Why Do We Experience Fear (Part 1)
Updated: a day ago
One of the most common questions that I get asked by my clients revolves around fear. Now fear is a huge topic, so you get to listen to part 1 today!.
As always, you can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Google, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and so many other places.
Episode 2 Transcript
Hello, and welcome to the I'll Take That Wind podcast with your host, Steven Westwood, reminding you that to achieve that dream, it takes just one step.
Hello there, friends, and welcome to my podcast I'll Take That Win. I'm Steven Westwood, I am happy to be here. Uh, how are you? Are you all okay. I hope you're well.
I would like to discuss today Fear. More importantly, overcoming fear as a barrier towards achieving our goals. Firstly, we must look at what fear is. We need to explore what fear is, what fear means to us. And we need to explore why we experience fear.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion. It's usually caused by a threat of danger, pain, or harm. It is something that our brains have developed over millennia in order to keep us alive. It's part of our natural survival instincts; thousands and thousands, and thousands of years ago, humans would have had predators threatening our lives. We would have had no safe space or true safe space where we could relax.
So our brains evolved this complex emotion of fear. Fear kept us alive. It kept us aware of our surroundings. It kept our other senses heightened. It kept us able to either "fight or flight" (so that's the concept of you either fight the danger in front of you or you run away from that danger in front of you). So fear is a natural process that the mind goes through.
Fast forward to today, of course, we don't really have those sorts of dangers. You know, we don't have predators trying to eat us. We don't have the danger of not having a safe, secure place to live. The way fear has evolved and the way fear has adapted in our minds is now a process where our minds, I believe (don't forget that our emotions are driven by our thoughts) so our mind naturally wants to keep the status quo. They naturally want to keep us in a place of contentment where we are safe, where we don't really have to push boundaries.
Of course, when we're applying this to our professional careers, to our love lives, to our health and fitness, to our habits and our routines, we need to be able to adapt. We need to be able to push through that fear and be able to evolve ourselves. So when it comes to starting a new business, for example, there is a lot of fear around that, especially if you're coming from a place of scarcity where you have a job, and you're not necessarily in a place to overcome that fear because you don't know if your new venture is going to be profitable and obviously by profitable, I mean success.
So when it comes to starting a new business, there is a lot of barriers that you need to overcome in order to make that business successful. So we're going to start off by looking at our thoughts when we start something new.
So when we start something new, what will happen is we naturally, start questioning ourselves. "Am I doing the right thing? How am I supposed to get clients? Or how do I sell this? Or how do I do marketing? Or how do I get people to listen to me? How do I get people to understand what it is that I'm selling? How do I get people to understand what it is that I'm doing? How do I get people to see the value in what I'm doing? Are people going to pay those prices? Am I going too expensive? Do I need to get cheaper?"
How, how, how, why, why, why, these are old thoughts of fear. They all stem from fear; they'll cause us to put barriers up before we've even started to do something.
I actually have a bit of a story to tell...
So I obviously have my own business. I obviously have made a success of that business. But that business as a Copywriter, I haven't always done full time. I only actually went full-time a couple of years ago; before that, I always had a job or I was in university. I was always learning and always developing and making connections.
When I left my full-time job, (my full-time job, by the way, was as a teacher) I was scared. I was questioning myself. I didn't want to teach anymore. Okay. So I'm going to level with you when it came to teaching. I enjoyed aspects of teaching. It is a profession where I take my hat off to anybody that can make a success of it to anybody that does it because there is so much more than standing in a classroom in front of 30 kids, teaching them and developing their knowledge and their skills to become successful functioning adults. There is so much more to it. That is definitely one of those things where you have to be in that job because you love it.
Now at first, I thought, "Oh, this is great. I'm actually really enjoying this". And then, as time went on, I quickly discovered that actually teaching a class full of kids isn't really for me. I much prefer copywriting. I much prefer being involved in business. I much prefer, you know, I have other things that I prefer. So I left teaching and went full-time with my business. I was afraid.
Now I had a steady stream of clients leading up to this anyway, I've been a Copywriter since 2011. So this was only two, three years ago when I started to consider becoming full-time. So I started getting more clients. I started looking for more clients. I started looking for more projects and opportunities. It was terrifying. I then set my prices, and I'm like, "Oh, are people going to pay this?"
But yes, they are first of all. So where do I find new clients? I need to steady stream of clients that I can afford to pay my mortgage. I can afford to pay for my car. I can afford to pay all of my bills and food, and I want to be able to buy clothes. I want to be able to go out. So I needed a steady stream of income.
So as I left teaching, I went full time, and those first few months were very, very difficult because I couldn't find my pace. I kept questioning every decision I made. I kept thinking, am I making the right decision? At one point, I did start looking for a job because I just didn't feel secure. I am glad that I snapped out of that.
