Is being risk averse preventing your growth?

Being an entrepreneur means taking risks. Maybe they don’t seem like risks. They are normal, every day business activities. Creating content, practicing sales, bringing myself to the table.

Despite the literal low risk of these activities, my system gets triggered as if they were a real threat. My mind races. A spiral of negative self doubts follows. This is old stuff from my past creeping in and setting off alarm bells.  I know this. I have the cognitive understanding. I have the self awareness. But it still sucks. Avoiding risks prevents my growth, so I have figured out a way to mange that.

Self awareness is the first step to overcoming the deluge of fear based reactions. It’s what I do with that awareness that allows me to not to be a victim of my automatic reactions.

So, what do I do?

First, I notice what’s happening. Example: I created some new text for the website and a few hours later started second guessing my choice. OK, what’s the big deal?

Second, I compartmentalize the experiences. Mind. Body. Emotions. Behavior. My mind says “big mistake Jess. No one is going to like you.”  My body wasn’t reacting to this particular trigger, but in other situations (calling a client, for example) my heart may race, or my neck may turn red. The triggered emotion is clearly fear. My behavior is to resist engaging in change, to avoid making progress, to minimize all risk.

Once I compartmentalize the experiences, I am able to separate myself from them and move on. They are not my identity. They do not have to determine my responses.

Third, I engage a different part of my brain to redirect my experience. To respond rather than react. Do I want to buy into the idea that no one will like me? Nope. Do I want to let a racing heart stop me? Nope. Do I want fear to overtake my ambitions? Not this time! What do I want  to be  stronger- my resistance or my willpower?

The trick is to not allow my reactions to be my reality. I can choose to live in fear, or choose to be brave. I can buy into the negativity, or create a new line of thought. I can act, despite the fear.

This process works. It allows me to take risks, fear and all.