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How To Overcome The Fear Of Leaving Your Corporate Job For Entrepreneurship (Part 2)

Written by: Kathy Grassett, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Why is it so damn hard to walk away from your soul-sucking corporate job when you’re sick and tired of waking up each morning to face what’s in store for you there that day? When it no longer serves you and you know deep down that you’re meant for so much more? Or, worse yet, when it’s compromising your health and spirit? In Part 1 of this article, I shared that the problem isn’t money. Nor is it time, energy, age, skill level, or any of the other excuses you use to avoid making a change. The reason you’re stuck where you are is fear. And three of the biggest overarching fears that are holding you back are fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of the loss of self-dominance. In this article, I share the simple strategies to overcome each: obtain clarity, build confidence, and gain control. It is possible to leave your corporate career, build a profitable business around your expertise, and completely reinvent your career without overwhelming, crippling self-doubt, and taking gigantic risks. And you must know that it’s possible for you too.

businesswoman employee holding a box of her personal belongings in upset and sad.

Obtain Clarity

The strategy to overcome the fear of the unknown is to obtain clarity. The unknown represents the absence of information. So, to resolve the absence of information, we must seek, study, discover, reflect, research, and reveal the information we need to make the unknown known. And when we know what we’re dealing with, good or bad, we can take action. Clarity gives you purpose and direction. So, it’s time to get clear about three important factors:

The Real You

Corporate suppressed the real you. Granted, there may be some aspects of corporate in which you excelled or that you enjoyed because you have certain skills, natural talents, or personality traits that make you well suited for the job. Otherwise, you couldn’t have created such a successful career for yourself. But, at the end of the day, you were still conforming to someone else’s standards and working toward someone else’s vision. You weren’t fully allowed to express yourself and work in a way that was completely aligned with your core values or creative passions, nor rewarded sufficiently for the value you provided.

You must peel back those corporate layers that protected you and served you well to operate in a corporate environment and rediscover the real you underneath. That person emerging from the shadow is the individual you want leading your 6-figure business. Else, nothing will ever feel genuine. Your business will feel forced and inauthentic. Forging ahead in your business as someone you’re not, whether you’re trying to or not, can have dramatic and far-reaching consequences.

This is your opportunity to be totally, utterly, completely you and design and grow your business in a way that’s perfect for you. Authenticity is so important. So, take what you rediscover about yourself and start applying it to your business.

Fears and Limiting Beliefs

Do successful CEOs experience fear and limiting beliefs, the two biggest killers of any dream? Absolutely! What they don’t do, however, is operate their businesses from a place of fear and doubt. Now, they don’t have anything special that you don’t have. They simply know how to rise above the noise and reframe any situation into something more positive and uplifting or, at the very least, take action despite the little gremlins in their heads.

To keep your fears and limiting beliefs from sabotaging your success, you need to acknowledge them. Find out where they’re coming from. Understand them. Appreciate them for their intention to keep you safe. And even celebrate them, because if you’re feeling the resistance they bring, it means you’re on the verge of breaking out of your comfort zone and doing new and exciting things that are needed to achieve your goals. That is, after all, why they surface. Everything you desire is outside of your comfort zone.

Once you identify the fears and limiting beliefs holding you back, question them. Poke holes in them. Truly see that they aren’t based on factual evidence and are, instead, completely illogical and useless. Because it makes it a lot harder to succumb to the resistance that fear brings when you understand its baseless foundation. And no CEO would intentionally and purposefully move forward based on such a rocky foundation.

Your Business Vision

Turn your attention to defining what you want professionally, ideally enhancing and maximizing those things that set your soul on fire and minimizing or eliminating those things that don’t. Who do you really love working with? How do you like providing your services? Do you prefer one-on-one client work or groups? What marketing activities are most enjoyable for you? Is Pinterest your social media preference? Do you love to speak at conferences? Figure out what you love and prefer doing in your business and stick to those things. Because if you’re not a fan of a business or marketing strategy you’re employing, your energy will drop, and it will come out in everything you do. Potential clients will pick up on it and they will not be convinced.

