Friday, February 20, 2015

4 Action Steps For Getting Past Your Fears

A question I get asked a lot is "How do you move past your fears?"

You wouldn’t believe it from reading my online bio or chatting with me on a forum (or the fan page), but fear is something that I combat on a near daily basis. And I'll be the first to admit that while I'm pretty good at telling it to go away, there are days it simply wins.

Ever feel paralyzed by fear?

Fear has a way of pigeonholing you, doesn't it? It can keep you in bondage if you let it.

When I first started my business, I was fearless. But after a few personal hardships, that fear took hold of me so fierce that I couldn't function… even developed a bad case of social anxiety! It took awhile, but I eventually moved past that fear. And you can, too!

Follow these steps for moving past your own fear:

1. Acknowledge your fears

Can you put a name on your fear? The first step to moving past your fear is to understand what is and how it started. Ask yourself the following quesitons:
  • What is causing your fear?
  • How did it first start?
  • How does that fear make you feel?
  • Is the fear real or perceived?

2. Talk about your fears

Is it a fear you can easily overcome on your own or are you going to need the help of a mentor, a coach, a therapist, a trusted friend?

For me, I had to talk it out.

I turned to a trusted colleague and friend and she painstakingly listened to me talk about my fears—both the real and the perceived. The more I talked about my fears, the more I realized how silly I was being in some areas and how a little strategic planning could conquer the obstacles and stumbling blocks causing the fear in other areas.

3. Read your praise journal

If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to create a folder, or notebook, to archive all the positive comments people say about you.

If someone texts you, copy it down. If someone verbally praises you, write it down. If someone emails you, print it out. If someone sends you a handwritten letter, save it. Then place all these thoughts into a Praise Journal.

This was probably my biggest saving grace. I pulled out my notebook filled with emails and handwritten letters from my old newsletter subscribers, readers of the eMagazine, buyers of my e-books, past clients, and friends… and I read them. I read them from cover to cover and over and over. They reminded me how brave I used to be, how far I had come, and how far I could go again… if I'd only tell fear to take a hike!

4. Create an action plan

The only way to truly overcome fear, or to move past a reoccurring fear, is to face it head on. It's not enough to name and acknowledge it, you must take steps to removing that fear from your life.

You don't have to start out big to conquer your fear. Start small. The more you complete those baby steps, the easier it will be to say good-bye to that fear forever—or at the very least, manage it.

For me, I started small by learning how to code my own website in CSS style sheets. By allowing myself the time to learn how to create a new design, I allowed myself to get emotionally detached from the design and eventually from the content. It allowed me to change the face of my business, forever! As for the social anxiety, I started small by forcing myself to get outside of the house… first by having my husband accompanying me on all social functions and errands, then by taking a part-time job that required me to interact with strangers on a daily basis.

If fear is stopping you from achieving some goal in your life—whether personal or professional—I want to encourage you to put it to rest by acknowledging it, talking it out, looking at your positive qualities as they relate to that fear, and creating an action plan to move past it. And remember, fear won't disappear overnight… but with a little time, you'll be well on your way to living a life free from your fears.

© , All Rights Reserved.

* This article first appeared on The Dabbling Mum eMagazine.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Spring Clean Your Business To Reignite Your Passion

What do you do when the passion for your business dies? That's a question I needed an answer for on more than one occasion over the life of my business. It's not that I didn't like what I was doing, but I was burnt out and the more I forced myself to work the business, the more I found myself lacking the passion I once had for it.

Do you ever get that way?

Last year, after trying several different suggestions and tips from the experts to jumpstart my passion… none of which were working by the way, I resorted to a little old fashioned "spring cleaning". I put my business on hold, and I took inventory of where it stood and where I had hoped it would be, then got down on my knees and got a little dirty.

It may seem crazy, but the simple act of "cleaning house" can be both empowering and invigorating!

By taking a step back from actually working the business, and getting back to the roots of the business, I was able to see where I had lost my way and what I needed to do to find it again.

If you've lost your passion, or at the very least feel disconnected from your business, try these seven tips for getting a jumpstart on your own "spring cleaning" ritual:

1. Keep a journal.

In this journal, write down your day-to-day feelings when it comes to running your business and the tasks you completed for the day. Doing so can free the mind and give you an inside look into which aspects of your business drain you and which aspects of your business you enjoy.

2. Figure out your regular routine.

By taking the time to understand where your time goes, you can get a sense of where you are in your business and where you're not. It can also tell you where you waste time and where you are more productive with your time.

3. Declutter your workspace.

Sometimes, what stops your passion or creativity is nothing more than feeling claustrophobic in your surroundings. I can't tell you how many times, over the past ten years, decluttering my work area and then rearranging and reorganizing my workspace has lifted my spirits and breathed new life into my business.

4. Organize your files.

Whether it's your computer files or your paper trail, lightening the load can free the mind and allow you to start thinking outside the box again.

5. Check outgoing expenses.

Take time to look over your current business expenses, then do a little research to see where you can save money. I knew a gal who thought of quitting her business because it wasn't pulling its weight and bringing in the income she desired. Upon closer look, she realized her profit margin could improve by simply cutting out a few unnecessary expenses, lowering costs in other areas, and consolidating a few services.

6. Redesign your online presence.

In real life, when we get tired of an outfit, we donate the old and purchase a new one. When we tire of the way a room looks, we redecorate. When we've outgrown a home, we sell our old one and buy a new one. When we want to feel more beautiful, we get a new haircut. You can do the same thing for your home business by giving it a facelift... start by redesigning your business materials, website, blog, social networks, and even your company logo.

7. Retire what's not working.

When we put our heart and soul into our business, it's hard to let go of things once they've run their course. But holding onto them (whether it's a business model or a product line) can stifle our creativity and hurt our business' bottom line.

If you've lost your passion, or found yourself with a creative block that has lasted longer than you desire, I'd like to encourage you to do a little spring cleaning in your business, too. It just may be what the doctor ordered!

© , All Rights Reserved.

* This article first appeared on The Dabbling Mum eMagazine.

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