What is the next step, the very next step, even if it’s a small step that you can take towards moving forward and closer to your goals and how soon can you get that accomplished?

Always be asking yourself: What is the next step, the very next step, even if it’s a small step that you can take towards moving forward and closer to your goals and how soon can you get that accomplished?

Put it on your calendar. If you take that success and build on it every day, great things will happen, slowly at first, but it will be noticeable. In the very near future, you’ll find that you’ve accomplished a great many things and have moved the football significantly down the field towards accomplishing these goals.

2. Make your fear your friend.

Even the most bold of us are suffering from these sorts of issues. I remember when I was still practicing law, I worked with a lawyer who was a very well known guy. His father was on some of the textbooks that we used in law school. One day as we were headed to court, he said to me the day that he didn’t have butterflies in his stomach before went to court, he would know that it was time for him to stop practicing. Fear is a normal part of what you’re facing, so instead lean into it. Use it to empower yourself, laugh at it, reward yourself when you have made it through it, you know that you have it in you.

If you try to run from fear, unfortunately it will catch you. Instead, recognize that the fear is part of life and lean into it. You know that you can do it.

3. Be concrete in both what you can achieve and in your expectations.

So many of us have grandiose plans. You see it when people are talking about New Year’s Resolutions, like weight loss at the end of the year or the beginning of the year, I’m going to lose weight. Don’t be that guy (or gal).

Those statements mean nothing. Be concrete: I’m going to lose five pounds in a month. I’m going to lose two pounds in a week. Whatever it is, whatever your goal is, be concrete and measurable in those goals. Remember the idea of the S.M.A.R.T. goals, particularly the M part. Remember the M is measurable. Make sure that you know what you can achieve and that will help you with the positive energy that you’ll get from having reached that goal.

As part of that approach, remember that every encounter (including every meeting and phone call) that you have, you want to leave those encounters knowing the answer to this question: who will do what by when?

When leaving a meeting, be sure you know the answer to “Who will do what by when?”

This is so important, and yet, super sophisticated business people do not follow this simple rule. Failing to do that hampers your productivity and effectiveness. And it makes problems seem bigger and more insurmountable than they actually are. In short, it will help you move things forward.

On a related point, never leave a meeting or encounter without setting the next interaction — whether that’s a meeting or email or other follow up.If you do that, everybody’s going to show up at the next meeting. If you don’t do that, once the next meeting happens and not everybody can attend or it gets canceled for whatever reason, you’re on a slippery slope. In such a situation you run a real significant risk that you’re going to lose significant momentum, significant time. This small failure to plan can cost significant energy towards accomplishing your goals.

These are some very simple tips about overcoming fear in your business and what you will find is if you do it in your business, it’ll help you in your personal life.

David Chaumette

Written by

Partner to businesses, large and small, by day; hyperattentive father and sports enthusiast by night.

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