Why you can’t build a life or a business based on fear

Why you can't build a life or business based on fear

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What are you afraid of?

Spiders?

Heights?

People laughing at you?

The people you love leaving you?

Failure?

I’m afraid of people not liking me.

After dinner with a dear friend and a phone call with a wise mentor today, I had a deep a-ha moment.

Parts of my life are still based in fear.

WHAT?

But Sarah, you seem like such a happy person.

But Sarah, you look like you have it all together.

Wait! What? Sarah, you’re trying to teach me how to be confident, clear and connected – shouldn’t you be all those things first?

Let me clarify.

I do feel confident, clear and connected, but I’m not Wonder Woman.

I’m a real person.

I get scared too.

It’s not that I’m unhappy or don’t like myself.

It’s not that I want someone else’s life, figure, pay cheque or purpose (though Angelina Jolie’s life looks pretty sweet from the outside!).

It’s this:

If I strip away all the labels, the lists, the achievements and the things in my life; there’s still a part of me that lives in a place of fear.

For example, 10 years ago my fear was that I would never be in a loving relationship again. I was fairly freshly divorced and deeply unhappy. I was scared (and completely convinced) that no man would ever love me again.

I wanted to feel worthwhile.

Valued.

Validated.

I wanted to love and be loved in return.

I was desperate.

And everyone could sense that.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m in a great relationship with a caring, thoughtful and fun man.

I’ve proven that my fear had no basis in reality.

But it could’ve – if I’d let it.

If you fight with fear and you let it win you’ll get exactly what you expect – a negative outcome.

When I look back now at all the time I spent worrying that I’d never meet someone, I realise what a waste that was.

Lately, I’ve started to notice fear creeping back into my life. This time, it’s around my business.

I want to help people feel worthwhile.

Valued.

Validated.

And yes, I still want to love and be loved in return.

Fear has been telling me “You can’t do it”.

But how does fear even know that I can’t? I’ve never done this before, so there’s no actual proof that I’ll ‘fail’.

So what do I do about it?

I’ve got two choices.

I can either ignore it and build my business on a foundation of fear (not an option).

Or I can take a deep breath and tell my fear to take a hike.

If I step out of the feelings that fear brings up and I put my sensible hat on, I can see how much I’ll lose if I let fear win.

I’ll miss out on making new friends and sharing laughs, tears and truths with beautiful people like you.

I won’t get to know you and your stories, experience and adventures.

I won’t get to help you, make a difference in your day or remind you how amazing you are.

Most of all I’ll lose a lot of precious time. Time that could be spent laughing, loving, helping and connecting.

There’s too much to lose if I choose fear.

So today. Now. In this moment; I will thank my fear. I will acknowledge that it was trying to help me by keeping me small and keeping me safe.

I will thank fear, and I will let it go.

Instead, I choose love.

Instead, I choose you.

What are you afraid of

 
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22 Comments on Why you can’t build a life or a business based on fear

  1. Emma
    20/11/2014 at 7:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Great post!! I love how you say you are confident etc but still human – that is something I (and probably everyone) can relate to.
    My biggest fear is ‘damaging/failing’ my children in some way. I know what an impact childhood has on us so I fear stuffing up!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      23/11/2014 at 6:13 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Emma! Thanks for your kind words. I think there’s a lot of pressure these days to make it look like we’re all perfect and have it together all the time. I want to show that it’s ok to be real, human and ask for help.

      Thanks for being brave and sharing your fear – I think it’s something all parents can relate to. I think the most important thing for children is that they feel loved and encouraged and I think your children are lucky to have a mum who is kind, caring and setting such a great example.

      Reply
  2. Cori
    18/11/2014 at 1:33 pm (3 years ago)

    I’ve discovered that charging into “fear” and facing it, dealing with it, and forgiving myself for it, is where all the ‘Life’ in my life is. The power trapped in our fears and blocks contains our creativity, our passions and our love. It’s well worth the effort to move through and beyond our fears!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      23/11/2014 at 6:07 pm (3 years ago)

      So beautifully said Cori. I particularly love how you said that the “life in your life” comes from letting go and letting passion, love and creativity guide you. Thanks for sharing. xx

      Reply
  3. Lauren
    16/11/2014 at 6:58 pm (3 years ago)

    I always notice your bravery and honesty when you write Sarah. A thought provoking post…
    M fears are getting into trouble, doing the wrong thing, people being angry at me…I dont have a very thick skin 🙁

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      17/11/2014 at 1:07 pm (3 years ago)

      What a lovely comment Lauren, thank you so much. I try to always be real, open and honest and I’m so happy that comes across. I know a lot of people go through the same challenges, face the same struggles and come up against the same doubts, fears and negative thoughts so I try to share in the hope that people won’t feel alone. I figure if I can be brave and share maybe others who have been suffering alone will feel comfortable sharing too and maybe that will help them – they’ll have support and know they’re not alone. That’s really important to me.

      Thanks for being brave yourself and sharing your fears. I can relate to all of the things you’ve said. I think sometimes it’s hard to have a thick skin when you’re a really kind, caring and giving person (like we are). We want to do the best for everyone and it feels like we’ve let them down if we don’t. Having said that, we can’t be everything to everyone and not everyone will like us all the time (despite our best efforts!). I know they’re total clichés and it’s a sucky situation for those of us who just want to love the whole world and have it love us back. I’ve found setting boundaries, getting really clear on what’s expected (even with friends and family) and building in ‘me’ time has helped me reduce the ‘I failed’ factor when it comes to relationships and doing things for others. I still don’t have a very thick skin either but learning how to be honest about how I’m feeling and tell people in a constructive way if things aren’t right has helped me “thicken up” a bit. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Kate @rosehipsrhubarb
    16/11/2014 at 12:58 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m trying to see fear as a positive, i.e. that it means that I am about to do something that challenges me. The things that have frightened me and caused the most anxiety have usually turned out to be the things that have taught me the most and forced me to change and develop — in a good way.

