Taking the leap: Overcoming fears vital to business success

From the pages of In Business magazine.

On May 9, I did probably the scariest thing I have ever done. I got married. To anyone who knows me, this sounds especially crazy because Matt and I have been happily together for more than six years and have lived together for three. We were already practically married, and in recent months I was less than discreet about the fact that I wanted to get engaged.

Finally, the day came that I had been anxiously waiting for. He planned a thoughtful and romantic proposal and even had a surprise party waiting at my friend’s house after I said “YES!” I was thrilled. Without getting too gushy, Matt is the perfect man for me — caring, hardworking, thoughtful, and much more. I had no doubts he was “the one.”

But a few weeks after the excitement had settled, something strange started to happen. I started getting really scared. I started questioning things that I already knew the answer to, or that had never even crossed my mind. Can I really be with one guy for my whole life? What if in 10 years I get bored? What if in 20 years we have an argument so bad I can’t even look at him anymore?
What if, what if, what if.

My mind spun around these questions all day and night, and it was affecting me negatively both personally and professionally. During one of the happiest times in my life, why was I having such anxiety about something I had known for years I wanted to do? After weeks of thinking, reading, journaling, and talking with family and friends, I realized the reasons why. The first was that I was making a big commitment that

I took very seriously. The second was that I was not in complete control of the outcome. And finally, I knew that things were changing.

What does all of this have to do with business? Just like marrying your true love, there are a lot of things in your professional life that you feel to your core are the right things to do, but for some reason fear is holding you back. Those voices of doubt from the back of your mind start sounding louder. Can I really start my own business? Do I really have enough expertise to make this business decision? What if I fail?



If you read interviews from elite performers in any field, whether they are new to the public eye or veterans in their craft, most have one thing in common: They get nervous. Even when you’re at the top of your field, opportunities and situations will arise that will scare you and make you question whether you’re prepared. Being afraid doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong; in fact, when dealt with the correct way, fear can be helpful. In order to move forward in your life, career, or business, taking risks is essential. There is a saying that goes, “Do something today your future self will be thankful for.” All great things start out a little scary. Remember that nothing is as scary as staying in a situation in which you no longer belong. Take that leap of faith and you will be amazed at the outcomes. The next time your nerves start to take over, quickly go through this three-step process:

  1. Acknowledge your fear. Being afraid isn’t a weakness; it’s natural. Dig deeper and ask yourself why you might be feeling this way.
  2. Access the fear. What is the worst that can happen? Is your fear rational or unreasonable? Is there a great white shark swimming toward you, or will your ego simply be bruised if things don’t go as planned?
  3. Reframe and take action. If your fear is purely insecurity-based, reframe the scary situation as an exciting opportunity and take the leap of faith!

By implementing this strategy, I was able to overcome my fear and am proud to announce I’m the happiest I have ever been as Mrs. Jenna Atkinson! Now it’s on to the next challenge …

Your Fast Track Action Items for July:

  • Take the next step on a project or idea that you feel you might not be ready for.
  • Create a Pinterest board, journal, or Word document (whatever works best for you) of positive affirmations that you can reference when you are starting to feel doubts about moving forward.
  • Find people who have overcome the same fears you have and ask them how they got past their nerves and what the results have been.

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