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How do you manage the fear of taking action?

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Anything related to matters of the mind

Damien Doumer

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Jul 12, 2020
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France
Hello friends,

I've always battled with the fear of taking action every time I had a good idea about anything. I sometimes conquer this fear, but most often it kind of paralyzes me. This is true especially for every entrepreneurial action I've ever taken in my humble career. I've always wondered how the greatest people in history conquer this fear.
I'm curious to know, how do you conquer your fears?
 
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Boogie

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The only way for me to conquer any fear is to think of what happens if I don't. Everything will stay the same or maybe even sink into chaos if you don't do something. Your position may deteriorate if you don't go for it. Then what?

Also, you'll never know. You'll always wonder what if you'd gone for it. Which is worse, taking some action or wondering about the business you bailed on and maybe even seeing someone else do the business you could have had?

Actually, it's best to just get to the point where you don't think about it at all and just do it.

An old sales quote from the famous sales trainer, Zig Ziglar, is "Timid salespeople have skinny kids." You could apply that to entrepreneurs as well.

Performing any endeavor means that you have to get out of your comfort zone. Applying for a job is the same thing. Talking in front of people. Giving people assignments to do. It all takes a little bit of strength. But every time you do something, it will become a little easier because you'll have some experience in having done something before. You get used to the unknown. You can become unstoppable in life you you learn to be comfortable with the unknown.

As long as you're doing something legal and set reasonable constraints on what you can spend on each project, what can you really lose? Every time you lose, you'll still at least gain the experience of learning a lesson.

It's funny. When we're kids, we just go for it. We play hard, do stupid things, sometimes even dangerous things. Then as we get older, we can so easily forget that nothing killed us and each new step gave us a new skill.
 

Andy Black

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Hello friends,

I've always battled with the fear of taking action every time I had a good idea about anything. I sometimes conquer this fear, but most often it kind of paralyzes me. This is true especially for every entrepreneurial action I've ever taken in my humble career. I've always wondered how the greatest people in history conquer this fear.
I'm curious to know, how do you conquer your fears?
I still don’t know whether to rename this thread “How to get out of your own way”:
 

harlansjobs

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Oct 31, 2018
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You put on your big boy pants and get out of your own way.
You have to stop the pity party.
Most people say they want to do things but they don't do it because they don't want to get out of their "comfort zones."

Go and read The Millionaire Fast Lane and Unscripted by forum founder JM Demarco.

He says you have to find your pain point.
Find what you are unhappy with. Will owning your own business make you happy?
Do you want to be rich or mediocre?
Or will you be exchanging one prison for another?

At night, after your job, go home and do something. Even if it fails you have tried it.
Most people are so afraid of fear they don't try.
They analyze everything to death. They read and read and never get to the do-it stage.

Do it. If you fail, it is a learning experience.
Each step brings you closer to success.
As the Stoics say - The Obstacle is the Way.

The books help you with mindset.

So you can either be a coulda shoulda woulda or do it.
 
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Damien Doumer

New Contributor
Jul 12, 2020
6
10
France
The only way for me to conquer any fear is to think of what happens if I don't. Everything will stay the same or maybe even sink into chaos if you don't do something. Your position may deteriorate if you don't go for it. Then what?

Also, you'll never know. You'll always wonder what if you'd gone for it. Which is worse, taking some action or wondering about the business you bailed on and maybe even seeing someone else do the business you could have had?

Actually, it's best to just get to the point where you don't think about it at all and just do it.

An old sales quote from the famous sales trainer, Zig Ziglar, is "Timid salespeople have skinny kids." You could apply that to entrepreneurs as well.

Performing any endeavor means that you have to get out of your comfort zone. Applying for a job is the same thing. Talking in front of people. Giving people assignments to do. It all takes a little bit of strength. But every time you do something, it will become a little easier because you'll have some experience in having done something before. You get used to the unknown. You can become unstoppable in life you you learn to be comfortable with the unknown.

As long as you're doing something legal and set reasonable constraints on what you can spend on each project, what can you really lose? Every time you lose, you'll still at least gain the experience of learning a lesson.

It's funny. When we're kids, we just go for it. We play hard, do stupid things, sometimes even dangerous things. Then as we get older, we can so easily forget that nothing killed us and each new step gave us a new skill.
"Timid salespeople have skinny kids." This quote deserves to be framed and hung on a wall lol. Thanks for your reply, really motivating.
 

Damien Doumer

New Contributor
Jul 12, 2020
6
10
France
It depends on what you fear may happen. What exactly are you afraid of in your specific situation?
I think @harlansjobs and @Andy Black said it all. Knowing "How to get out of your own way" is what I and any other person in my situation need. Thanks for your replies.
 
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FauxPas

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I think @harlansjobs and @Andy Black said it all. Knowing "How to get out of your own way" is what I and any other person in my situation need. Thanks for your replies.
If that's enough of a sufficient answer for you specifically, then great. But for some people though, just saying "Just know how to get out of your own way" just feels like not enough of a sufficient answer for them. They need something that goes way and much deeper than that for them to feel like their question has been answered to the fullest extent. But anyway since it's not the case for you in this case, then I will digress.
 
