How do I manage a fear of loss?
I fear loss twice as much as I relish success. What is needed to get that bigger gain to compensate for the loss?
In business: It's not good enough to sell just one case, I want to get referrals, repeat orders, or even sign a short term/seasonal contract. Am I expecting too much?
This fear of loss expands to other aspects of life, such as joining clubs, becoming acquainted with new people or groups.
Just keep moving forward. The biggest thing I have learned is that there are always both ups and downs. When entering a down, know there will be an up again.
"nothing ventured, nothing gained"/ "we have nothing to fear but fear itself"/ etc.
there are many quotes of encouragement that can be made, and many books that can be read to encourage, yet at the end--and beginning!--of each day is the courage to face the day knowing that you choose--not someone else--how to respond to each situation and circumstance.
as creatures of habit (we all are with something!) often times we have been conditioned to react according to how we have responded in the past; boxing fighters and musicians each have 'conditioned muscular reflexes' which improve performance. the downside of that for a boxer is his response becomes predictable to an opponent--never a good thing in any fight!
There is no downside for the musician.
much of what we fear in decision making is based on what we've experienced of the past--conditioning. I encourage you to examine whatever conditioning that is---without value judgement regarding it being "good" or "bad"---and refresh yourself to ask the question: "is this how I want to respond/approach this question/opportunity today?".
Invest in secure and diverse stocks and bonds to mitigate losses. Have a variety of smaller accomplishments that can never be taken away (i.e. write a book) and use those things as the stability of accomplishments and ownership.
I think a key is to try to trace back where this fear of loss stems from. Many of us have had bad experiences not only in business but in life. It is very easy for those things to haunt us, especially when making decisions in our business or evaluating risk. As an investor, I look for an 80/20 rule. I recognize that I may make a bad decision; however, if I can minimize those decisions to 20 percent of the time and win 80 percent of the time, overall its a win. Many people become closed and the fear of loss or mistake stops them from growing. If I let past mistakes affect me to the point of being closed or hesitating, I wouldn't have the 20 percent losses, but I wouldn't have the wins either. Just remember to focus on the outcome if you do expand your business and succeed.
You are not alone in this area, most people work out of fear as a driver to what they do. Many leaders have unfortunately, made people feel that if they don't perform they will be fired. People tend not to accept failure or someone that doesn't get it right the first time. The reality, that is so far from what will actually help you succeed.
Failure should be used to learn and ignite our future victories. We need to understand that every "no" is one step closer to "yes." Each time we fall we learn what not to do, take that and change your process. You will improve.
Progress depends on our principles, and our attitude. It is a choice we make to step forward in faith and go for it. If we never try, we will never win. Winners never quit. If you aren't in a club today, or have made a sale today...and you go for it and don't get it...you are actually better off than you are today. You may not have achieved the sale or joined the club, but you learned something to help you for the next time.
I have to end this with a plug...my book, Refined by Fire, is a great resource full of concepts and practical things you can and should do to be successful....foxpoint.net is where you can get it.
If life circumstances were such that a person developed something like Borderline Personality Disorder, it's conceivable navigating the business world would be that much harder for that person. No solutions to offer as there are many good answers here, but maybe just knowing about something like this may help people recognize ah, this is what is Really going on, and here's the framework to address this. Which may be different than for those with garden variety fear of loss.
There are already some great comments.I particularly liked what J. Kris Halley, Randal DeHart and Hal Lumley have said.
I would add my bit of reflections here:
As they say, whatever we feed, strengthens.
If we feed 'fear', it will grow.
Fear comes from a perceived failure of expectations or not getting the desired outcomes.
I present following perspectives:
1. Outcome is a probability which is influenced by many variables.
2. In our planning process, we try to visualise as many variables that we can think of and then put an action plan around them.
3. When we implement the plan and still do not get results as anticipated, it causes disappointment and distress.
4. Recurring experiences start creating lack of confidence and fear even to think of a new strategy, let alone new initiative.
How do we bust this ?
1. Go back to the drawing board- re-examine variables and assumptions. Did you cover them all ? Or you missed on some vital few?
2. Whether your earlier assumptions were realistic enough? How do they look after you add your experiential wisdom?
3. Acknowledge acceptance of fear - fear arises out of ego and ego is meant for self preservation.
4. Fear usually is our imagination of something happening in future. Bring the focus on 'Now'.
5. What is your situation 'Now' ? Are you thinking, breathing, reflecting and alive?
6. Turn your attention on your inner resourcefulness rather on the outcome
7. Take the heaviness out of the situation. Lightness and humour creates space for creativity and fresh thinking.
8. Think 'Process', 'Learning' and 'Success' rather than Result/Outcome. We cannot determine the outcome, but we can give our 110% to the process.
9. Good old 'Patience' is still a great virtue.
All the best :-)
Julie, fear particularly during you first few years is not only natural, but healthy business wise. Fear will keep you from doing real stupid stunts, detrimental to your business's health. try to place your self in your customers shoes, They are after all your business bottom line, are they not? Sales is a slippery slope from time to time, loss can be missing stock, either warehoused or right off your selves. It can also be non-sales, with increasing stock piling.
But in any scenario, it can be helpful, if you choose to look at it in this manner.
It can direct your attention, toward to the right solutions. Loss through theft equate security changes. No sales mean decreasing prices to get the flow restarted. I really would not worry to much about loss right away. This comes with time and exprience.
When I want to understand a client for personal development I need to learn two things, 1) What are you most afraid of and, 2) What hurts you the most? People are all driven by these questions and rhe answers are the key to success but is unlikely that discovery and strategy to overcome will be found in random suggestions or a few paragraphs. It sits at the core of who you are and if you are serious about overcoming fear you need to appreciate the process of discovery, understanding, acceptance and a coping first then a conquering strategy.
Julie, you have a vast range of answers from wonderful people who support and understand the fear of loss, and who have also experienced what you feel. I too would like to three thoughts to this.
1. Instead of focusing on loss, what do you believe are your options to create success, to get the referrals, repeat orders, etc.? List them and look at them every day.
2. If you did fail, in one area, what would that mean? Is your thinking really about the reality of your loss or based on some assumptions or limiting beliefs you have about yourself?
3. Work with a coach to reinforce your abilities, to work with your fear and provide a path or plan forward.
Best of luck.