Hot sweat snaked down the back of my neck like a river on fire. I stared down my opponent, trying to hide the fact that my shin ached, my legs trembled and my lungs burned.
A part of me wondered whether I could do this. A part of me was scared I couldn’t. But I kept my fists up and fought, literally, for one of two things:
A gold medal; or my very first kickboxing comp loss.
As some of you know, when I’m not kicking butt in my own business by helping women fall in love with their brands again, I kick butt in real-life as a competitive fighter.
It’s a sport that requires two things: Discipline and fearlessness.
If you don’t train, you don’t win.
And if your opponents sense even a whiff of fear from you, you’re a goner.
It’s a lot like business.
Running your own biz, as you know, requires a shit tonne of discipline. You have to respond to those e-mails, get those orders out, do that work … even when you’d rather curl up with Netflix.
And running your own biz requires a whole lot of fearlessness too. It’s not the easy, safe, well-travelled path. It’s the risky dark trek through the woods.
People often ask me how I navigate both my business and my hobby with such fearlessness.
“You ooze confidence, Jen!” One lovely lady told me recently. “You inspire me.”
But she was shocked to hear that most of the time I don’t feel fearless.
“Oh, I’m scared shitless frequently!” I laughed. “But here’s the thing about fear …”
Being fearless isn’t about never feeling scared. It’s about feeling scared and doing it anyway.
When I’m walking into the ring for a fight, I’m scared.
When I load up my computer to run a webinar or do a Facebook Live, I’m scared.
When I quote for a new project, I’m scared.
… But I do it anyway.
Understand that fear is just an illusion.
Fear of failing doesn’t mean YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL. It’s not a prophecy. It’s all a mental game.
Understanding that you haven’t failed, that it is all just an illusion, will make that big, fat yucky feeling you get seem a little smaller.
Engage in positive self-talk.
I am all about positive self-talk. I do it a lot. When I’m feeling nervous and jittery before live webinars or speaking gigs, I talk to myself. And before a fight, pwhoar, the convos I have with myself! You can do this, I tell myself. You have trained soooo hard, Jen, let’s fucking get out there and rock this shit!
By being your own cheerleader, you can combat fear with positivity.
Write down what’s triggering your fear.
Okay, so the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling shit is really dive into why you’re feeling shit. I get it. Just bring on the chocolate and some hermit time, right? But exploring what’s making you feel the way you do will help you uncover the true trigger to your fear. And once you know your trigger, you can address it with a clear mind and chat about it with others. It’ll also make your fear seem a little less scary and get you one step further to taking action.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or fail.
Two years ago, I lost the TKD national championships. I had trained extremely hard. I was the fittest I had ever been in my life. BUT I had fear. Fear that my opponent was going to beat me because she was taller and had more experience. Fear that even though I had trained so hard I just was not good enough. Before I had even stepped on the mat in my mind I had lost … and I did. I lost and I cried in front everyone I broke down.
But through that failure I learnt a lot about myself and how much a negative mindset can impact me. Today, I know how to conquer my fear before I step a foot inside the ring.
And one crazy last tip …
Something I practise myself whenever I’m feeling fear is to sit in a quiet place and visualise my fear in front of me as a cloud of light mist. And I visualize myself stepping through this mist onto the other side which is filled with confidence, clarity and strength. The strength to do what I need to do.
I also spend a lot of my me time meditating and stretching/light yoga. I put on my favourite omm music and just drift off and clear my mind. I do not force myself to think of nothing (‘cos let’s be honest, we women struggle with that) but instead I allow my mind to flow quietly until it settles.
I find this gives me the peace and clarity I need to feel and face my fears.
‘Cos the reality is that fear never truly goes away. Not when you are constantly pushing the boundaries in business and life.
But by accepting that fear is a part of growth, you’ll be well on your way to use fear to fuel your fearlessness.
P.S. Curious whether I won my first kickboxing comp? Head on over to Instagram to check out how I went!
Hi, I am Jen the design boss lady behind Jenna-Rae designs. I help female entrepreneurs become UNSTOPPABLE with fearlessly authentic and kick-ass brands.