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Andy Black

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If that's enough of a sufficient answer for you specifically, then great. But for some people though, just saying "Just know how to get out of your own way" just feels like not enough of a sufficient answer for them. They need something that goes way and much deeper than that for them to feel like their question has been answered to the fullest extent. But anyway since it's not the case for you in this case, then I will digress.
Agreed. There's often two ways to get unstuck. Thanks for inspiring me to create this thread just now:
 

Andy Black

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WJK

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Hello friends,

I've always battled with the fear of taking action every time I had a good idea about anything. I sometimes conquer this fear, but most often it kind of paralyzes me. This is true especially for every entrepreneurial action I've ever taken in my humble career. I've always wondered how the greatest people in history conquer this fear.
I'm curious to know, how do you conquer your fears?
It sounds like you are taking too big of bites. The paralysis that you feel is probably because you feel overwhelmed. The way to take action is to take one very small step. Break it down to one tiny thing you can do AT THIS MOMENT that furthers your goal. (And it can mean just simply planning your next step.) Some of those small steps may seem almost laughable and insignificant in their scope. And then here the secret. When you finish that tiny step you ask yourself, "What can I do at THIS moment to further my goal?" Then take the next tiny step. When you do these little actions again and again, you create the confidence and momentum to pursue your goal. You will create a "golden" routine -- a habit -- that leads to great big successes one tiny step at a time.
 
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Gtp

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Jan 8, 2022
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Hello friends,

I've always battled with the fear of taking action every time I had a good idea about anything. I sometimes conquer this fear, but most often it kind of paralyzes me. This is true especially for every entrepreneurial action I've ever taken in my humble career. I've always wondered how the greatest people in history conquer this fear.
I'm curious to know, how do you conquer your fears?
I learned to stop asking "How" because there isn't a template to follow.

I think successful people, like Steve Jobs et al., did something unique which will never be done in the same way ever again.

It set me free to do more and stop asking how.

"William, great people find a way instead of insisting on knowing how."

Do what feels right at the moment, adjust with feedback.
 

Simon P

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Dec 17, 2021
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Sometimes you just have to be your own Seargant Major, picking yourself up by the scruff of your neck and booting yourself into action. Yes, it's gonna be uncomfortable, yes you'd much rather be doing something else (despite all the promising rewards), and yes it's probably gonna be a lonely and challenging exercise. But this is the success filter - everyone has this wall, and it's only those that are able to force themselves over who achieve the best things in this world.
 

Speed112

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Before you may conquer a foe, you must first identify it.

Every action is inherently entrepreneurial and speculative. When you act, you project your will into the future with the intention of change. The future is itself unknowable, so you're always acting under incomplete information, and the outcome is always uncertain.

To quote Mises: "...dealing with the uncertain conditions of the unknown future—that is, speculation—is inherent in every action..."

"As action necessarily is directed toward influencing a future state of affairs, even if sometimes only the immediate future of the next instant, it is affected by every incorrectly anticipated change in the data occurring in the period of time between its beginning and the end of the period for which it aimed to provide (period of provision). Thus the outcome of action is always uncertain. Action is always speculation."

This lack of certainty is oftentimes the source of one's fear and anxiety. Or simply a more general aversion.

And it's perfectly normal.

It's studied in behavioral psychology and game theory and, at this point, is mostly considered an inherent element of the human condition. What varies is its scope and magnitude.

Some people try to deal with this through more information. That's how you get wantrepreneurs endlessly jumping from one idea to the next, chugging courses and books and blog posts like beers at Oktoberfest. That never works, because the uncertainty is inherent to action itself, so it may never be dispelled.

You first have to accept this. You'll never know for sure the outcome of your actions. The only thing you can know is how to manage your risk and improve your odds.

So you have to believe in yourself.

There comes a point when you know enough and you've positioned yourself as best you can, and additional prepwork is no longer worthwhile and can even worsen your position. Sometimes the point may even be immediate. But when it arrives, you need to accept the uncertainty, believe you've done your best to make the most of the opportunity, and then act. There is no other way. Once you've initiated action in spite of everything. Once you've jumped and let go... the fear will dissipate and continuing the action will be much easier.

Because it's not about just one singular action.
Everything you're aiming for is the result of a process with a whole series of actions.

What helps is trying to identify what the first step of the process is. You're probably equating "take action" with the difficult and complex challenge of a process you're facing, as opposed to the first step taking you down that path. So break things down into approachable chunks and things will be much easier.

I struggle for example with phone calls. It's not that I lack confidence or I don't know what's going to happen. It sucks even when I intend to call some family members, which goes pretty much exactly the same every single time. Most likely the person I'd be calling would appreciate my call, and sometimes they might be busy and ask that I call later. It's no big deal. Yet I struggle.

...Because calling is a complex social process with many variables that I have to juggle and my brain would rather avoid it than try to figure it out. But it has no trouble figuring it out while in the middle of it.

So instead of thinking that "What I need to do is call X and discuss Y with them so that I may get Z result" I break that up, and instead focus on the immediate task: "What I need to do is pick up the phone and dial X's number."

