Are You Letting Fear Hold You Back?

May 22, 2019

Yesterday was my last university graduation. After nearly 17 years as a professor at Rutgers University, I’m walking away from my tenured Associate Professor position to follow my dreams and continue to grow Northeast K9 Conditioning. All of this became possible because I turned my passion into an online business and found a way to push through my fears.

There were fears of losing the financial security that comes from having a tenured faculty position, fear of losing my Rutgers’ job benefits and fear of stepping into an unknown future.

Many people choose to let their fear control them. I know there were a number of times I wondered if I were crazy for leaving my university position, but then I thought of the alternative. The alternative was never being able to live out my dreams and never being able to move to Mount Desert Island, Maine. The alternative was living the rest of my life with the question of “what if?” and thinking to myself, “Is this it???” For me, living with the alternative was NOT an option, and so I knew I had to push through my fears.

Since so many people have shared with me how their own fears are holding them back from reaching their goals and dreams, I thought I’d share with you some tips that helped me have the courage to move forward and embrace change. Below are three simple tips that you can use any time you find fear holding you back.

1) Name it! - Recognize the fear that you have and name it! Identify exactly what’s preventing you from taking those bold steps forward. Once you name the fear, you can then begin to take the action steps that are needed to eliminate it. I recognized that one of my fears was being able to make enough money to replace my university salary and benefits. This was VERY big and scary in my mind! Another fear was not being able to have an online business that could be sustained for many years to come.

2) Reframe it! - Change the way you think about fear and the stories that you tell yourself about it. Instead of letting fear control me, I reframed it in my mind so that it couldn’t hold me back. I reminded myself that it’s human nature to want to stay comfortable, and I reminded myself that I will never be able to grow as a person and a business owner if I never leave my comfort zone. There were also times when I told myself that my feelings weren’t fear; they were actually excitement. Do you know that fear and excitement can produce the same physiological response and chemical reactions in our bodies? Science has shown that we can actually change our patterns of thoughts and the associations that we make to feelings! I took my fear, reframed it and even renamed it!

3) Take action! - Once you name your fear and begin to reframe it, the next step is to take action to make those fears go away. Creating a strategy to move forward and than taking action can eliminate fear. Let me give you an example. In my mind, giving up my Rutgers’ paycheck and university benefits seemed completely crazy; however, I decided to hire a financial advisor to help me figure out what exactly I needed to do financially so that my online business could totally replace my university job. Mapping out exactly what I needed to do to replace things like retirement benefits and health insurance and looking closely at the numbers gave me the clarity I needed to take steps forward. Using these numbers to inform my end goal, I then put business strategies in place to diversity my income. This way I was not “putting all my eggs into one basket,” and was therefore designing a business with more financial security. Having more clarity about my financial situation and taking action on my new business plan greatly reduced the fear that I had about leaving Rutgers. Taking action is powerful!!!

Finally, I want to add that in addition to the three tips listed above, there are a few more very important things that you need to consider when facing fear and planning action. First, make sure you surround yourself with supportive and positive people who don’t feed into your fears. Second, when you are afraid to take steps forward, imagine the alternative. What’s more important, achieving your goals and dreams or staying in your comfort zone? Third, embrace change. This is how we grow, and how we can ultimately live the life that we were meant to lead!

So, where do things stand for you? Are you struggling to reach your goals and dreams? Are you letting fear hold you back? Are you looking for ways to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence for moving forward? If yes, tell me about it! I’d love to hear from you and support you on this journey!!


P.S. Looking for some motivation and support as you work towards your canine fitness and/or business goals? Come join my Facebook communities if you aren't already a member! We set and celebrate weekly fitness goals in my group "Get Fit & Active with Your Dog." Are you more business minded and want support growing and expanding your business? If yes, come join my group "Canine Business Secrets of Online Success"!


I chaired Mary's dissertation committee, and she graduated with her doctorate in education! Congratulations, Mary!

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