by Tim Mercer, ForbesBooks author of “Bootstrapped Millionaire: Defying Business Opportunities”
Fear was a common emotion during the COVID-19 pandemic. But public confidence is making a comeback with vaccinations bringing hope of a return to normal.
For many, however, fear was an obstacle long before the virus. And when new opportunities arise in a changing economy, fear can prevent people from seizing opportunities that could help them succeed.
Fear, more than anything, is what keeps most of us from succeeding. It prevents us from looking for opportunities we are prepared for and it prevents us from preparing ourselves for opportunities. We can fear failure and success at the same time for several reasons.
However, once you know how to keep fear from overwhelming you, especially in these changing times, you will be ready to explore new opportunities that you can take advantage of as businesses keep turning.
Here are five points to understanding and overcoming fear in order to pursue opportunities like starting a business, buying a business, or taking a bold career move:
Accept that a little fear is useful.
The proverbial thorns in your flesh – fear and fear – keep you humble. This fear and fear that some experience will likely never go away entirely. And if it does, it may not be so good. Fear means you still care about it. It keeps you sharp and engaged.
Don’t run away from the tyrant.
Fear needs to be addressed directly from the start. Otherwise, it becomes a debilitating problem that distracts from your work and allows you to focus on solving problems. Fear is like a tyrant in school. You cannot run away from this bully forever because he will continue to molest you. It’s the same with fear. The harder you try to run away, the worse it gets. You have to attack it directly.
Know what fear stands for.
There’s a big acronym for fear: false evidence appears real. Fear of the unknown amounts to not knowing enough about the situation. This is why so many of us often worry about our future because it is ultimately completely unknown. If false evidence of what could happen seems real to us, it is virtually impossible to find a workable solution to the dilemma. Fear blocks our progress by tarnishing our judgment and leading us away from our path to greatness.
Fight fear with knowledge.
The most powerful weapon against fear is knowledge, says Mercer. Whether it’s an individual or a company, my finances, a new business concept, legal issues or something else, I try to do as much homework as possible until I feel more comfortable with the situation. Knowledge is trust, and while trust may not be the total absence of fear, it certainly helps you control it.
Don’t let material success consume you.
Obviously, when you achieve great success, you don’t want to lose what you worked so hard to win. And that desire to hold on to what you’ve built can become a crippling source of fear – a fear of loss – if you are not careful and start to appreciate the material things in your life.
You will have fears of one kind or another at times, but you will be better able to deal with fears when you face them.
Tim Mercer is the founder of IBOXG, a company that provides technology services and solutions to government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. He is also the ForbesBooks author of Bootstrapped Millionaire: Defying The Odds Of Business. Mercer was inspired to pursue a career in IT as a consultant after joining the U.S. Army as a telecommunications operator.