What could you achieve if fear wasn’t holding you back?
- Write your book?
- Pivot your career?
- Start your business?
- Launch your YouTube channel or podcast?
- Position yourself as a thought leader in your niche?
Or would you do any number of other incredible things that are currently only a daydream in your mind?
I’ve worked with everyone from aspiring content creators, bootstrapped solopreneurs, VC-backed founders, and entrepreneurs with millions of subscribers and annual revenue—and the most common limiting beliefs they all struggle with are what I call the Four Horsemen of Fear (read Part 1 on the Four Horsemen of Fear here).
Collectively, the Four Horsemen of Fear can cause us to self-sabotage, which prevents us from putting ourselves or our ideas out into the world.
But fighting them isn’t the way forward.
It’s easy to think we have to fully conquer all of our fears before we can succeed, but this traps us in a cycle of fighting our fear instead of moving forward.
We can actually learn to let fear guide us toward fulfillment.
But first, we have to understand how to renegotiate our relationship with the Four Horsemen of Fear—to turn them into allies instead of antagonists.
Here are two things to understand about them…
The Four Horsemen of Fear Are a Sign We’re on the Right Path
When I had a normal 9-5 job, the Horsemen never showed up.
I enjoyed parts of my job, but it wasn’t fulfilling. From the time I clocked out in the evening to when I clocked in the next morning, I didn’t think about work at all.
I wasn’t emotionally invested in the work I was doing.
But when I became an entrepreneur? The Horsemen showed up big time.
- Constant insecurity about if my business would fail.
- Constant worry people would hate my content.
- Constant stress about which decision was “right.”
- Constant internal battles around my ideas of success and whether someone “like me” was worthy of it.
Then I realized, the Four Horsemen of Fear were a sign I was on the right path.
- They showed up when I pushed against my growth edges.
- They showed up when I was emotionally invested in my work.
- They showed up when I was doing something that mattered in the world.
When I started embracing them as allies instead of fighting against them as antagonists, I could see the path they were trying to guide me toward—the path of fulfillment.
But like any guide, they don’t just show you the path once and abandon you…
The Four Horsemen of Fear Keep Showing Up
The Horsemen stay with you, handing you off to the next Horsemen to guide you on the next part of your journey. Over and over in a never-ending cycle throughout anything worthwhile we do in life and business.
Here’s what I mean…
Fear of Failure
When you start a project, Fear of Failure might pop up to make you question whether this project is viable.
“What if this fails?”
Instead of letting this question turn into crippling self-doubt, we can use Fear Inoculation to answer it.
Well, what if it does?
How will you recover? What can you learn from it? What can you do to prevent failure? Maybe you decide to presell your course before investing tons of money and time building it before you even know if anyone wants it enough to give you their money.
*Side note: if you want a quick guide on how I approach preselling, check out Creator Economics 101: How to De-Risk and De-Stress Your Creator Business.
By embracing Fear of Failure, you realize all the ways you can preemptively avoid it and you walk away with a specific plan to succeed.
With these insights, you’re way less likely to be caught off guard by setbacks, and even if they happen, you’ll be more resilient and adaptable.
Fear of Ridicule
Maybe after you deal with this initial fear, Ridicule pops up.
“What will my audience think about this offer? Will they like it? Will they think I’m just trying to milk them for money? Will they lose respect for me? What if this ruins my reputation?”
Fear of Ridicule is trying to help you determine if you deeply believe in this decision.
Maybe your response is, “Some people might judge me, but I deeply believe this will add value to my ideal audience’s lives. And I know it will resonate with them. I’ll be proud to put my name behind this.”
By embracing Fear of Ridicule, you realize you’re on the right path and have made the right decision for the right reason.
With these insights, you’re able to focus on building things and sharing ideas you truly believe in.
Fear of Uncertainty
After you learn your lessons from Failure and Ridicule, you might feel good.
But as you start building, Fear of Uncertainty pops up and causes you to question which tech stack is the “best” to commit to.
After wracking your brain and doing endless research, you realize there isn’t a “perfect” solution—every tech stack has issues.
By embracing Fear of Uncertainty, you realize the best route is to pursue viability over perfection.
With these insights, you’re able to find a tech stack that’s “good enough” to get the job done, so you can move on and take action to build it.
Fear of Success
Ok, you’ve finally pushed through the first three Horsemen and you’re approaching the finishing line—you can see victory dead ahead.
Fear of Success is waiting just before the finish line and asks you to consider if victory is worth it.
“What if success changes me for the negative? What’s on the other side of extreme success? What if I don’t recognize myself anymore? What if being the underdog is my secret weapon and success will mean losing that edge?”
Fear of Success is guiding you to weigh not only the cost to achieve success, but also the hidden cost of success—the price you’ll pay after achieving it. It’s trying to help you avoid the path of Lucrative Misery!
If you can look at the final Horsemen and say, “Yes, success is worth it. And I’ll do everything I can to make sure I succeed on my terms instead of letting it corrupt or change me.”
By embracing Fear of Success, you realize what you’re really getting yourself into and mentally preparing yourself for the good, the bad, and the ugly of what true success entails.
With these insights, you’re able to pursue success with both eyes open.
Then as you move onto the next project you’re emotionally invested in, the Horsemen will swing back around—constantly guiding you forward if you can embrace them instead of ignoring or fighting them.
What could you do if fear wasn’t stopping you?
Perhaps a better question is, how can you embrace fear to transform it into a guide toward fulfillment?
I used to think the Four Horsemen of Fear were holding me back—because they do hold most people back. But only because we don’t know how to deal with them.
They’re not trying to hold us back.
They’re trying to guide us forward.
But they do this by making us question ourselves, our aspirations, and our abilities.
If we want to overcome the Four Horsemen of Fear, we have to embrace them for what they are—allies guiding us toward fulfillment.