Stopping the Fear That Is Stopping You

You are working on a project that will make a change in the world. What is the biggest challenge that gets in the way of you being able to make the impact that you want to? It is fear.

What happens if you don’t succeed?
What happens if people laugh at you?
What happens if someone sues you?
What happens if it doesn’t work?
What happens if you succeed beyond your wildest dreams?

The reason that fear slows us down is this: Even though we are trying to make a change in the world, we realize deep down that a change in the world means a change in our lives also. And change is hard. It is easier to make a change for other people than it is to have our own lives changed.

Here are a few tips for helping you mitigate the fears inside of you and get your project done on time.

  1. Have a project plan. We fear the unknown. Having a project plan shines a flashlight into the future and shows you what you are going to do.
  2. Include yourself on the stakeholder management plan. You are a significant stakeholder in every project that you do. Think about your current status (unaware, aware, supportive, champion) and then think about the level that you want to get to. When you review your stakeholder management plan, take steps to move yourself to the next level.
  3. Have a clearly stated project vision. Fear can cripple us, and it is much easier to give up when you don’t have a clear sense of how much the fight is worth it. Why would you risk death by fighting the dragon unless you clearly could sense that there was a pile of gold on the other side?
  4. Limit the change that this project will make. (And clearly state the limit.) This project won’t be able to save the environment, and it won’t even be able to eliminate the dumping of all single-use plastics into the ocean. But the change you might be making is that it will create alternatives to single-use plastics available to all restaurants in your area. The fact that you have a measurement of success, and that you have an achievable (though audacious) goal will help you execute without fear.

Don’t let fear stop you from completing your project on time. If you are done this project on time, you can start to measure your success, and you will be ready for the next project.