Sometimes your fear is real. At other times, it’s an illusion not grounded in facts.

And then there are those times when your fear is a derivative of a marketing tactic designed to elicit a particular behavior – usually for you to buy or buy into something that may or may not be for your benefit.

Let’s talk about the first two as it pertains to you and your money. But first a quick story about scuba diving (which you may have heard me share before)…

“The day you get on this dive boat and you’re not afraid is the day you shouldn’t go diving,” said my Divemaster.

After finishing my MBA, I gifted myself with scuba diving lessons. And after twelve weeks of classroom and pool instructions, I traveled to Tortola, BVI to do my open water check-out dives. 

I was equipped with all the proper gear: wetsuit; buoyancy compensator device (or BCD); regulator; goggles; snorkel; fins; and tank. In other words, I was prepared for the nine (9) dives my certification required.

The first dive went really well; the second one – not so much. 

I had a slight mishap as I was doing my backward roll entry, and it totally threw me off – causing my confidence to quickly vanish. In fact, I was so discombobulated that I was afraid to do my third dive.

That’s when my Divemaster gave me a pep talk in the form of the above pullquote. It is a bit of wisdom that I applied to all my subsequent dives. I have also been following the spirit of her message ever since…on dry ground.

Her point: Make fear your friend. Let it remind you to make sure you double and triple-check that your gear is working as it should.

Great point to keep top of mind when you’re diving in 90 feet of water!

Flipping Fear

And it turns out that learning to flip fear on its head by making it your friend is also quite useful when it comes to managing your money.

Because whilst there are times when your money fears can help you make smart and strategic moves with your money, more often than not those fears are actually holding you back. They are keeping you from growing and thriving in the ways you most want.

What money fears do you have? (And yes, I’m presuming you have more than one…)

What’s the source of your fears?

How are your fears around money motivating you or hindering you? 

My clients have me as an outlet to safely express their fears. With whom do you feel safe sharing yours? 

Ways to make fear your friend

I realize I am likely in a small camp, but I don’t think fear is necessarily a “bad thing.” After all, with the future being what it is (unknown), it seems rather natural to be a little skittish of what may lie ahead. 

So, what might you do when your financial gremlins appear? How do you avoid letting the emotion of fear diminish your financial power (or cripple your financial progress)? 

Well, here are three (3) steps you can take to transform your fear so that it isn’t something that is preventing you from getting the best results possible with your money – and in your life.

Determine if your fear is real or an illusion

I don’t believe in repressing fears or pretending they doesn’t exist. In my opinion, you are better served when you acknowledge them and then invest the time to discover the root cause.

This requires asking a series of “why” questions in order to determine if, for example, the “bag person” syndrome is likely to happen. If you lost your job or had to close down your business tomorrow, would you really, truly be destitute in a week, month, or year?

Develop a plan and work the plan

If your fear is real – meaning that the facts bear out a high probability of your fear coming to fruition – this is your invitation to develop a plan of action and a process for implementing the plan. By doing this, you are letting fear guide you to your power and locus of control. (If that sounds weird, just chew on it for a while.)

Discover your triggers

If your fear is an illusion – meaning the fear feels real, but the probability of it coming to fruition is slim to none – this is your invitation to find out more about what (or who) is triggering your fear. For example, are you unconsciously carrying a money belief from your family that doesn’t apply to you today? Or, are you failing to trust yourself today based on financial mistakes you’ve made in the past?

The goal isn’t to not feel afraid – it’s not to discount the money fears you have.

The goal is to identify the specific nature of the fear. Then pinpoint what are your fears keeping you from doing…

  • Is it keeping you from tracking your money for fear of what you’ll discover about your habits and relationship with money?
  • Is it keeping you from budgeting – or creating financial boundaries and knowing what are your money “floors” and “ceilings”?
  • Is it keeping you from investing – or hiring a professional to do it on your behalf?
  • Is it keeping you from leaving your job?
  • Is it keeping you from starting a business – or challenging yourself to grow it to the next level?
  • Is it keeping you from doing something – anything – because you’re afraid of making a mistake?

Whatever may be your fear, once you identify it, you then have the power to choose how you wish to react.

Here’s the deal: Your money fears – whether real or an illusion – don’t exist just to cripple and block you from your goals and dreams. 

They surface to teach you

But you can only discern the lesson if you’re paying attention, willing to ask questions and explore some uncomfortable territory, and are open to changing your perspective about the role of fear in your life.

Ultimately, it can only be your “teacher” when you shift from thinking of fear as something you run away from and instead as something you embrace…like you would a beloved friend who has your best interest at heart.

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