Do you ever have trouble falling asleep?
A few years after we moved into our home I was lying in bed, tossing and turning, trying to calm my mind. (My wife, Christy, is the opposite – she can fall asleep anytime, anywhere within 3 minutes).
Just as I started to nod off, something caught my eye from across the room…
There was a little light trickling in from our adjacent bathroom… it ran across the bed all the way to the window on the opposite side of the room.
And that small bit of light was enough to illuminate 2 beady little eyes staring at me from a pile of laundry atop the dresser.
My heart rate quickened. The hair on my arms stood on end.
We don’t have any pets. We didn’t leave a door or window open (or did we?!?). And some critter should most definitely NOT be staring at us while we sleep.
I jumped out of bed, startling my wife. I have T-Rex eyesight (can’t see anything unless it’s moving) so I put my glasses on and turned on the lamp. All the commotion caused the creature to leap from the pile of laundry and disappear into the floor vents of our bedroom. We heard it (it was just a field mouse) scurrying through the ventilation in the house, never to be seen again.
When I started my company in 2017, I experienced fear for the first time. It was a new kind of fear… fear that I couldn’t “make it happen” (get leads, turn them into customers, get a great result, over and over again).
I’m not accustomed to feeling fear. And I didn’t like it. I couldn’t explain it away. I remember experiencing more than one night of entrepreneurial tears and the best way I could manage to explain it was that I was afraid. This lasted from 1 month BC (Before Company) and 2 months AD (After Departing my old job).
I don’t know about you, but I find that fear is almost always completely irrational. It makes no sense – you can’t justify its existence.
Fear creeps in when you’re most vulnerable, when you least expect it, and starts to gnaw at you. More often than not, what you fear is merely a powerless field mouse, darn near the bottom of the food chain, watching you sleep…. beady little eyes and all…
Luckily, fear is not something I currently live with (at least not for long). I started a company and I landed a client. I charged them money. I got a result. I got more clients, I charged them money, got more results.
More recently, I was afraid to send my first email, to quote my first big project, to invest in a big training program, to write a book…
But as Mark Twain says:
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
If you’re facing fear in your life here’s how to overcome:
1 – Name it. Declare that you’re experiencing it. “I’m afraid”. OK, good. You’re normal.
2 – Examine the feeling and decide if it serves you. If the fear is useful and moves you towards your goals, feel it and use it. However, if it doesn’t serve a purpose…
3 – Increase the resolution. When we’re afraid of the unknown (the monster under our bed; the mouse watching you sleep; the fear of taking a chance on something) we build it up in our minds and blow it out of proportion. The fear of the unknown can be overwhelming. So make the unknown known. Put your glasses on. Turn on the light. Increase the resolution.
Fear is not a monster… it’s just a field mouse.
P.S. This is an excerpt from my podcast which you can find here.