The rest works itself out.

All the greats probably have small things they struggle with or worry about. Some probably have various rituals they employ to shift their mindstate or alter their personality. Take, for example Kobe Bryant's "Black Mamba" alter ego. That's a more direct and forceful (but highly effective) approach to dispelling uncertainty and getting in the zone. The more common approach, however, is likely through acceptance.

There are basically only two scientific schools of thought or methods about how you can take control of your mind, overcome fears, alter your personality, or sculpt yourself mentally like Schwarzenegger sculpts his body physically. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Internal Family Systems.

I suggest you look into them a bit if you're truly interested in learning how people effectively deal with this problem, as well as others.

@ChrisV has a lot of good content about this mind stuff, such as this thread: HOT! - MINDSET - How to Commit Murder (on your limiting belief system.)

Other things, as far as I'm aware, may be classified as pretty much bro-science and it's unlikely for them to have lasting or repeatable results.

Anyway: what works for me is narrowing my time window: "I have to do X and I have to do it now", asking "What's the worst that can happen?" - taking the first easy step - and being satisfied that I've done my best with the tools at my disposal. I can be concerned about my mistakes after I've made them, because...

Who knows? Maybe everything will go perfectly.
 
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Martin Z

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Hello friends,

I've always battled with the fear of taking action every time I had a good idea about anything. I sometimes conquer this fear, but most often it kind of paralyzes me. This is true especially for every entrepreneurial action I've ever taken in my humble career. I've always wondered how the greatest people in history conquer this fear.
I'm curious to know, how do you conquer your fears?
You have to make it a must for you, otherwise it's not gonna happen. Every successful person that I know has that "do it or die" mentality that pushes them forward.

Not to hurt your feelings man, but entrepreneurship is a skill in itself. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can be a successful entrepreneur.

Some people already have it inside and others don't. While you're in fear, waiting to take action; you're competing with sharks and guys/ladies that are taking action and hunting for fish every single damn day while you're there paralyzed because you're afraid of taking the next step.

It's just like motivation. Millions if not hundreds of millions of people are procrastinating everyday, waiting for the "perfect time" or they always have excuses for not winning every day. While < 1% of people are actually doing the work every day, and they're the ones who get to eventually achieve their dreams.
 
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Kung Fu Steve

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“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, most of which never happened” -Mark Twain.

In my humble opinion... there are 3 levels of leadership.

Why talk about leadership and fear? Because leadership doesn't mean people follow you, leadership means "I go first."

Level 1 is when you can control and manage your emotions in one second. To go from pissed off, frustrated, sad, bored, upset -- snap out of it -- and go be present with your kid. Go be present with your lover. Go be present with your clients.

If you can't do that, you can't do much of anything in life. The good part is most people can do that most of the time.

Level 2 is where the challenge comes in. When you can control your emotions in the face of your fears. You're scared but you push yourself to do it anyways. Scared to pick up the phone, you do it. Scared to say what needs to be said, you do it. You stumble, you fall, you feel awkward, it doesn't feel very good.

Everyone can control their emotions until it comes to that one area of their lives where you're afraid. For me, it was always money. I was always happy-go-lucky. Fighter. Dancer. Did pretty good with the ladies. But the second I looked at my bank account I would freak out. I would treat people harshly. I would treat myself harshly. I would say things to myself my worst enemy wouldn't say to me.

I remember I broke up with a girl because I said "I don't have the money to be in a relationship with you."

In the face of my greatest fears -- I didn't have enough (which actually meant *I* wasn't enough) -- I couldn't control my emotions, therefore I couldn't control my decisions.

For some people, the fear doesn't revolve around money. They believe money comes and goes, it's no big deal, you can always go get more, get a job, borrow it... but when they get into a relationship they start acting REALLY weird. Have you noticed this in people?

In the face of their greatest fear of being alone, not being loved, they are constantly worried about someone leaving them, thinking less of them, or worse... they can't control their emotions... therefore they can't control their decisions.

You can certainly fight your way through your fears but I'd like to suggest..

Level 3

This is where you turn fear into power. The thing you used to hate or be afraid of now triggers you to be your best.

You hate running. Running is stupid. It hurts your hips, knees, back, you can't even get down the street without breathing heavy... and then a day later, a week later, a month later, a year later -- you're running outside, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, you look up and say "I love this."

There's no more fear. There's no more stress.

Money used to be my scariest subject. Now I can't wait to talk about it. It's my favorite thing. Marketing, math, numbers, I freaking love it.

I now believe that if I lost it all tomorrow, I could make it back again. I could always get a job (even though I wouldn't have to). There's so much opportunity, it's insane. It's fun! I've truly turned my life around in this area because the thing that used to cause me so much pain is now my favorite thing!

Turning Fear into Power is the ultimate way to set yourself free.

So how?

Like these guys have said above, identify the belief. Change it. Go on a rant. And convince yourself of the truth. Answer the questions below if you dare.

1. What's an activity or action I'm fearful of?
2. What am I worried will happen?
3. If that DOES happen what would it mean?
4. Why is that bullshit?
5. What would be the opposite belief?
6. Why is that one actually true?
 

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