By Younas Chaudhary
Every step in our journey to success involves facing the unknown and tackling fear. Like everyone else, I myself have faced fears in making decisions, concerned about the issues and the harm they might possibly cause in the short and long-term.
For instance, in the seventies, I moved from Alberta to Kansas and started a new venture to start leasing lands for oil drilling, and later for buying oil wells. I moved into a small town named Chanute, Kansas without thinking twice – fear was not an option for me.
In Alberta, I was living a middle-class existence, but I knew I had to leave my comfort zone. I had to meet fear head on, prepare my mind for success, and get ready to consistently work hard. From a comfortable job in Alberta, I moved to the dusty plains of Kansas with very little money, no friends, no contacts, no leads and l entered an entirely new industry with no prior knowledge.
How did I manage it? A clear, singular focus on improving my family’s fortunes helped me overcome fear. I had to learn about the oil and gas industry from scratch, create contacts, work hard, build my confidence despite multiple failures, and work with consistency and perseverance.
Face fear boldly.
Be ready to face fear if you want to succeed. Fear often introduces all kinds of thoughts into your mind, and you start to worry about so many unknowns. But if you face your fear boldly and take an analytical approach, you can overcome your future challenges with ease and confidence.
In the early eighties, I was served with my first notice to appear in a court of law, as the investors in my oil production venture were upset that I had not given them their desired returns on their investment due to the sudden drop in oil prices. They were upset through no fault of mine. The court notice was a huge blow to me, as I had never seen anything like that before, and I was afraid.
At first, I got panicked and scared. However, over time I reflected on it and finally decided that I could deal with my fear and find a way out of the predicament. So, I entered a discussion with one of the investors, who led me to talk with the investors’ bank. I ended up buying out the investors’ shares and taking over the venture on my own.
Oil prices soared after a few months, and I never had to look back. Imagine if I had not taken that decision because of fear – I would not have accomplished anything of significance in business or life.
What do I have to lose after all?
Fear of some sort is inherent in all of us, sometimes preventing us from taking calculated risks. One tactic I have used when facing fear is simple. I train my mind to remember that I came to the West with nothing but $30 in my pocket, and even if I feared something, I had nothing to lose. I took that attitude of what do I have to lose after all?, faced fear head-on, and moved forward with a positive attitude.
Being ambitious, determined, consistent, and hard-working has helped me overcome fear.
I became more confident as the years passed and learned to deal with fear of the unknown in a tempered way. In business, none of us is going to win all the time. We are going to fail a lot. So, whenever I lost a deal, I would not let fear come in the way. I would just sleep over it for a couple of days and come right back to doing the next thing on my list to do. This helped me immensely, because it left me ready to take on my next challenge without worrying over past failures, fears, and unknowns.
Fear is a constant in our lives
Fear, like aging, illness, and so on is a constant in our lives. We fear getting hurt, taking risks, flying, pandemic, and so many other daily fearful aspects of our lives. One good way to deal with these fears is to get a grip of what is holding us back, identify our anxieties, and handle them internally with positive thinking.
In business, establishing concrete, realistic goals and working hard towards achieving them will help us tackle fear of the unknown. Our lives can get disrupted in a moment’s notice, as the COVID-19 pandemic clearly exemplifies. However, by assessing the situation and taking concrete steps, we can tackle fear.
The best way to tackle fear: Embrace it!
The best way, I believe, to tackle fear is to embrace it instead of avoiding situations or people. When you try to escape from difficult situations or people, eventually, fear will take control of you. Instead, get ready to feel the discomfort, get yourself exposed to what is holding you back, and tackle it head-on. Each time you embrace fear, you learn new things, and you master new skills and improve your overall life.
Tips to face fear head-on
- Embrace fear – go ahead and deal with it instead of avoiding it.
- Get into the middle of things that you are afraid of and tinker with ideas and objects that cause fear in you.
- Train your mind to think that you probably have nothing to lose if you ventured into new territory.
- Have a sense of purpose and clarity. This will keep you laser-focused on what you want to accomplish and take the fear away.
- Be flexible and ready to pivot when uncertainty or the unknown hits you.
- Have a positive attitude and believe that you can take on any kind of fear.
- Think long-term, as this will help you to have a vision of where you want to be.