Build a Badass Business Podcast #2: Fear, Part 1 – Why Are You Afraid?
- When/where were you told you couldn’t do something?
- Where does your fear come from?
- Why are you worried?
- Who are the people who are influencing you to be afraid?
- What are they doing in their lives?
- What are you choosing to either contribute to releasing you from fear, or not?
- What is your worst case scenario?
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Build a Badass Business: Episode #2: Fear, Part 1 – Why Are You Afraid?
Coming straight to you from her basement home office in suburban New Jersey, this is Build a Badass Business with Diane Sanfilippo. Diane is a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. She’s here to teach you how to grow and develop a successful business you love, and how to create raving fans along the way. Here she is, your host: Diane Sanfilippo.
Diane Sanfilippo: Today I want to talk about fear, because this is one of the things that I ask all of you what is holding you back, fear was very, very clearly the number one thing. This is something that I don’t really understand why in my life I haven’t had that same sense of fear of things. I think this comes from figuring out where this fear is rooted.
I believe that for many people, we’ve been told at some point in our lives that we couldn’t do something. Maybe we weren’t capable, we weren’t good enough, smart enough, whatever the case may be. Somebody else was better at it. We just somehow got this idea in our heads that we couldn’t do something. So we build up this sense of fear, that, well if I try, or if I want to and I don’t succeed.
I say “succeed” sort of in those finger quotes, because what success looks like for one person versus another is very, very different. What I believe most people see as success is not necessarily what I would see as success. Most of the time, if you actually fail at something by someone else’s standards, it’s still a success, because at least you got out there and did it, and you learned something from it. If you don’t learn something from the thing that you feel like you maybe failed at, maybe it’s a business you closed or a project you gave up on at some point, and you have this overwhelming sense that it was a failure, that’s all about your perception.
I’ve had many businesses over the years, and obviously, the only one that’s still here is the one that I started most recently. It doesn’t mean that I was a failure at all these other businesses. They have a lifespan, and they start and they finish, and that’s it. It’s really not that big of a deal. I think this sort of confidence about what other people think about you, and not worrying about that all the time. Because if you look at who those people are, that maybe look at you in this sort of sideways kind of way, or they think that you’ve always got these big ideas, or you’re kind of into something that’s a little alternative, or who knows what. What are they doing in their lives? How happy are they?
This is something that I dealt with for a long time when I was probably going through college, and right after college for a few years, I definitely changed my path several times. I originally started working corporate retail, moved on and went back to school for graphic design. Went and worked at Trader Joe’s for a while. Got a job in design. Just continually bounced from the thing I was doing, to something that was really catching my interest and my passion. Got involved with that, made it a career, learned some skills, moved on, and just kind of kept evolving and changing over time whereas most of the parents that were in my community didn’t understand that, and I don’t really know where that comes from, either. I just think there’s this old mindset that folks have about working for a big corporation and doing that for X number of years, and having some sort of picture about retirement and just following a certain path.
I somehow knew or felt deep down inside that not only working for someone else was probably not where I belonged, but that path wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want someone else to determine for me where I would go and what I would do. Not only that, I wasn’t in sort of a professional line of work. Something like law, or medicine, or something to that effect where, you know, there is a certain protocol of type of school you need to go to and a certain way to open a new practice and things like that.
If the path you’re taking is a little bit outside the norm, quote unquote, and people just don’t get it, I think it’s really important to pay attention to the fact that those aren’t the people that you want counsel from or you want to talk to about what you’re looking to do. And just remember that the reason they have the reaction they do about the types of decisions you make about what you want to do is from their own fear. To let them impose that fear on you is just ridiculous. We have to kind of put those walls up, or maybe don’t have certain discussions at a deep level with people who we know don’t get it.
That’s ok, not everybody wants to be their own boss. Not everybody wants to have a business on their own. It’s really hard work, and that doesn’t mean that people don’t work hard at other things. It’s just not for everyone. So that’s kind of the first thing, figuring out where is this fear rooted, where have you been told you couldn’t do something, and kind of figuring out how to mute those voices, in your head and in your life. I think that’s really important.
