My #1 fear that held me back in business was my fear of being visible.
Or so I thought.
Turns out it wasn’t a stand-alone fear.
It was the result of an underlying fear of not feeling safe in the world. And this impacted SO many other things in my business without me even knowing it.
It’s no longer holding me back. So why do I write about it? Been there, done that, moving on, right?
Yes. But the reason I’m writing about it, is because I’ve noticed something in working with women entrepreneurs over the past couple of years:
SO many of them have that same underlying fear of not being safe in the world.
They’re not always consciously aware of it yet. But whatever fear holds them back, always comes up when they work with me 1:1.
Often their fear around safety is THE number one fear that keeps them holding back, playing small, hiding out and NOT shining their brightest light.
Maybe this deep-rooted fear is holding you back as well. That’s why I’m writing this article. If you have this fear too, I hope it gives you some insights on how to deal with it.
For me, feeling unsafe in the world is the #1 reason I found it so incredibly difficult to make myself visible, and why it came up every single time I took another step towards more visibility.
It’s one of the reasons I struggled with money.
And it’s THE main reason I ALWAYS used to hit the brakes when things took off.
Anything sound familiar to you?
Keep on reading to learn how this fear may affect your business as well – and how you can learn to deal with it so it no longer stops you.
So what does it mean to not feel safe in the world? And how does it feel?
It means that you feel that the world is not a safe place for you, and you deeply fear that being more visible for example can literally get you killed.
You don’t always consciously know that it feels life threatening – but it still feels that way: super stressful, extremely dangerous, and very, very, VERY uncomfortable.
It feels so shitty that the only thing you want is get away from it, not think about it, not feel it anymore, please, and to steer clear of whatever triggered this fear to begin with.
That’s what makes this fear so hard to deal with when you’re not aware of it yet: your survival instincts kick in, and you start to act from a fight or flight impulse on autopilot.
Neither behavior is very helpful and constructive when your life is not literally threatened.
You’re not being attacked by a lion or something like that, right? In that case you’d be glad your survival instincts took over so you could actually survive.
On top of that it can also make you feel like a loser:
How can you be THIS scared of writing your first blog? Everyone else just has sweaty palms and feel slightly nervous and uncomfortable – and then they press publish and all is well with the world again.
And there you are, breaking out in a MASSIVE sweat, your heart rate goes up, and you feel SO anxious that you don’t even write the first word to begin with.
(Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit – but only a bit 😉 )
How else can this fear show up in your business?
Everything having to do with visibility.
Speaking, writing, marketing, creating videos, etc. Or even being afraid to have a website at all, as was the case for me in the first two years of my business.
This makes it very difficult to market your business, of course. And to make a decent living and have impact as well. If you want to get clients and make a difference you have to be visible.
If you have it, or get more of it, you may become an easy target for thiefs, homejackers, carjackers, burglars, and con artists. Better play it safe and not make too much money.
This makes it more difficult to set a good price, raise your fees, ask for money (aka sales), or simply make more than a certain amount of money.
And as soon as it looks like you may start earning more than that, you start sabotaging yourself. (Usually subconsciously: you either spend it all, or stop marketing so your steady stream of clients dries up, for example).
Fear of public speaking.
Either from the stage or in a teleseminar or webinar.
Fear of success.
Because: success makes you more visible. And leads to more money. Etcetera. Read what I wrote under ‘money’ again.
Not being all in.
You want things, but you’re never committed for 100%. You set your goals – but you don’t go after them for 100%. You take action – but the moment you gain momentum you don’t run with it, but hit the brakes instead. You do your marketing – but you’re not playing full out. You don’t follow through enough.
Where does this fear of not being safe come from?
First of all, most women are taught to not trust everyone, to always keep an eye out for dangerous situations and/or people, and to never just assume that you’re safe.
If you don’t develop a fear around safety for other reasons (I’ll get to that in a minute), it’s hard to NOT pick up on the fears of the people around you:
Parents and teachers for example who – with very good intentions – warn you about so many things and are often so frightened for you, that sooner or later it rubs off on you. Don’t go into the park alone at night! Or ever! Or anywhere that is dark and secluded! Etc. Most women will recognize this to a certain degree.
(Also see this Buzzfeed article, for example: 29 things women avoid doing because we fear for our safety.