I worked a lot on myself. I worked a lot on my thoughts and my fears, and I quickly realized that I didn't need a job. Actually, what I was doing was building a profitable business. The work that I was doing, I started to get more and more retainer clients, started to get some of my older clients come back to me and then they would refer me, and I built up my little empire - my empire of one.
Fear is one of those things where you need to build up your resilience. You need to build up your expertise, and you need to plough through. You need to say "YES" to opportunities rather than saying no. When you say no to an opportunity, what you're doing is you're letting that fear override you.
Now don't get me wrong. Please don't get me confused, I know that there are going to be opportunities out there where you're hearing it, you're looking at it, you're not feeling it, or it comes across as a bit dodgy, that's okay. Just, you can say no. What I'm talking about is take the risk, take a chance on something that you know could be big. And gives you fear. It makes you afraid rather than seeing no because you don't see the value in it. There is a distinct difference there.
But I still even now have times in my business where I am afraid. So I had the opportunity to start my podcast and. I put off starting my podcast because I, in my head, I was like, Oh, I need to have a microphone, I need to have a studio, or I need to have sound recording equipment. I need to have this. I need to have that blah, blah, blah. The timing's not right. It takes too much time. These are all limiting beliefs. They all STEM from fear. These are all excuses that I made to myself as to why I could not start my podcast.
I have started my podcast and I'll tell you now it's fantastic. I am loving this experience. I get to play producer. I get to play scriptwriter. I get to play, um, presenter. There are so many opportunities that I can do with this podcast. And I am so happy that I'm doing it, but every opportunity has that element of fear.
And that's what is very difficult to get out of, especially when you are used to asking yourself, "will this work?" We question ourselves so much that we're just not taking action. And that is the key to success is actually taking action. So in my book, I do discuss all of these concepts. Feel free to buy it. It's available now on Amazon Kindle on Google play store. Oh. And on Barnes and noble. And within that book, I not only discuss these concepts, I also give ideas and tips on how to overcome these limiting fears. Overcome these barriers to your success and how to plan and set goals appropriately. The book is called, "Oh No! Not Another Goal-Setting Book".
And my hope is that when you're reading it, it motivates you to take action. That is what taking risks means. It is taking action. So when I started my business, as I said, way back when, and then 10 years ago now I was in college, uh, in the UK college is a step between schooling university. And you can go back to college as an adult.
I was a mature student. I didn't go back until I was 24. So while I was there, I got involved with the student union. And from that, I started doing copywriting. I started helping with marketing materials. I started helping distribute the marketing materials. I started working with the college to get marketing materials written up so they could send them out to attract more learners.
Honestly, it was a fantastic time and I really enjoyed it. As part of my course, I did travel and tourism, by the way, was to do projects for businesses. And we weren't given plenty of opportunities to work with local businesses to help improve their, um, their visitor numbers. And obviously, the best way to do that is through marketing it's through convincing people that they need to buy into a product or service to benefit from it.
And I used that experience throughout my education. I got my level three qualification and then went on to do an HND (Higher National Diploma) I then did my undergraduate degree, went on to do a masters then did the PGCE, which is the teacher training. So I always had my one foot in the door, so to speak. I would always be freelancing as a copywriter or consulting on marketing or, you know, just working with businesses in my local area.
Once I completed my PGCE and went into teaching, I did continue, but I found that I didn't have as much time as a full-time teacher. And like how I said earlier on, I fell out of love with teaching pretty quickly. I realized that it wasn't for me being a full-time business owner, being a full-time entrepreneur is something that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
When the pandemic happened in 2020 and we went into lockdown, I had fear again. I was afraid that I would lose my business. I was afraid that I wouldn't have any money coming in. I was afraid that I had messed up because I didn't give myself a contingency. I didn't provide myself with some security or some passive income.
I was wrong. And I'm glad to say that I was wrong. I actually ended up increasing the number of clients I had which brings us to today where I am adamant that any opportunity that comes my way, I'm going to say yes.
What else I think is important when it comes to fear is that we have to understand our overriding thoughts and how to do that through a thought dump. So when you get an idea that you're going to do something and you start coming up with excuses as to why you shouldn't, do a thought dump. Write down all of your thoughts, all of those excuses, all of the reasons why you shouldn't all of the reasons why or how - just write them all down and then address each one.
I quickly realised that when I do this, a lot of the times they were just that they were excuses that I was putting on myself to not try. And I believe that this is the case for most people. I truly believe that a lot of you out there who are listening to this will relate to this. You may have some thoughts of your own as to why this might be. You may have some thoughts of your own as to how your own thought processes are going to be different. And you may come up with your own conclusions, but overall, the vast majority of you will understand when I say our minds make us make excuses. Our minds prevent us from moving forward.
