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Conquering the Fear of the Unknown: Starting Your Business Today

I wanted to do a blog that touches on something that has been coming up for a few different people that I have been talking to: the fear of the unknown and resistance. This is something that I feel like I have a hard time talking about sometimes because I don't know if it's my personality type but I'm a very "action-oriented person". I don't really pause before I decide to do something. I just do it and get right down to business. I know that that's not everybody. There are a lot of people out there who take a little bit of time to make a decision. I want to bridge the gap between the two a bit and help you if you or somebody right now who's feeling resistant or in a weird gray area.

Some of the things we discuss may help you make some decisions moving forward. One of the biggest things that I feel like I hear from a lot of clinicians or therapists that are new to starting a practice or business is the fear of the unknown. Whenever I ask people why they haven't started yet and what's holding them back from starting now, it's always:

"Well, I don't know what's going to happen."
"I don't know how it's gonna go."
"I don't know if I can get patients."
"I don't know how to start a business."
"I can't treat on my own."
"What do I do?"

That's something that will hold people back a lot, the fear of the unknown or even their own imposter syndrome. I think a lot of us like to be as prepared as humanly possible for everything that we could possibly be doing. So jumping into something that you don't already have hours and hours of experience doing can be really scary. That fear of the unknown, I feel, really holds people back a lot.

Does this sound like you?

  • You feel like you are in a place of being really resistant because of the unknown

  • You don't put aside the time to work on your practice right now

  • You're not willing to invest in yourself, (new equipment, new software, hiring somebody, hiring a business coach, investing time or money) because you don't know what to do

  • You don't know what the outcome is going to be

This blog is for you! Stay with me and let's conquer this fear of the unknown!

Time for a little thought experiment

This is one of the first things that I like to ask people to think about. Right now you're afraid of the unknown and don't know what's gonna happen. It's making you feel resistant. It might be making you not take action and also might make you feel like you're doing a lot of busy work and not a lot of like meaningful work. Things are just weird because you are really worried that if you hire a business coach, you hire a PT or an admin at your practice, you put yourself out there on the Internet or in public to promote your services, you start a practice from the ground up, you're worried what will happen. You don't know. So here's a thought experiment:

I want you to think about what is the absolute worst thing that could happen. It would be excellent bonus points if you journal this, (sometimes writing things out can be really helpful too). What's the worst thing that could happen if you do X,Y, and Z. I'll call myself out on this.

What is the worst thing that could happen if you were to hire a business coach? I have hired business coaches and some have been good ones and some were not really the best fit for me. The worst thing that could possibly happen is feeling like you're just a number in a group coaching program or feeling like the program itself is not a good fit for you.

I have spent a good amount of money on a business coaching program and it was not a good fit. It was for an outcome that was completely different than what I wanted to do, so of course some of that's on me. However, when I tried to express the fact that I felt like I wanted to do something else, I felt like the coaches on the other end didn't really take that to heart. It wasn't a good fit at all, and I felt like I was stuck. Hiring a business coach at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons can also cause some problems. You can learn more about that in 3 Reasons Why I Would Not Hire a Business Coach.

The other thing was that I felt that I had spent a good amount of money but I could have learned all of the same stuff on my own. It didn't really get me there any faster than what I would have done on my own, which is a big deal. That's a whole reason to invest in business coaching or marketing programs save you time. If you're investing money, you need to be saving time. If it's not saving you any time and you're not really getting any other benefit out of it, then it's not worth the money. The worst thing that could possibly happen with this instance, in my opinion, is that it's not what you ended up wanting it to be and then the people on the other end are not willing to work with you on that. It's not really worth it in the end. That's the worst thing that could happen.

Now time for the best thing!

Then the best thing that could possibly happen! This could be like one of my clients earlier this year who generated over $15K in sales while we were working together. I've had multiple people in their first couple of months opening a cash based practice do $7-8K per month. That's the best thing that could happen!