I bet you recognize a couple of things on this list)
Other things that can lead you to not feel safe in the world:
- Traumatic experiences as a child;
- Being bullied in school;
- Being criticized and judged all the time while growing up;
- Being neglected by one or both parents;
- Having a parent with an addiction or mental illness that made him/her an unstable and unreliable factor in your life.
So now what? How do you deal with this fear? And how do you stop it from holding you back?
Let me first say that it depends on the degree to which you suffer from it.
If you’ve experienced some kind of trauma in your life, for example, you may need professional therapy or some other form of healing first.
If you think you don’t need a therapist or healing, you can also work with a coach.
DO make sure they know what they’re talking about when it comes to dealing with and working through fears, though.
Tips like: take a deep breath and just do it already, do NOT work when your fears around safety are pretty new to you, are very deep rooted, or you’re only just starting to recognize or work through it.
(Or if you have some other deep-rooted fear that goes deeper than just feeling uncomfortable. NOT ALL COACHES CAN EFFECTIVELY HELP YOU WITH THIS.)
And here’s what you can do yourself:
Whenever you feel any kind of fear, be aware that you’re feeling scared. Notice how you feel. Acknowledge that you feel scared. This is a VERY important first step.
So many people act from fear (react from fear is actually a better way to put it – fears you’re not aware of make you reactive instead of proactive) without even knowing that fear is determining their behavior. They come up with reasons and excuses that are really not the issue. And when you don’t know what is REALLY causing or triggering your behavior, it’s not possible to change it and become a conscious creator.
#2: Face it.
Whenever you’re confronted with fear – especially when it makes you feel reaaalllly uncomfortable – your initial reaction is to move away from it. To ignore it or suppress it. This is not helpful. But it’s a very normal human response: our first instinct when something feels uncomfortable is to move away from it as fast as we can.
Plus: most people believe that fear gets bigger when you look it straight in the eyes. Which is not true. It actually gets smaller when you look at it.
#3: Question it.
Ask yourself: what is it I really fear? What’s the worst that can happen? Keep asking this question until you reach the point you no longer believe the answer you give is true.
For example (this is a real life example from myself):
I first started questioning my fear of being visible when I noticed the idea of setting up a website scared the freaking bejesus out of me, so I asked myself: what’s the worst that can happen?
Answer: that people know who I am and can find me!
Question: and if that happens, what’s the worst that can happen?
Answer: then they know where I live!
Question: And then what? What’s the worst that can happen?
Answer: that they come to my house and kill me!
Question: do you REALLY believe that?
The moment you reach a point where you no longer believe your fear may actually come true, you usually feel a sense of calm come over you.
And THEN you’ve reached the point where you can tell yourself to take a deep breath…and just go for it.
Don’t watch the news or read newspapers too often.
Regular news is incredibly fear- and negativity driven. Don’t overdo it and don’t overexpose yourself to it !!! This GREATLY enhances your feelings of unsafety.
Add positivity and positive news to your reading menu.
Two examples I LOVE myself:
The Intelligent Optimist. (I’m subscribed to their magazine AND their online newsletter.)
Relax & connect.
Take time to connect to yourself, your intuition, your inner quiet AND Source, The Divine, Spirit, God or Goddess – whatever you like to call it. You are NOT a single entity in a cold, dark, empty universe. You are connected to all there is, to life, the universe – again, whatever you like to call it. You CANNOT feel deeply connected to Source AND feel scared at the same time. You only experience fear when you don’t feel connected. Use whatever practice helps you feel and feed this connection.
Be present and aware in the current moment, in the NOW.
In this moment, everything is always OK.
“Everything is perfect Right Here, Right Now.
And Right Here Right Now is all there is.
Forget about the past. It does not exist, except in your memory.
Drop it. And stop worrying about how you’re going to get through tomorrow. Life is going on Right Here, Right Now – pay attention to that and all will be well.
Embrace the present moment with gratefulness and wonder, and you will turn it into whatever you have been waiting for.”
Neale Donald Walsch
P.S.: Your inner blocks & obstacles are the ONLY thing standing between you and whatever it is you most want to experience or achieve.
Clearing those blocks is all you have to do to live your DREAMS instead of your fears.
It’s not always easy to cut through your own crap or heal your own inner turmoil, though.
RISE gives you the tools, clearings, (healing) energy, mindset & support to transform and let go of your inner crap, so it no longer holds you back from whatever it is you TRULY want to do in your business & life.
You get access to the bonuses, this month’s topic & energy, and all previous materials within minutes after your purchase is completed.