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      16/11/2014 at 1:24 pm (3 years ago)

      Great point Kate. The scariest challenges are often the biggest life changers in the best possible ways! xx

      Reply
  5. Cheryl @ BusinessChic
    14/11/2014 at 3:03 pm (3 years ago)

    One of my favourite motivational quotes is “Feel the fear, do it anyway.”

    I figure that fear like all emotions is something that will keep coming up so I also like to try to harness the fear and use it as a push to start me- turning what could be negative energy into a start, if you will.

    In fact whenever I start feeling really fearful, I start thinking “what can I use this fear to power and make happen?”

    Can’t wait to see what you get up to!

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      16/11/2014 at 11:20 am (3 years ago)

      I love that quote too Cheryl! One of my other faves is “Start before you’re ready”. I think they go hand in hand because often starting new things can be really scary but if you can feel that fear and push through it, the rewards are pure magic! Gotta say a HUGE “go you!!” here too! Harnessing fear is an amazing tool for motivation, action and learning. It can take time to get there but boy, when you do, it’s an incredible place to be. Nice work. Keep kicking fear’s butt! xx

      Reply
  6. Jess - alittlepartoftheworld
    14/11/2014 at 1:50 pm (3 years ago)

    Good on your for telling fear to take a hike. I need to take a leaf out of your book. I fear failure… BIG TIME! Jx

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      16/11/2014 at 11:09 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Jess. I think Ellie hit the nail on the head in her comment. Fear is strongest when we really care about something. Does that ring true for you? Are the areas you’re really afraid to fail at the things you care about the most? Something I’ve found really helpful is to keep an email folder or a little notebook, similar to a gratitude journal, where I keep all the sweetness, love and appreciation that comes my way. That might be a nice email from a stranger saying my blog post was helpful, someone thanking me for my help, a kind/thoughtful email or comment from a friend, a sweet sms from my honey, a random compliment from a friend or stranger. All these things help remind us how loved, appreciated and special we are when the fear comes for a visit. And while I know some people say we shouldn’t get our confidence or validation from others, I think sometimes we need those reminders and the proof that other people love and appreciate us. It doesn’t mean we love ourselves any less, it just means we’ve got some fear busting tricks up our sleeve to deal with the down days.

      Reply
  7. Elyse - Notes on Bliss
    14/11/2014 at 10:08 am (3 years ago)

    Oh my gosh, such a touching post Sarah! I absolutely resonate with you and have done so much self-work to make sure I am not ‘jumping at shadows’ and seeing the world through a lens of fear. Beautiful words x

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      16/11/2014 at 10:57 am (3 years ago)

      Aww thanks Elyse. I so appreciate your lovely comments. Keep doing the amazing work you’re doing gorgeous. Believe in you, in what you’re doing and keep doing it from that deep place of love and contribution. You are awesome. xx

      Reply
  8. Monique@The Urban Mum
    14/11/2014 at 7:10 am (3 years ago)

    I am afraid of not measuring up – I set myself goals, go out there and kick some of them – then FREEZE….what if I can’t deliver what I promised, what if people don’t like what I am writing….arggh – really trying hard to push through this and just send my offering’s out into the universe without too much thought attached. That way I figure the negative gremlins don’t have time to take hold AND someone might actually say yes (to a magazine pitch, to a PR request…you name it the list is long). Great post thank you….

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      16/11/2014 at 10:54 am (3 years ago)

      I hear you Monique! I feel the same way. I think it’s like Ellie said in her comment – the fear is really strong with this part of life because we love it, we care about it, we’re invested in it and we REALLY to connect, contribute, help, share and be useful. We want to make a positive difference in the world.

      Your website is great, you write beautifully and your content is really interesting. Keep believing in you and what you do, because what you’re doing is awesome. And when it all gets too much step away for an hour or a day. Take a break. Do something that has absolutely nothing to do with the never ending list. When you come back, before you get started again, remind yourself of all the things you’ve achieved so far, the yes’s you’ve had and the things that have gone incredibly right. As you’re remembering those things remember this: they have only happened because of your love, commitment, hard work and passion. Keep kicking ass Monique! xx

      Reply
  9. Ellie Hodges :: an emergent life
    14/11/2014 at 6:23 am (3 years ago)

    I believe that our fears can be our best indicator of what matters most to us. Its then a matter of working out how we heed these calls and expand our possibilities.

    Take that breath and tell it to take a hike. <3 that.

    Reply
  10. Katherine
    13/11/2014 at 2:32 am (3 years ago)

    There is definitely something to be said for actually acknowledging fear, identifying why it is showing up, and then taking the ‘big-ness’ out of it.

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      13/11/2014 at 6:33 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Katherine. You’re so right. xx

      Reply
  11. LP23
    12/11/2014 at 10:08 pm (3 years ago)

    You’re afraid of people not liking you? – (Me, too…)

    A wise ‘mentor’ of mine told me recently that ‘it’s none of your damned business what anyone else thinks of you!’ (…don’t know who to attribute the original quote to, but a fair few people live by this one! I’m going to TRY to, as well!)

    AND I’m going to call you ‘my guru, my Pikachu’ from now on…your words pack a mighty ‘kick’…I CHOOSE YOU! 😉

    Reply
    • Sarah Jensen
      13/11/2014 at 6:31 am (3 years ago)

      Ha ha ha! Thanks L. 🙂 I love that quote too! It’s a smart one to live by. And thanks for sharing how you feel. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my post and leave your thoughts.

      Reply

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