And it doesn't matter how ambitious you are. If you do not have the motivation to break through those fears, you are not going to be successful. You will not be able to fulfil any of your dreams and achieve any of your goals. And that is how crippling having fear can be. So as a coach, what I like to do is - I like to do what I call the 'setup and pull the trigger'.
I get my clients who I coach and I help them, first of all, understand what their goals are. I then help them understand how they're going to achieve goals. What I do is help them set up their goals. I help them set up the activities, the steps, the tasks that they need to do. From there I make them do it. I make them pull that trigger. I make them try to achieve their goal by taking that step. Remember your path to success starts with just one step and that's all it takes is just that first step. It is just a step. It, it's not a leap of faith. It's not something huge and humongous. It's a step.
So when we're in a position of listening to these thoughts of self darkness and these thoughts of imposter syndrome of unworthiness, of limiting beliefs of "I can't do this", we are giving into our minds.
Now I heard something brilliant a few months ago and it stuck with me ever since. And that is that our minds are like a two-year-old. They're like a toddler. If we leave them unsupervised. That's hard. Blue is going to destroy the house and possibly get hurt. And it's the same with our minds. If we allow our minds to do what our minds want to do and lose focus, we will end up with our minds damaging themselves and 'destroying the house'.
And I think that's absolutely true goal setting when we're setting ourselves serious goals that challenge us. When we're setting ourselves goals that have to be broken down into smaller steps. So we can achieve those tasks that help to focus our minds. It helps us to stay on track. We learn how to measure those goals. We learn how to take action, and that is a phenomenal thing to learn how to do it is a scale.
Now, when I first wrote my goal setting birth, I based it off a workshop that I delivered. So I was asked to deliver this workshop and I just said, yes, I didn't think about it. I just said, yes. The workshop was obviously on goal setting and I'm thinking, Oh, goal-setting role, that's quite a dry topic, quite boring. Nobody's going to really want to listen. I quickly realized that that was not the case for goal-setting. There's so much more to goal setting than just, this is the goal. Let's do it. And a lot of people are going through. Uh, fear limiting beliefs. A lot of people are not even sure what it is that they want to achieve.
It's from delivering this workshop and writing my book. That's made me want to move into the space of coaching. I have got quite a few clients, so I'm happy working with them to achieve their goals. And it's just wonderful to see the person grow. It's wonderful to see, you know, my clients blossom and have these conversations where they have this realization.
They are listening to what I'm saying. They are then taking action based on what I've said. Now, bear in mind. When I'm coaching, it's not just me talking, this is me listening, actively listening. We're having a conversation and I'm listening to their self-doubts. I'm listening to their fears. I'm listening to that anger at themselves, or anger at the partners or spouses or children, or, you know, whatever else is going on in their lives.
And I'm helping them to overcome that so they can achieve their goal. It is such a joy to watch this journey. So I have this client whose goal is to be a Copywriter like me when I first started working with them, (I'm sure they won't mind me talking about this) but when I first started working with them, just like many other people moving into the digital space, they had a lot of questions surrounding how to get clients, how to approach a client, how to get, uh, when projects, how to get, um, money basically.
And I worked with, um, or I have been working with them, for eight weeks now. And in just that short amount of time, they have gone from asking all of these questions and having all of these doubts and thinking that they are not able to achieve their goals, to being successful in business to the point where now they have left their full-time job, they have got a contract with a marketing digital agency. They have also got a handful of clients who are paying for them per-project basis. And they're in a much better place. They're feeling a lot more confident. They have stopped taking, uh, their thoughts, they've stopped listening to these self-doubts, self-damaging thoughts, and they have started actually just doing it, saying yes and then work it out later.
I am just really proud of them because it is not an easy thing to do. I, fortunately, happened to understand this as part of my own process. I happen to understand this because it's something that I have been through before. Whereas if you're in a space that is completely new. And you have never done it before, such as being an entrepreneur, you're not going to be able to accept that these fears, these doubts, the imposter syndrome, the self-doubt, the "why should people listen to me" thoughts - you're not going to know or understand how to deal with those thoughts. And they are natural because our brain wants us to keep the status quo. It doesn't want to rock the boat. It doesn't want to put us in danger.
That is why fear is something that you need to learn to overcome. Again, overcoming fear is a skill in itself. So I worked very heavily and very hands-on with my clients to help them overcome that fear.
What I would like for you to do, or what I would like to do is invite you to, have a look at your own thoughts and start evaluating what it is that's making you afraid. What is it that's stopping you, preventing you from being the best version of you that there is?
I've been your host, Steven Westwood. Again, it's been a pleasure to be here. I'm looking forward to our next episode next week. And thank you so much for listening. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful week and I will see you.
You have been listening to I'll Take That Win Podcast with Steven Westwood, reminding you that your path to success starts with just one step.