How To Handle Fear

May 11, 2011

At some point when running your business you will experience the feeling of Fear. I’m not talking about the Fear of physical danger but rather that Fear which may arise from such things as:

  • Not knowing how to handle a particular situation.
  • A sense of impending disaster.
  • Making a mistake.
  • The possible negative repercussions from something you said or did.
  • Dealing with a very threatening circumstance or person.
  • Receiving bad news
  • Unexpected political, industry, economic, global developments
  • Uncertainty


Fear is an emotional response to a threat that is real or imagined.           


This real or imaginary threat is called many things including:

  • A speed bump
  • A hiccup
  • A challenge
  • A hurdle
  • A moment of truth
  • An opportunity


Your emotional response may appear to you as a physical reaction such as:

  • You blush
  • You start perspiring
  • Your breathing becomes shallow
  • Your voice changes
  • You say something sarcastic or downright offensive
  • You feel ready to explode with anger
  • Your hands shake
  • You become rigid
  • You want to get away from your immediate environment.



Believe it or not a short burst of Fear is actually a good thing.

Think of it as your mental Stop Signal.


What your mind is telling you to do is:

  • Stop and Think about the current situation.
  • Ask Why you think this is a threat.
  • Is this threat Real or Imagined?


  • Identify and Explore your Options to deal with this situation
  • Choose the appropriate Option
  • Take the necessary Action to deal with the current situation.
  • Evaluate the outcome of this Action.
  • Remember what you did so that if the same situation comes up again you will be prepared.


Emotions are your physical signals that tell you that something requires your attention.

Awareness of the changes to your emotions is fundamental to your success.

As a coach of mine would regularly say:

Ignore Your Awareness At Your Peril


“But Leon”, you may ask, “I don’t know what my Options are to deal with this situation, so how can I possibly choose the appropriate action?”

Here’s what you do:

  • Be quiet and listen attentively. Make sure you understand what you are dealing with.
  • Think about whether you have previously dealt with this situation.
  • What was the outcome?
  • Would you now do anything differently?
  • Have you prepared for this contingency?
  • Is action required immediately or can you step back and consider all possibilities?
  • Do you have to deal with the situation alone?
  • Who or what can help you to address this challenge?


Slow Down To Go Faster


As business owners we are all busy so we naturally think that we need to always act faster to get more done.  I call this the,

Shoot First And Ask Questions Later Technique


Where time permits, and it usually does even if it’s for a few seconds, slowing down, carefully assessing your options for dealing with each situation and recruiting help where possible will usually result in a far better outcome.

Finally, all that’s left is for you to remember how you dealt with that situation so that you are prepared should it come up again.


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