You're putting off something you need to do right now. A difficult customer call, laying off a team member, responding to your boss' email or solving the mystery of the missing brownie. You know you should be doing anything but reading random articles on the Internet.
You're scared into activity paralysis.
Change is unsettling. More money means developing skills and less time for Magnum P.I. documentaries. Better health means more exercise and less soft serve. How many times have you heard "I really want to start a mattress testing business (or any other activity), but I don't have time or money?" That's fear talking. Fear handcuffs us more than time and money ever could. Consider fear's common-associated words -- scared, worried, nervous, unsettling etc. Hope you have a receipt for all that baggage.
We all battle fear and nerves. Think of a time when you beat fear. You got the deal, aced the presentation or cracked the Rubix cube. You did the following in each of those cases:
1) Prepared To Fight - Sometimes fear is inevitable. Your fear of failure is an inertia when you meet a potential customer. You troll them, their industry and challenges so that you're ready for the meeting. Inevitable fear is like a roller coaster. The anticipation is the stress. You wonder if going on the ride is appropriate after seeing the coaster in line and the finalist in the 2013 Justin Bieber look-alike contest manning the ride. Then, you hear the wheels crawl the steep incline. That anticipation to the drop is agonizingly slow. The drop is fast, exhilarating and over before you even get scared. We release tons of energy in anxiety attacks before important calls or meetings. Snap out of it. It's a conference call. No one's asking you to box Ivan Drago. Devote that energy to preparing. Not over-thinking.
2) Regretted not fighting sooner - You faced fear head on and realized it wasn't as bad as anticipated. Life is full of second chances. Even criminals get do-overs and you will too regardless of the color in those PDF pie charts. The experience will help you prepare for the next big Outlook conversation thread or negative email your inbox regurgitates. People give numerous chances to their vendors, employees and service providers. One mistake (within reason) isn't going to get you fired.
3) Broke it down - You realized your fear's origin and took steps to address it. People associate fear with weakness. All performers have nerves before they perform in their arena regardless of their preparation. Basketball players always do the same things before shooting free throws regardless of if they are shooting in front of 25,000 people or just their mom. This helps them focus on the process and not the outcome.
Use fear as a motivator to spring yourself into action. Get ready to fight 12 rounds with fear, build up your strengths and protect your weaknesses. If you care about something you'll be nervous if you fail or it goes badly.
Congratulations on being exactly like the rest of us.
About the Author:
Sajeel Qureshi is the VP of Operations at Computan, a digital marketing and software company. Computan serves as the digital department for numerous businesses throughout the globe ranging from start-ups to multinationals.
He has a degree in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and MBA from Eastern Illinois University. Sajeel plays tennis well enough to convince the untrained eye that he knows what he is doing and poor enough that the trained eye submits him to a drug test.