There is no entrepreneurship without trying new things, taking calculated risks, and putting your whole self forward. But many people are afraid of new things. Fear of new things doesn’t mean that someone isn’t ambitious or driven, and it doesn’t make someone weak. It’s actually an evolutionary development that keeps us alert to changes in our environment and circumstances.
Whether it’s you or someone you’re managing who is afraid to step into a new role and try something new, the fear of new things can be overcome by techniques of discovery and transparency. Fear of new things does not doom all entrepreneurial potential, but for the sake of progress, it is something that needs to be conquered step by step.
Examine the Fear
Examining your fear means looking into what makes you nervous about this new thing. Some people do this best by sitting down with a notepad and making a list of risks and outcomes. Other people find that it’s easier to talk about it with another person.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is this something you really want to or need to do?
- Is this a personal motivation for growth?
- Is it a professional necessity?
Either you will convince yourself that it’s worth doing, or you will talk yourself out of it and find another option.
What’s at risk? And what’s the best possible outcome?
Frequently, the fear of trying new things stems from the fear of failure. We don’t like other people to see us fail. However, we also know that it’s very unlikely that we’ll immediately master something on a first attempt.
Some individuals are afraid of letting themselves down as well. Many strong individuals expect themselves to be great at something right away. But rather than inspiring confidence, this pressure can make it difficult to begin the learning process. It doesn’t say anything about your capabilities when you don’t master something on your first attempt. Instead of approaching something out of the desire to master it, approach it with the mindset to learn it.
Even after you have examined your fear, you may still be undecided. This is not a problem. The main thing is that you know now where you stand, and you might have some inkling of what you want and why you want it.
Educate Yourself About It
Whether it’s a process, a whole new field, or an action, you can grow your confidence in your ability by demystifying what needs to be done. Read and watch videos about it. Learn about the process, and know in theory what you will need to troubleshoot. The more you know about it, the less scary it will seem, and the more confident you will feel in taking it on.
Build Confidence by Training
Training with another person gives you a safety net while trying out your new goal. Training can also help individuals to keep an open mind. The act of training acknowledges that trainees won’t be able to do it perfectly the first time. Otherwise they wouldn’t be training.
This might mean finding a mentor to help you motivate you to pursue your goal or someone else who is on a similar path as you. Watching someone with experience go through the process that you’re training for can greatly help to grow your confidence. This is called vicarious learning, and it is a great way to overcome fears, by offering exposure and a controlled environment in which to experiment.
Set a Reasonable Timeline
Procrastination amplifies fear. The longer your fear of the new thing hangs over your head without your taking action toward doing it, the less likely you are to complete it. Instead of letting the prospect of this new thing grow big and scary, make a plan of actionable steps toward accomplishing it. Just the act of organizing what you need to do will make it easier to begin.
Then, set a reasonable timeline for completing different parts of your training or new goal. The timeline will help you to start working toward it in manageable pieces. And it will keep you from putting it off longer and longer until it seems too big to accomplish.
Take an Optimistic Approach
Individuals who take on an optimistic attitude are more likely to empower themselves to succeed than those who take on a negative attitude toward their endeavors. Rather than focusing on your stress and inexperience, think about the positive attributes that you bring toward your goal. Do you have any skills, traits, and previous experiences that contribute to what you need to do? If so, draw confidence from the resources you do have. This will help you to stay strong as you build new resources and learn new skills.
Practice More Than Twice
It’s inevitable that you will fail when you try new things. The key is to examine your mistakes without feelings of negativity, and try again. Keep tweaking your process, learning, and persevering until you have some success.
Use Your Own Learning Style
If you’re trying to learn something new and it’s just not clicking with you, it’s good to reexamine your methods. Forcing yourself to learn too quickly or in a difficult way will only cause you more anxiety and hold back your process. Instead find the best way to work toward your goal that suits your own thinking and learning style.
If you’re someone who thrives socially and likes to learn through conversation, it might benefit you to take a class or find a group learning experience to talk through the process. If you’re more of a solitary person, and you’re finding it difficult to concentrate in a group setting, then you might find it easier to learn at home from studying.
Don’t be ashamed to switch modes and find the learning process that works best for you.
Plan a Way to Celebrate Your Outcome
It’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of completing your goals. You might feel the urge to immediately rush into a bigger goal, and by all means, let this momentum and excitement carry you. But it’s also a good idea to take some time to acknowledge your outcomes. Sometimes these will be full successes, and other times they might be partial successes. Even the experience of rejection should be acknowledged so that the ghosts of negative experiences don’t come to possess your future goals.
Carve out some time, or plan a celebration for moments when you have tried something risky and conquered your fears. This celebration will help you build toward more new and rewarding experiences.
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