How to Stop Fear Holding You Back

For many years, I have been told time and again things like:

  • “How do you do it all?”
  • “How do you fit it all in?”
  • “You’re always doing something!”
  • “You do SO MUCH!!”

And EVERY single time I would get a comment like this, externally I was saying “I’m not really sure – I don’t really stop, I guess!” but internally a battle was raging.

You see, in my own mind I wasn’t doing enough, let alone launching a hell of a lot of things like peopled seemed to think I was doing. I would constantly tell myself that no matter how much I did, it wasn’t ever enough and I needed to BE more and DO more.

A lot of this came about through various things and situations that happened in the past, that I then allowed to consume and control the way that I did business.

For too long, I let fear rule the decisions I made in my business. I let fear hold me back and I let it stop me from moving forward in the ways I have been dreaming of for so long.

Fears?! Really?

Yep, fears. If you name a fear, I probably experienced it. I was afraid of failing, of people accusing me of being a fraud, of not being good enough. I was afraid to be myself, even though I advocate that to all of my clients, my audience + my friends + colleagues. I was afraid to speak out and voice my true opinions because I thought I would have another troll appear to belittle me and make me feel worthless. And, more than anything, I was afraid of judgement – both good and bad – and how that made me feel. I was afraid of people judging what I did to their own expectations, judging the decisions I made, judging who I am as a person and more. And more than anything, I was constantly judging myself.

Now the problem here isn’t having these fears. They will come up whether we are brand new in business or have been running a business for 10, 20, 30 years. They’ll come up whether we’ve not even made any money yet, we’re making a few grand a month or we’re making big bucks day-in, day-out.

The problem instead is how you handle the fears that come up.

For far too long, I let the fears I had rule me and my business.

I let it stop me from moving forward and upwards, from making decisions that mattered, and I let it hold me back and stay at the same level over and over again.

To the outside world, it looks like I was doing a lot – and that I had the confidence to pull it off. In the past few years I have published two books (one with a publisher + one self-published), I have been growing my followings on social media + started being a little more visible, I’ve been featured many times on various podcasts, interviews + websites and I’ve even become a published logo designer.

Yet what isn’t seen in the highlight reels we choose to share with the world is the inner battles that I, and so many others, have been fighting: coming up with ideas for products + services and either “launching” them (believe me, simply adding it to your website and hoping people will find it ISN’T a launch) or planning them so thoroughly only to abandon them part way down the path of creation.

There have been so many ideas, good and bad, that I have squashed out of fear of releasing something that people may judge and out of fear of releasing something that isn’t QUITE as perfect as I want it to be.

Take a moment to sit and think. What have you not released, launched, created or shared with the world? Why didn’t you do it? Dig deep – was it fear, in whatever shape or form that might be, however big or small?

If fear isn’t your immediate answer, I’m willing to bet that a good proportion of other excuses (because, #sorrynotsorry, that’s what they are) might be a lack of time, being unable to fit it in alongside everything else you’re doing, or something similar.

On one hand, that makes sense. On the other, however subconscious it is – this is fear telling you to stop. One excuse after another. And I truly believe that if you have a great idea that you know can help people – you have a duty to share it with the world. And what’s even better, is if that idea lights you up then you will make the time, you will fit it in, you will do everything you can to get this idea off the ground and out into the world.

Getting a grip on your fears

Take another moment to think of someone you admire in business, who is further ahead than you. Maybe they’ve launched their own online course, maybe they’ve built a huge community around their message, maybe they simply have more clients than you. Maybe they’re admired by many, they have created a movement, they are visible + on a much grander scale than you.

Have you got your person now? Perfect.

Then I have a truth for you:

The ONLY difference between YOU and THAT person is that they took action.

When I take the time to look at what I have done in my business, there’s a hell of a lot there. I wrote out a list of all I have done during the coaching I received on my positioning a couple of months back – and there’s probably more there that I’ve missed. But while there is a lot on that list (and it’s all great stuff, things I am proud to have done and achieved) I also know the amount of things I’ve also held back and that I could have launched.

Again, that one difference between me and the people I most admire in business is that they did it anyway, fear or no fear.

This hilarious meme from Veronica Dearly perfectly describes how this plays out sometimes - and that’s totally fine too!
This hilarious meme from Veronica Dearly perfectly describes how this plays out sometimes – and that’s totally fine too!

Ashley, of Fire and Wind Co., recently started a campaign that has swiftly turned into a movement, of women entrepreneurs who are ready to share with the world why they’re not the flawless creatures social media and the online world can make us out to be (however conscious or accidental that may be).

Looking at this campaign, having a heartfelt conversation with my biz bestie and taking the time to allow all of that to sink in gave me a chance to reflect on all of the ways I’ve truly held myself back over the years.

And do you know what? This reflection happened LAST. WEEK.

Yes, that’s right. I’ve been running my business for almost 4 years, working under the Rachilli brand I created for over 7 years, and I’ve only just realised how badly my fears have been holding me back and made the change.

I’ve been doing so much work over the past few months to look at my brand, my positioning, the work I’m putting out there (both products AND services) and the message I want to share with the world. And heck, it’s a terrifying experience.

And even through this time, I’ve been making huge changes. But I’ve still allowed that fear to take a grip sometimes and the changes I’m implementing haven’t happened as quickly as I would have liked.

But, as of last week – all of that has changed. Even though it scares me, I’m doing it anyway.

It can be so easy to say those words – but taking the action, to keep moving…that is what matters most. For so long I would kid myself, telling myself that I needed to work through these fears before taking any more steps. But in reality, all that did was hold me back time after time. It as just another excuse, another reason to stop and stay comfortable.

And although it feels like a switch has been flicked now that I’ve realised this, it also feels like nothing has really changed. I have finally embraced who I am, wholly and completely. I no longer feel like a fraud because I am walking my talk + following the lessons I teach to my own clients, my audience and the people I surround myself with.

I am finally unapologetically ME, being both the crazy-pants, hyper person when I’m with people I love to be around (seriously – if you want proof, just ask any member of the Conquer Club who have been on a call with me when I’m in the chat. I can’t hold back the crazy OR the excitement + everyone gets to know about it!) and the quiet, introverted person that needs her own space. I’m being more real, more raw, instead of showing the highlights that we inadvertently start to share. I am becoming + embracing the polished mess I know I am (yep, lover of the contradictions here).

And I’m embracing these sides of me in my own business, for my clients and for my own products and services. Instead of trying to be one or the other, I’m harnessing my strengths and combining my creativity with my knowledge of business + brand strategy. This is where my two passions collide + where I’m strongest – something that has been proven to me since I embraced this in the past 2 weeks, let alone in the past couple of months.

So please, if I have any point to make, let it be this:

Your fears will come up at any time, and it’s likely different fears will come up for you at different points in your journey. You absolutely have the power to heal and move past these fears…but before you do that, keep moving forward. Don’t allow your fears to hold you back and stop you from releasing your magic into the world. Allow yourself a moment to panic or get scared, but then do it anyway. Show the world that you are more than your fear – and more importantly, show yourself.

Thoughts & Comments

2 lovely people have commented on this post. Yay! :)

  1. Great post Rachel. Been feeling a lot of fear and general down-ness and need to get back on it. After reading this I realise I really need to start planning a little more and being less worried about the business end and more back to more of a personality. Thanks!

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