I think a big fear a lot of us have is when we need to do something new or different.  We don’t necessarily view it as a “fear” when we drag our feet at trying something different.  We can have 1,000 excuses as to why we don’t want to do this or that, but, usually the under lying force pushing it is fear.  You don’t think that’s it? Well, let me see if I can change your mind…

What If’s – When we are looking at a new project or thing we want to do in our lives, we calculate risk.  Usually we run a lot of scenarios in our minds as we do that.  Mainly bad (or “con”) scenarios first with a lot of “What If” questions, but a few with the “pros” of the situation as well.  The not knowing for sure the answers to those “What If” questions keep us from moving forward because we can’t control how the answers turn out.  So, we put off whatever thing it is until we think we will have more certainty on the other side.  However, sometimes that certainty never comes, so what do we do then?  Do we just and try something anyway, or do we usually back off?  Can you honestly say that you are just using good judgement when you back off, or is it fear motivating your next step forward?  Only you know the answer to that one.        

Lack of Knowledge – Sometimes we are scared to do something new because we have a lack of knowledge about the project, task or situation.  We can’t see ourselves doing whatever it is because we have had no experience with it and don’t have any knowledge of how to do the task.  The best way to combat this fear is to do research on whatever it is before you start.  If it’s a totally new procedure, then find a mentor that has been successful at pioneering something of their own.  Ask questions about how they handled their task and how they dealt with issues along the way.  Read up on everything you can and then you can take a semi educated step forward.  The more you know, the less you fear.

In-completion Fears – We have discussed fears of failure or success, so I won’t dwell on that too much, but, I think along with the fear of failure comes the fear of not completing what we started.  To put this in easy to understand terms, lets compare it to household chores.  We put off some big chores around the house because we think we won’t have the time to complete it during that day.  We convince ourselves that we will have more time on another day or even during another season, so we decide to not even start a certain task because a half done job is worse than not doing anything.  It sounds ridiculous when I type it out, but, it’s so true!  If a task is a large one that will take a lot of effort, we HATE the thought that we might not finish it on time or AT ALL so why even start it?!  There is a child’s joke that really is more true when it comes to performing a huge task and that is this: How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!  Some jobs are just that.  You keep plugging away until it’s completed.  It might take slow, methodical steps EVERY SINGLE DAY until the task is completed.  In fact, MOST big projects get done this way and not in a short, certain time frame.  Besides, there is a good feeling when you can say you did some work on a huge project every day.  You have to keep your eyes on getting something done and not the end of the line.  If your eyes are constantly on how much left there is to do, you will not keep focused and do your best work to accomplish the goal.  Yes, take inventory in the middle of the task and try to calculate when it might be done, but, don’t let that be your focus.   Sometimes, there might be a job that comes along that MIGHT end without being finished.  Some things are just out of our control.  It’s okay.  Move on.

Imagine the GOOD Possibilities – Bottom line, one of the best ways to minimize that fear of starting something new is to think of all the good possibilities that will come from trying.  First, you will feel good that fear didn’t control your actions and that you at least tried!  Secondly, even if you fail, you will learn a lot for the next time you need to do something new and third, if you succeed, what are all the great things that could happen from that success?  Start to list those things in your mind and let those things motivate and push you to move forward!  You will never know any of those successes, whether big or small, if you don’t take that step!

Is there something new at work you need to step out and try?  How about at home?  What is holding you back?  Even if you have never done anything like that before, it doesn’t mean you can’t ever do it!  Don’t let fear hold you back any longer.  Weigh the costs, learn what all you can, keep a positive outlook and eat that elephant one bite at a time!

Until Next Time!

Jen Lush–Associate Broker and Mother of Managing Broker
Photo Credit: Clark Tibbs

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.