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4 Lies You Keep Telling Yourself When You’re Afraid to Do Something



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When’s the last time you let fear get the better of you? Whether we want to admit it or not, fear keeps us from doing a lot of the things we know we really should do to achieve our goals. Fear is especially detrimental to entrepreneurs (read ‘wantrepreneurs’) that want to launch their first big project.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share with you four lies people tend to tell themselves when they’re coming up with reasons NOT to do something. Hopefully by calling out these lies for what they are you can get your next big project started without so much delay or frustration.

Here are the 4 lies you keep telling yourself when you’re afraid to do something:

1. I’m not ready to do this

Fear is a major obstacle for many early-stage entrepreneurs or business people as they start to plan and build their first ventures. Without positive reinforcement, many people can be paralysed by that fear, and some never launch their product or service because of that fear.

They’re afraid what they have to sell is no good, and they lack the self confidence to push through the discomfort and do it anyway. But I’ve got news for you, you are ready.

Discomfort is part of the process, and it is part of the journey. Likely, you will fail or experience certain difficulties, but without regular action, you won’t achieve anything. Regular action is key, so set deadlines for yourself and get to work.

“Momentum begets momentum, and the best way to start is to start.” – Gil Penchina

2. I have so many ideas, but I should wait until I have one that is good enough to pursue

Another big barrier to entry for many young entrepreneurs is knowing where to focus their time, money and energy. Most entrepreneurs have no shortage of good ideas, but knowing which areas to focus their efforts on is key if they truly want to become successful. A jack of all trades is a master of none.

Rather than avoiding choosing one path and trying to juggle three or four ideas, narrow your idea down to one niche, and stick with it for a duration of time to understand whether or not you can gain traction with that idea. When I say traction, I mean interest from the market.

If you can ask a large enough segment of the market for their interest in a certain topic, and if they express interest in that topic (even without buying), you should consider that proof of market validation.

Finding and selecting a niche is also an art in and of itself, but not impossible to teach. You should blend your current skill set (or find something that you can easily learn) with what there is a market demand for and what you are interested in. Once you find something that overlaps in those three areas, you will find a profitable niche for yourself.

3. This has already been created, I shouldn’t bother producing one more thing that people don’t need

Another problem that people face when they consider setting up their own business is learning how to sell, not just to other people, but to themselves. Chances are, if you have an idea for a product, it can be marketed and sold effectively, and it will provide some value to those who use it.

Unfortunately, many people have a very low self-image of their own skills and knowledge, and whether or not what they have will be of value to others.

Negative self talk can be a powerful influence on the success of your future business, so beware of its influence on you and how often you find yourself slipping into this mindset.

One way to get out of this mindset is to think less of yourself and more about the customer. Get in the habit of thinking less about what skills you have (or what skills you lack) and think instead of the market and what needs those people have.

When you decide to solve people’s problems, you have gone into a mode of selfless service, which is ultimately much more profitable than sitting on your butt feeling sorry for yourself. Strange isn’t it?

“The best way to sell yourself to others is first to sell the others to yourself.” – Napoleon Hill

4. It’s too late to start working on this today, I’ll make a fresh start in the morning

Everyone knows that the first few hours of the morning tend to be the most productive. With that in mind, it makes sense to start your day with the tasks that are going to be the most challenging, followed by the tasks that are perhaps more enjoyable or less monotonous. However, that won’t work for some people.

Sometimes it’s hard to wake up first thing in the morning. Perhaps you stayed out partying too hard last night, or you were kept up watching Netflix. Maybe you got to bed at a reasonable hour but just aren’t a morning person. Whatever the case, don’t think that you have to let all of the pieces fall into the right place at the right time.

Starting now is always better than waiting. Sure, you might not send off a client deliverable to someone at 2am, but if you are up and awake and able to string two sentences together or spend 15 minutes researching a certain topic, do it. Making even small bits of progress over time can lead to lasting success.

Whatever you end up telling yourself, understand that you are still responsible for your actions. Perhaps more importantly, you are responsible for your inaction. What inaction will you be responsible for if you decide to believe the lies you tell yourself on a regular basis?

How could your life be different if you decided, starting today, you aren’t going to take no for an answer? I for one, would love to see what the new you does with that power.

How do you get yourself back on track when you’re afraid to do something? Let us know your thoughts below!

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McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 

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