The Role of Fear in Your Practice

“Feel the fear and do it anyway” is a mantra I’ve lived the last 20 years of my life by. At 19, after my second hospitalization for an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety it finally clicked that my natural reaction to fear (i.e. avoidance), wasn’t necessarily the instinct I should follow. And while eating what was on my plate, putting myself out there, giving less than 100% in school, work, friendships full on terrified me, I realized I would be stuck forever if I didn’t push through.

We know this clinically, right? If our clients struggle with agoraphobia we aren’t like, “yeah, it’s a scary world out there. Obey that drive to stay home.” We don’t tell our couples to continue being passive and resentful in lieu of stating their needs. And yet, we let own fear stops us in our tracks with our businesses all the time.

Cold emailing strangers to network is scary, so we don’t. Having the “you have a deductible you haven’t met” conversation with a client is scary, so some of us pretend we’re fine with just the copay. Don’t even get me started on public speaking. And tackling the important tech stuff sends shivers of fear (or is that frustration?) down my spine.

You are not going to be comfortable with all that you need to do to build your practice. If you’re in a place in life where you need to not be challenged, I strongly discourage you from private practice.

It’s not about being fearless. I am never not going to be scared. I’m scared of something everyday and that’s not an exaggeration. Putting myself out there constantly (blogging, podcasting, webinars, public speaking, the FB group) is NOT natural for me; I am an outgoing extrovert but I don’t like being the center of attention.

Here’s the cool thing: I’ve built up a tolerance for fear. I notice it, but I know I can handle it because I’ve been handling it. Because I acknowledge that it’s there and make my choices in line with my values instead of my affect, I keep growing professionally and personally.

Now when I feel a surge of fear in specific business-stuff, beyond the normal nag that I experience daily, I actually run towards it. Podcasting scared the shit out of me. I literally wanted to hide under my covers the day it launched. In less than 3 months it hit 20,000 downloads (which is a lot), and I get emails about how it has been helpful for people all the time. Webinars also scared the shit out of me, so I learned what I could and just freaking did it and it’s allowed me to give more in-depth training than I can in a blog or the podcast. Plus, it has grown my business.

Fear in business is an indicator of where you can grow next.

What scary thing are you willing to do to continue moving forward? Let us know in the comments!


Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group, and get help from Allison and a small group of new, close friends in Abundance Practice-Building Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.



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