“Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” W. Clement Stone
And, I would add intentional action will.
Last weekend I had the awesome pleasure to travel to Santa Fe, NM and speak at the Women’s International Study Center’s Annual Symposia. What an honor to share the dais with Halla Tomasdottir (who just ran for president of Iceland!), Suzanne Ortega Cisneros and Meryl Marshall-Daniels. We had a spirited discussion as we tackled the intersection of women and money – exploring both the personal and systemic challenges and opportunities women face when it comes to taking care of their (and their families’) money.
In addition to being part of the plenary session, I facilitated two workshops. (Yeah, they worked me!) Not only did having these multiple touch points give me a chance to have several interactions with participants, but it also gave the many faces of fear a chance to get unmasked.
I wasn’t surprised to observe the fear of failure. Or, the fear of success. Or, the fear of rejection. Or, even the fear of ignorance (of being un- or under-informed).
However, I was quite surprised to observe the fear of taking action.
Although no one said this directly, it was clear to me that a lot of people are afraid to make a move because they are afraid of making a mistake. Can you relate?
As you may know, I don’t think having money fears is a bad thing. For one, it’s natural to be afraid of something. Second, it’s natural for that “something” to include your financial well-being and survival.
But like every other obstacle you’ll encounter in life, fear doesn’t go away before you do something – before you take action.
It goes away…after!
Six ways to respond to fear with confidence
So, here are six actions you can take to ensure that instead of fear holding you back, it’s a springboard that actually helps you make smart, strategic moves with your money:
Start where you are
You and I can get so focused on the end-result – the end-goal – that the first step that needs to be taken isn’t very clear. And because you can’t “see” that first step, you don’t do anything. (Thanks analysis-paralysis!)
Inaction may address your fear of making a mistake. But, it’s an awful proxy for progress.
Do something; if it’s a mistake, make adjustments. Just don’t be seduced thinking that inaction is risk-free.
Small steps matter, too
A close cousin to the notion of starting where you are is valuing the “small” steps you take. As a culture, we tend to measure success based upon the achievement of the big end-result. In the process, we forget that the end-result is made up of a series of small steps – done consistently.
Each “small” step leads to the next milestone. So, whether your small step is taking 1 second to get a receipt or 15-minutes to review your monthly statements or 30-minutes to contemplate how the dots need to be connected to bring your financial plan to life, do it. And do it regularly. Because progress happens in increments.
Habits thrive on discipline
Where your financial goals and money fears are concerned, your mood is irrelevant.
Small steps taken consistently are what, in effect, form the habits you practice. These serve as the foundation from which you take daily, weekly, monthly and yearly action steps. That means you sometimes have to do things regardless of whether you feel like it – of whether you have the perfect environment or ideal set of circumstances. (The runner in me dislikes this when it’s cold, raining or too damn hot!)
You know the adage, “feel the fear and do it anyway”? Follow it!
Feel nervous. Feel unsure. Feel lazy. Yet, push through it and still take that next one small step.
Celebrate each milestone reached
Sure, celebrate when you achieve the big end-result. But don’t let that be the only time you give yourself credit. Be sure to rejoice each time you reach a milestone along the way. You’ll feel good about both the process and your progress.
However, this requires that you know what benchmarks you’re tracking…and that you’re tracking them. Hint, hint…
Commit to intentional action
Taking action is cool; taking intentional action is way, way better! The key is to prioritize “right” actions over just any actions. This is what will most influence and have an impact on the results you want.
Protect your fear
No, I’m not off my rocker :). But coming from someone who suggests you embrace fear as you would a dear friend, this notion shouldn’t surprise you.
Here’s what I mean: assign someone (or several people) in your inner-circle to be members of your fear team. Their role is to both challenge and support you; to talk with you candidly about your fears and the plan you’ve put in place to respond to them and/or to what is triggering your fears.
Like a lot of what happens in life, you never achieve success in “making it” on your effort alone. Others contribute to the equation. Confronting and embracing your fears is no different.
Remember, your money fears aren’t really what’s holding you back from experiencing the best results – however you define “best results” – in every area of your financial life. No; that credit goes to inaction.
And since you take action everyday, my suggesting you take action to “feed” your fears…to make it your friend and embrace its wisdom isn’t novel. However, the question is: Are you taking intentional action when it comes to your money and managing it’s impact on your life?
Are you practicing any or all of the above recommended ways of responding to your fear? If yes, cool.
But if not and you want help on this front – either getting started or with being consistent, click here to get on my calendar for a complimentary assessment call.
p.s. Have a friend or family member who is currently feeling blocked by their money fears? If so, share this with them – click here to grab the link.
p.p.s. I work with a limited number of people each month, and I am getting ready to open slots for September to people with whom I have had an assessment call and are on my Waitlist. Click here to schedule your complimentary assessment call.