You are a social entrepreneur (or aspiring), and you want to overcome your fears because you feel some of them are limiting you and your social business expansion? This article is for you!
I never really celebrated Halloween, but I want to take advantage of today being October 31st to talk about a scary topic.. Fear.
We all have faced fear in our lives. Somehow, it is often considered more acceptable in the private life, than the professional sphere. In most cultures, fear is indeed considered as a weakness. Because it is limiting us, and because it can be quite overwhelming.
As you sure know, I specialize in helping expats, around the world, start and grow their social business. Living abroad is already a sign of being able to take risks, of not letting your fears interfere (too much) with your dream life. Becoming an entrepreneur abroad is sometimes even less inhibiting – because far from the social pressure you grew up in. Still, starting a social business abroad means taking a big(ger?) risk, and with risk comes fears.
- Is my social business going to work?
- Are we going to be able to make enough money out of it?
- Is it such a good idea after all?
- Am I the right person to lead this social business?
- What if I am not good enough to be a social entrepreneur?
- What if I don’t have enough experience / knowledge to be successful?
- What if my social business FAILS?
Well, no panic!
I had fears too when I started Creators for Good. And I still have some. However, I learned to overcome them. I do not let my fears limit myself, or my social business expansion! The key is to make your fears a strengths, and not a weakness. And here is how you can do it too:
Step 1 : identify your fear
Fears can materialize in questions popping up in your head (like the ones listed above). It can sometime also be less obvious, weakening your sleep quality, or pushing you to procrastinate. Sometimes, fears will limit you without you noticing. Its the magic of subconscious. The first step is thus to clearly identify them!
Take a moment for yourself and write down : what are the things I fear now days?
Once you have clarify your fears, you need to identify them. Why does that scare you in particular? Does it relates to your self esteem? The confidence in your social business model itself? Or is it a fear of failure?
Step 2 : Put your fear into perspective
Fears are generated by our subconscious to protect us. That’s why you may be scared by height, frightened by dangerous people, afraid of eating something suspicious. In work life, fear are here to protect our (so precious) self esteem, and to prevent us from failing.
In that sense, you need to embrace your fears and use them to set yourself reasonable targets, take risks without putting yourself at risk.
For example, nowadays you fear your social business won’t be successful. It makes you doubt the original concept, it makes you doubt in your own capacity. Well, what would it mean to be “not successful”? And what would it mean to “be successful”?
Write down reasonable target and timeframe, print it out and pin it to your office wall. From today’s on, you will concentrate your energy on achieving this goal, E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y. If your fears come back knocking at your door, thank them away saying “give me until (bla) date, then we’ll talk”.
Step 3 : take action!
Now that you used your fear to define reasonable targets, it’s time to take action! Things won’t happen overnight, and they won’t happen by themselves. Well, actually they will, but only once you start the virtuous cycle.
Define small steps to reach your primary target. Divide the big problem into smaller challenges. For example, you want to get your first full-paying client in the next 3 months? Well, to get clients you need prospects, and to have prospects you need an audience/people paying attention to your company. What actions can you put in place in the coming 2 weeks so that people pay attention to your social business? Once they do, how can you make your ideal clients pay attention to your service/offer?
Taking action is key to move forward. It is also the best way to test and assess the viability of your target and time frame. You realize after a month that you wont make it on time? Fine. What alternatives can you create to buy more time? What can you change in your process to speed things up? Where can you be more efficient?
You see, it’s really the nature of a project that leads to failure. Its how good you will adapt to reality to make it work.
My conclusion is: don’t be scared of your fears. The biggest mistake you could do is ignoring them, because they will block you weather you are conscious of them or not. Instead, use your fears to take reasonable risks and gain efficiency!
Do you have fears that are blocking you? Don’t hesitate to write in the comments below, I will be happy to guide you into overcoming them ;)
Solène is the Chief Empowerment Officer of Creators for Good.
She developed a methodology that allows Global Citizen to start and grow their own impactful businesses from anywhere in the world – and with no need for investors or government support.