The next reason I think that people have a lot of fear is that they just worry a lot. Worry is something we do when we think and we live, and I say “live” again kind of in these air finger quotes, so obviously you live right now. You live in the present. But when you have a lot of worry, it means that you are constantly thinking and living in the future. Because if you are not constantly thinking about the future, then you wouldn’t worry. Worry is just a product of thinking and expecting something to happen, and specifically with worry, is more about thinking and expecting something negative to happen.
What happens when we worry is, we actually sort of bring this stuff into our lives. This is something that if you just sit and think, what could happen. I’m going to start a business, and if I start this business then I might not make enough money, and I might not be able to pay the bills. You literally can just worry yourself paralyzed, and that is completely unproductive, ineffective, and just not the way to move forward. Instead of worrying, which essentially when you worry it means you have a lack of faith in yourself. When you worry, you have an inability to see that you have the power to make certain decisions to change the outcome of this thing, this action, whatever it is that you’re doing.
One of the things that I consistently have done over years of my life, and it kind of makes me laugh when I look back and think, how did I even get here? One of those things that I’ve always done is make a list. What do I need to do to take action, and all these things that I think could go wrong, and plan so that I can sort of beat that worry out of my system.
If you’re worried about financial things, you have to make a plan to lower your costs. If that means, if your mortgage is a ton of money and you’re just thinking, well, I just can’t get around that. Maybe you can’t today, or next week, or next month, but maybe that plan for change is longer term. Maybe it means you have to make a hard decision to move.
I know that sounds impossible to some people, but it’s not. This is the time when you have to be willing to make plans and take action to move in a certain direction so you can live this life that you want for yourself. So it means making those hard decisions. It means giving up the Starbucks every day and making your own coffee at home. It means eating at home more often, and I know a lot of you listening are probably following a healthy lifestyle, and so you already do that, but where can you go to address your budget even further?
This is what I think is the most important thing when we are looking at how do we get started. I’m going to talk more about that in another episode, but how do we get started, and I think the financial aspect is really, really critical and important. The best thing that you can do is create sort of this comfort zone for yourself of, ok, now I’ve done everything I can possibly do and I’ve reduced my expenses.
I’ve talked about this a lot in the past. One of the things that I did, and granted, I was living on my own, did not have children, was not married, and this was probably the most recent time I made a really big change in my income level. But I don’t think that just because that was my scenario that having all of those other factors means it’s not possible. It just means it may take more time, more planning, and more perhaps collaboration with your partner, with your friends, anyone else who can help.
I was in an apartment that cost, I think it was around $2100 a month, and I was making 6 figures in a job that I hated. I knew that I could not leave that job and still have $2100 plus utilities, cell phone, etc, everything. So we’re probably talking at least $2500 in fixed expense. And fixed expense are those ones that you really have to make every single month. We’re not talking about the Starbucks, or even what you buy at the grocery store necessarily. I’m talking about that bill that comes every month that if you don’t change the cost of that bill, it’s just there. You can’t make a decision on a day to day basis on what to do with that. It’s not about a simple lifestyle shift or going to a gym that’s less expensive. It’s not about that. This is something that’s coming every single month, no matter what you chose ever day.
I really think this is one of the things that’s probably most important, as well as maybe a car expense, if you have a loan or a lease, etc. So I went and looked for a new apartment, because I knew I could not leave that job until I had a much lower overhead for myself. I got an apartment that was almost half the price. This is one of those things where ,this was the commitment that I was making. It was a much louder apartment, it was much smaller. It did not have the same amenities that my current apartment had. It didn’t have a dish washer, it didn’t have all this stuff. But guess what, I could not afford to stay in that apartment if I didn’t want to stay at the job that I was at.
