My husband and I go climbing. Mostly indoors, but Joe started climbing outdoors a couple of years ago.
Trad climbing, it’s called. And it’s really, really scary.
Climbing generally is a great sport, because you get strong in all sorts of places – and it challenges you not just physically, but mentally. Especially when you’re leading, because to make progress you have to get out of your comfort zone.
This challenge is amplified when you’re climbing outdoors, because indoors if you fall you’ll just dangle off a clip. Outdoors if you fall, you might die. Just writing this, my palms are sweating and I’ve got the adrenaline tingle in my feet.
CHRIST, it’s scary.
Then, when you get to the top, you have to build an anchor using ropes, clips, other equipment and whatever is available in the landscape. So basically, unless you’re at Stanage Edge, you’re often perched on a ledge six inches wide with a 100-foot drop below.
Then you have to belay your partner up the cliff. Then you have to abseil down.
Abseiling fills me with horror. But it’s something you have to learn if you want to get down from a climb without the embarrassment of a mountain rescue or being lowered by your partner. Which isn’t always possible.
So I learned.
Last time, I was clinging to a tree on a foot-wide ledge at the top of a 100-foot cliff in Somerset. Sobbing and shaking. Honestly, this was primal fear. Terror. I did NOT want to step over that edge and abseil down. All I could see was me plummeting to the ground and going splat.
But you know what? I did it anyway. I cried all the way down.
Then I had a cup of tea and did it again.
Because if you let your fear beat you, you’ll never, ever make any progress. There’s no shame in being afraid, by the way. You can’t be brave if you’re never afraid. People who are never afraid either don’t really live their lives, or are psychopaths.
Fear only becomes a problem when you let it paralyse you. When I was balancing on that ledge, waiting to abseil down, I had to get myself moving. I had to overcome that fear and take action anyway, or be stuck there. Physically and metaphorically, because I want to get better at climbing.
Business is no different. The fear might not be that kind of immediate terror, but it’s there. It’s fear of the unknown. Of trying something new.
Even though you know what you’ve been doing so far hasn’t been getting the results you want, it’s still scary to step outside your comfort zone and do stuff that your competitors aren’t doing. Because, guess what – they’re too scared or lazy to do so!
I know you’re not lazy. I know you don’t think the world owes you business. You wouldn’t be here if you were, because I don’t attract that kind of loser.
But you might be afraid of taking action. And that’s fine. Just don’t let that fear stop you from taking action. Please. Because there’s a whole world of success out there if you look your fear square in the face, take a risk, and go after it.
So make a decision right now. Today. Pick an action that scares you in your business, and JFDI.
That action might be diving in to FB advertising, rather than moaning that FB is restricting your page updates to a tiny proportion of your audience (and why shouldn’t they? You’re using it for free).
Face your fear. Take a risk. Step out of your comfort zone. Start seeing results you’ve only dreamed of.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.