Those are the two questions that I really would urge you to ask yourself and I love this because when you consider what's the worst thing that could happen if you grow your own practice versus what's the best thing that could happen, you have a range.

This is the mind-blowing thing. Now you have a range where you know both ends of the spectrum and then anything that happens will most likely fall somewhere in the middle, if not towards the better side of things.

Now you know what could happen, so the fear of the unknown is now gone! This is really helpful for those of us who are really wrapped up in the "I don't know what's going to happen if X Y Z, so I'm just not going to take any action because I'm worried about what could happen." Just keep remembering: what's the worst that could happen? What's the best thing? Now you have a range and now all of the possibilities are within that range, and you've taken the unknown to the known. It's no longer a mystery!

Now that we've conquered the fear... Your next step

We have that fear of the unknown conquered. Now the other thing that I really want to urge you to ask yourself: What will happen if...

  • I don't try this?

  • I don't start a practice?

  • I don't invest in a coach?

  • I don't buy that plinth that's been in my Amazon cart for six months? 🙋‍♀️

For a lot of us here, if you're in a place where you're just starting a practice and you're in that thought experiment. The worst thing that could happen is starting a practice, never getting any patients, and maybe losing $1,000. Best thing that could happen: you could make enough money to replace your income and then you can leave the job that's been making you miserable for a really long time. Now, what is going to happen if you don't try that? We can do this with any kind of situation.

If you don't do this, what is that going to lead to? I know for me, if I had stayed in my first job that made me miserable enough on a daily basis that I would cry every day on my lunch break if I had stayed. I don't know where I would have been at this time if I did not try to open my own practice. I know that my mental health was suffering quite a bit, so I don't know what would have happened if I had not decided to do that. What is the cost of staying on the edge of the cliff versus making the decision to jump off into the unknown? Is it worth that? Are you going to look back and regret trying or not trying? It's something to really think about.

"How do you take away the fear of the unknown? I always try to think about the worst and the best but then I get fearful of the worst thing happening."

I think a lot of us are wired this way for survival to an extent. You're not alone! A lot of people feel that way. We get paralyzed by the fear of the worst thing happening. However, what if the best thing happens? Are you going to take your chances on a 50/50 split of the best thing happening or are you going to not take any action because of this fear of the worst thing happening... that hasn't even happened yet? It's not based in reality. It's just your thoughts projecting onto what could happen. Then, you look back 10 years from now and wonder, "What if I HAD tried?"

I hope that's helpful for taking away the fear of the unknown. Consider the worst and the best and then you have a range of all the possibilities that could happen. Now you know and you have to say, "Am I okay with this? I know that the worst thing that could happen if I start my practice might be that I get no patients and I'm down $1,000. I still have my full-time job (part-time job, PRN job, whatever). I can still go out and get a job and earn the money back." That's it! That's the worst thing that could happen.

If I can go back and talk to myself 2-3 years ago, I would still feel the same way. I would still say, "give it a shot. Just wait. In the next two years you are going to do really, really amazing things and basically replace your full-time PT income!"

If you've been struggling with this fear of the unknown, it's paralyzing you, and making you not take action or make decisions, I want to encourage you to sit down write out:

  • The worst thing that could happen

  • The best thing that could happen

  • Understand the range of the possibilities of things that could happen

  • Then decide if you're going to stay where you are and not take action or are you signing up for this range of possibilities? Are you going to take action anyway and learn as you go?

At least you then tried and you still have a possibility on the table of the best thing happening. If you're feeling like you're in a place where it's a lot of resistance and a lot of fear, we need to figure out a way to look at it more objective way instead of cowering behind the feelings of fear. Use your fear as fuel. Sometimes that's a lot more powerful than considering the worst thing that could happen.

Make your move

If this sounds like you and you need some help going through your options, click here to schedule a consult with me. We can talk through your range so you can conquer that fear and start your business today!

Listen to this episode on my podcast!

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