I knew that was my primary goal, I had to get out of that job. Because it wasn’t this terrible, awful job. It just wasn’t for me. Because all day long, all I could think about was trying to teach people about food and nutrition, and here I was, I was supposed to be designing interfaces for an internet website builder. So I knew that that was what I needed to do, and I took the action, and I made those changes. And guess what? That’s what catapulted me and helped me to get started on this new journey that I’m on.
I want you guys to take action and think about everything that you think could go wrong, and sort of make a plan of how can you beat that. I think starting with the financial aspect is most critical. And if you’re sitting there saying, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. Because the minute you think you don’t have the power to make these changes, that’s when you throw your hands up and say it’s all over. So if you’re going to sit there and say I can’t make this change, then you’re never going to get anywhere. Because you have to understand that every decision you make about your life and what’s going on in it, that’s up to you. You have to make those choices.
Of course there are things that happen. There are tragedies, there are things that go on. Someone passes away and something happens. That’s not what I’m talking about here. Outside of those things, every decision we make, we need it to feed into whatever our goal is. And if you’re not doing that, then you’re just not going to move forward.
The last thing I want you to do in terms of getting over fear; and I’m sure I’m going to come back to this topic again, because I’m sure different angles of it will come up. It’s just kind of what’s on my mind at this point. This practical tip is something that I’ve consistently done, and sometimes guess what, it’s actually come true.
So this is the point when I want you to imagine what your worst case scenario is. So, if you were to try and start this business, whatever it is, or get out of this job, whatever the case may be. What is your worst case scenario? Does that mean, will you be on the street? Do you have friends you could live with? Do you have parents you could live with? I talk about living situation because, as I said, that really is our most expensive overhead or cost. So for me, that worst case scenario was, I move back home with my parents. In my 30s. I absolutely do not have any judgment of somebody who lives with their parents in their 30s! And boy, we better make that decision with a lot of energy behind it, because it’s not easy. I think some of us get along better with our parents than others.
And some of us, we may not have that option. Your parents are somewhere that you can’t live, or you don’t have your parents with you anymore, or they’re just not in your life in that way. And for me, that was sort of the worst case scenario. I have to leave San Francisco, leave my apartment, and move in with my parents. And figure things out. Figure out what I’m going to do next. And guess what I did. I moved back home.
And this was something that was not, it wasn’t necessarily purely financially driven. I had a desire to move back home to be closer to my family. My grandfather had passed away recently, and I wanted to be able to spend more time with my grandmother. I maybe had the money to live on my own at that point. Here in New Jersey, the rents are actually about just as much as they are in San Francisco; perhaps I’d get more space for that money. But it’s not cheap living where I live now, and that was sort of the realization of my “worst case scenario”. And guess what? It really was not that bad.
I just want you guys to kind of keep that in mind, and kind of get over yourselves. Get over yourself, get out of your own way, and stop thinking that these things that, well you couldn’t possibly live in a smaller place, or not have this fancy car. That’s all stuff that you construct as excuses and reasons why you can’t do something. The truth is, I would say 9 times out of 10, you have to do that. You have to start over and build yourself back up, and stop worrying about keeping up with the Jones’, and worry what kind of house your friends live in.
I remember seeing my friends living in these amazing San Francisco apartments that they owned, and here I was renting this tiny studio that I actually couldn’t really even invite anybody over to, because maybe one or two people would fit in there with me on the couch, and that was about it. I remember seeing this, and thinking, wow I wish I had a big nice apartment like that, and I owned it, and I had this nice furniture. But guess what? I’m doing what I wanted to do, and it’s taken me here. So I think we just have to keep that in mind.
Again, make a plan to take action on all those things that you’re worried about, and get rid of that worry because it’s just a lack of faith in yourself. You have to put that faith back in yourself, make your action plan, and create your worst case scenario image and kind of smash it. Just say, I’m not worried about that. Because if it happens, guess what? I’m still here. And I can keep moving forward.
That’s all I’ve got for you guys today. I will catch you next time. Thanks for listening.