Choose the path you want to pursue, or, at the very least, the path you want to explore to confirm it’s the right path for you. Formulate a crystal-clear goal for your future that serves as your north star as you set out on your journey.

And once you have the goal, you develop a thorough and thoughtful plan outlining what you need to do to reach it. You start with obvious things that you know you’ll need to do along the way, and you add to it over time as you research and learn about the not-so-obvious things you’ll also have to accomplish. A plan is never perfect, especially when you first create one, and, quite frankly, a plan is usually never “done” because you continue to learn and adjust it throughout the entire journey. But you still must put one together.

Build Confidence

The strategy to overcome the fear of failure is to build confidence. If the fear of failure is attributed to low self-esteem, then it stands to reason that raising self-esteem is in order. Having confidence during a big change is essential to keeping the momentum going despite obstacles and setbacks. You need to believe that you are capable, that you are safe, and that you are worthy. Confidence empowers you and you become unstoppable.

Most people believe that if they only work up some confidence first, then they’ll be able to take the necessary steps on their entrepreneurial journey, whatever those steps are for them. Cultivating confidence and certainty is easier said than done for many people. It takes a huge leap of faith to start a business and it takes an even larger step to get out of the shadows and market yourself as the solution to someone’s problems. With this thinking, confidence should lead to these actions that are going to take them places.

But the opposite thought is actually true. Action leads to confidence, not the other way around. If you wait until you feel confident, you may never take the next step because it’s hard to become confident doing something you’ve never done before. With each step, though, you experience firsthand what that step is like, you learn, you realize it’s not that bad, and you take the next step. With each step, you grow a little more confident. It builds up over time. Each experience serves you more proof that you can do this. The more proof you have, the more confident you become. So, it’s important to take a step forward first, no matter how small or imperfectly, and look for proof that you’ve got this. And when that self-doubt rears its ugly head, refer to all that evidence you’re acquiring.

Gain Control

If the fear of loss of self-dominance is about feeling like you’ve lost control of your entrepreneurial journey, then the strategy to overcome it is to implement control strategies that let you influence your direction on your terms. The feeling of a loss of control is alleviated by establishing that control, monitoring your progress, and course-correcting as you go. Control allows you to proactively take responsibility for your journey and do what needs to be done rather than let life direct you.

To implement control, you must organize your time effectively and efficiently. You must create an optimized schedule that focuses on your highest priorities and allows you to make magic happen every day by aligning your actions and decisions with what’s most important right now. Each day is an opportunity to move the needle a little bit closer to your goal. If you spend your day defeated, unorganized, and unprepared, you will waste it, always wanting more but not being able to obtain it. But spend it empowered, organized, and ready to take on the world, and you become unstoppable.

Once you know who you are as a person, you’re taming your fears and limiting beliefs, you’ve declared what you want and don’t want in your business, and you’ve got a plan and routine to execute your vision – you must implement boundaries to protect and control it all. Setting boundaries is the key to maintaining the delicate balance you establish to live and work the way you want. Boundaries are simply the limits around what you will and won’t do, who you interact with and how, and what gets your attention. With business boundaries in place, you’ll show up better for yourself, with your friends, family, and clients, and your business has a much better chance to grow.

Leaving corporate to start a business can seem like a scary, overwhelming feat. But focusing on overcoming your fears with clarity, confidence, and control can significantly increase your chance of entrepreneurial success, where you’ll make a lot more money with a lot less effort, in a way that is powerfully authentic to you.

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Kathy Grassett, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kathy Grassett is a business coach, speaker, and leader specializing in career reinvention, business growth, and money mastery after a life in corporate. After a successful 20-year corporate career in IT, she had trouble adjusting to life as an entrepreneur and realized her lingering corporate identity was limiting her potential. Kathy now teaches clients her strategies for shedding the corporate layers that are holding them back and creating a simple but lucrative business model that will power them into exciting new levels of impact & income. Kathy’s mission is to help her clients surpass their corporate success by making a lot more money with a lot less effort in a way that is powerfully authentic to them.



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