Make friends with your fears

It’s 3 AM; you’re wide awake, unable to go back to sleep. What’s on your mind?

When I’m awake at 3 AM unable to go back to sleep, my fears are running away with me.

I’ve done something terribly wrong, I’ve miscalculated my expenses, my clients are never going to pay me again, I’m defaulting on my mortgage, my family is living under a bridge somewhere — why did I ever start this business!

Do you ever have thoughts like those? What’s your version of that?

Instead of fighting those fears, encourage them.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’m learning to make friends with my fears instead of fighting with them. I’ll give you an example.

It’s 3 AM, I’m wide awake, and I’m afraid that I made a horrible mistake in my budget and I’ve set my expenses way too low.

OK, what would happen if that’s true?

Well, I’d go broke, dummy!

No, before that. How would I find out?

I’d see my cash going down month-over-month, and because of the cash influx from the PPP, I might miss it.

OK, what would happen then?

Well, I’d burn through a bunch of cash at a time when I need it most!

And then what?

Then I’d have to slash expenses. There’d be no vacations, no eating out, I would shrink down to just what I need to get through.

What would happen then?

Well, that would slow the burn so I could run maybe six more months.

Do you think you could find some new clients, or a new service, or (shudder) a job in those six months?

Yeah, I guess I could. That seems likely.

By letting my fears play out, I get to see how irrational they are. I’m not going to end up living under a bridge — a lot of things have to go badly for that to happen. More than my sleep-deprived brain can drum up at 3 AM.

What would happen for you if you gave yourself permission to follow your fears?

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