Fear and Worry Kill Self Confidence

Today is Monday, so this post is on Self Confidence.

On Friday, this quote, courtesy of Chris Widener, popped up in my in box.  "What worries you, masters you," Haddon W. Robinson.

In my new book, Straight Talk for Success, I mention an article written by Jim Rohn entitled "Facing the Enemy Within."  Worry is one of the enemies Mr. Rohn suggests that we must all face and overcome.  Here’s what he has to say about worry.

"The fourth enemy within is worry. We've all got to worry some. Just don't let it conquer you. Instead, let it alarm you. Worry can be useful. If you step off the curb in New York City and a taxi is coming, you've got to worry. But you can't let worry loose like a mad dog that drives you into a small corner. Here's what you've got to do with your worries: drive them into a small corner. Whatever is out to get you, you've got to get it. Whatever is pushing on you, you've got to push back."

To me, worry and fear are both enemies of self confidence.  They also are both normal, human reactions to difficult situations.  Indecision and inactivity feed fear and worry.  Action starves them.

My common sense prescription for dealing with fear and worry is simple.  First, you have to identify those things you fear or that cause you to worry.  Second, you need to admit to yourself that you are fearful and/or worried.  Third, you need to accept the fact that certain situation make you fearful or worried.  Fourth, and most important, you must confront your fears and worries and take action to overcome them.  This is what Mr. Rohm means when he says to drive your worries "into a small corner."

In April 1988, I left my very secure job with a Fortune 50 company to start my coaching, consulting and speaking business.  Was I fearful?  Was I worried?  You bet I was!

I had thought and talked about being in business for myself for many years, yet I never had taken the leap.  I hadn’t taken the leap because I had never worked through the four steps for dealing with fear and worry. 

For many years, I had not identified the fact that I was truly afraid of and worried about failing in a business venture.  Once I identified this fear and worry, it took me a long time to admit it to myself.  I always thought of myself as being self confident and a bit of risk taker.  I used the fact that I left a well paying job at the age of 30 to return to school full time.  However, other than incurring some debt, there was very little risk in choosing to go to graduate school at Harvard.  It was really a pretty safe thing to do.  Starting a business, with a very small safety net was risky – and it scared and worried me.

Once I admitted that I was afraid and worried, I was able to accept this fear and worry.  This acceptance was a good thing, because I now had to choose.  Do I choose to live with this fear and worry that was stopping me from doing something I wanted to do?  Or, do I choose to not let this fear and worry master me?

I chose the latter.  I took action.  I quit my job and started my business.  They say that "ignorance is bliss."  In my case this is a true statement.  In 1988, I had no idea of what it takes to succeed in business on my own.  In fact, I often joke that if I knew then, what I know now, I might never have done it. 

But that would have meant that I would have let my fear and worry triumph.  I didn’t.  I took action.  And then worked liked hell to make sure that I would succeed.  I drove my fears and worries "into a small corner" by hard work.  

And, I proved to myself that action, does indeed, help you overcome fear and worry.
That’s the common sense point for today.  Whenever you’re feeling worried or afraid, follow these four steps:

  1. Identify what scares or worries you.
  2. Admit to yourself that you are afraid or worried.
  3. Accept that you are afraid or worried.
  4. Take action to overcome this fear or worry.

These steps have worked for me, and they’ll work for you.  After all, they’re only common sense.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense.  I am not posting regularly on my www.CommonSenseGuy.com blog right now, as I want to concentrate on this one.  It is still up though.  Please don’t cancel your RSS feed as I will be posting there occasionally.  And, you can still get a free ebook version of my book 4 Secrets of High Performing Organizations by visiting www.CommonSenseGuy.com

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Bud

PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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