Guest post by Beth Buelow, The Introvert Entrepreneur.
Last week, I attended an outstanding event called “Grow Your Business” Expo. The day was full of exhibitors and presenters, all focused on providing resources and strategies to entrepreneurs. A common theme of many of the speakers? Be fearless!
How can I succeed in business? Be fearless! What do I do when doubts creep in? Be fearless! How do I get over my fears? Be fearless!
Every time someone said, “Be fearless,” I cringed inside.
More than 12 years ago, I read Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway! by Susan Jeffers. She speaks of the role fear plays in our lives, and how we can move through it rather than trying to get rid of it.
Her book taught me fear has a purpose and can be managed. It was my first formal introduction to empowering language, about how to move our words from “pain to power,” as Jeffers calls it. And I picked up the handy mantra I used daily: Whatever happens, I can handle it.
So why would I bristle when told to “be fearless?” Because between Jeffers’ book and my coaching training, I’ve spent years making friends with my fears and helping others do the same. I see the phrase “I’m afraid…” as opening a treasure chest of rich information.
If we’re afraid, it means we care. We’re invested. We’re self-aware. Something in our minds is telling us that there’s an opportunity to reflect, examine, grow and change. Tweet this tidbit!
I heard a few years ago that two things are at the root of any feeling: love or fear. That means those two emotions drive everything we do. Sometimes fear is a powerful motivator, much more potent than love: Make the calls or lose your job. Lose the weight or die of a heart attack. Don’t help that person who just fell because you might get sued.
Sometimes the fear-based motivation is obvious. Other times, it’s stealth. You can usually spot it by how you answer the question “Why am I doing this?” If your answer starts with “Because I don’t want…” then you are most likely coming from fear.
I love the Old English proverb that says, “Fear knocked on the door. Love answered, and no one was there.”
It’s a magical image for me. It acknowledges that fear knocks. All the time. Everyday. And then it shows me that by answering with love, the fear will fade (at least until it knocks again!).
So telling me to “be fearless” is not recognizing and honoring my flawed humanity. It’s not challenging me to shift my thinking, to come from a place of love and to respond to “Why?” with “Because I want…” It’s not giving me space to feel what I feel.
Those who say “be fearless!” have only the best intentions. They don’t mean to be flippant or to dishonor my feelings. And for some who hear them, those words inspire them to step up and take action. Or the phrase reminds them that they can let fear get in the way, or they can kick it to the curb.
For me, though, it’s like a pep rally. I feel a momentary boost of energy and courage. But then, the fear knocks again, this time louder. And I’m no more equipped to deal with it than I was the first time around.
While “Be fearless” was a common Expo theme, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” is a common entrepreneurial theme for me.
Rather than try to be fearless, I prefer to lean into the fear (just a little, not enough to fall down), acknowledge it and then challenge it. Tweet this tidbit! I find a way to either change the situation or change my attitude about the situation by tapping into the part of me that’s motivated by love. It’s not always easy or obvious, but it’s definitely worth it.
Guest blogger Beth Buelow is Founder and CEO of The Introvert Entrepreneur. As a professional speaker, certified coach and writer, Beth is on a mission to empower introverts to understand, own and leverage their natural strengths. Learn about her services, read her blog and listen to her podcast at www.TheIntrovertEntrepreneur.com. Success is an inside job!
Power Chicks Chime In: Does “Be fearless!” inspire or irritate you? What motivates you when fear comes knocking? How do you move through fears?
Like what you read? Don't miss a post by subscribing to the Power Chicks blog today!