Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

face your fears

#BizConfidenceChallenge update!

How much would your business grow if you stopped letting self-doubt hold you back from doing what you most want to do? Join me for a FREE 6-week ecourse to build your confidence, crush self-doubt, and grow your business. At TaraSwiger.com/bizconfidence

Are you following along the #BizConfidenceChallenge? I have been blown away by the depth and brilliance of the replies so far. I wanted to celebrate this Confidence Journey we've started together, by highlighting a few of the replies here. You can find more on Instagram here. (If you can't see photos below, you might need to click through!)

If you haven't joined in yet, it's not too late! Just sign up here and reply to one of the past challenges (below) or start with the very next challenge! (You'll get the next lesson on Thursday and the next challenge on Monday.)


Challenge #1 of the BizConfidenceChallenge


Week 2:

Last week’s reaction to the #BizConfidenceChallenge blew me away. YOU have so much to be proud of, you have so much to build your confidence on! So…what’s up with the self-doubt? Why do you doubt you can do awesome things when you’ve already done SO MUCH? Often self-doubt (or lack of confidence) is tied to fear – we hold ourselves back (or think we're not good enough), not because we have any proof, but because we're afraid of … something. When I ask my clients and students what they're afraid of, the answer usually surprises them. (It's easy to let the fear rule you, without ever even knowing it's there!) And yet their answer never surprises me – I’ve either felt it myself, or talked to MANY makers who have! But once they identify the fear, we can work with it. We can question it, challenge it, or just allow it to hang around. (@Elizabeth_Gilbert_writer talks about letting your fear ride with your creativity in #bigmagic). That's your challenge this week: Look at WHAT lack-of-confidence is holding you back from. (Sharing your work? Social media? Sending a newsletter? Hiring help? Taking the next step?) Then ask: What am I afraid of? If I did the thing now, what am I afraid of happening? Finally ask: What's the WORST that can happen if that fear comes true? Could I survive it? And what's the REALISTIC outcome? This isn't (necessarily) going to dispel this fear forever, and that's not our goal. Our aim is to see it for what it is and RECOGNIZE THAT YOU CAN SURVIVE IT. You see, even the most confident, brave people feel fear (of being “found out”, of being judged, etc.). The difference is, they feel confident that they can handle it, and so the fear doesn’t keep them from doing what they need to do. ✨To take part in the challenge: Share a photo inspired by either *What your fear holds you back from doing in your biz *What you're afraid of *Your worst case scenario and tag it #BizConfidenceChallenge! New to the challenge? Learn more and sign up for free lessons in profile!

A photo posted by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

Know some friends who could use a confidence boost?

Share the challenge!

Are you afraid of being “big”?


The past couple weeks on the podcast I've been talking about issues that come up when you've been in business for a while and you've started to grow: boundaries and scaling challenges. This is stuff that my students are dealing with, as they grow beyond the “how to get any sales” questions. But I hesitate to talk about these  “advanced” business issues, because I don't want to scare you off, if you're not there yet.

I hear from younger businesses all the time, who get tangled up  trying to solve these issues before they need to. They're worried about boundaries and how many people they'll have to deal with when they “get big.” They worry about scaling up their production, before they sell one thing. They're worried about getting help before they need it.

Do you do this?

Are you afraid of what will happen when you get bigger? Do you stop yourself from taking opportunities or pursuing possibilities because you're not sure how it'll all work? Do you hesitate to dive deeper into marketing, because you worry it'll work TOO well?

If so, I've got one thing to say to you:

Stop it.

Really. Stop it. *

Don't borrow problems you don't have.

Don't worry about what will happen if you “someday” get big.

It's not preparing you. It's not making you ready.

It's getting in your way.

When you start to worry about all that could go wrong if your business grew, you're going to hesitate to put in the hard work on growth activities. You're going to step back from challenging yourself with new goals.

And then you're going to wonder why it never worked out, why you never grew.

I get it.

I really really really do. I worried a lot (I still do!) about what would happen when my business grew. I worried that I was going to owe way too much in taxes. I worried that my thing could grow so big that people would have weird expectations of who I am and what I do.  I worried that I would get mean comments or emails. I worried that I would have to set boundaries and tell people no. I worried that I would make bad decisions, let people down, or totally ruin my life.

But guess what?

This can happen at ANY level of business! It can happen even if you don't have a business! (I have some traditionally-employed friends that could certainly use some stronger boundaries.)

And sure enough, I have experienced all of the above (except the ruined life bit. Haven’t done that). And I survived. In fact, it wasn’t nearly as bad once I got there.

But why bother?

Because you really really want a business, more than you want to live in fear.

You want to create something from your passion + smarts + hard work. You want to build something that is your own. You want freedom, creativity, or fun.

Whatever your reasons are, they are driving you to do this (sometimes scary) thing.

And this is what's cool:

Your business makes you stronger.

In order to keep building and growing, you'll have to face your fears. You'll have to grow past them. You'll have to dig deep and learn that you are more powerful than you thought.

All this growth and fear-wrangling, it makes you stronger everywhere – in business, in life, in relationships. You'll learn skills (like time management and boundary-setting) that you can apply to anything you do.

So don't worry about the challenges your business is going to bring. You don't have to solve all future possibilities right now.

Just solve the problem in front of you. Deal with the issues your business is having right now. (Too few sales? Fix your marketing! Never get enough done? Fix your time management!)

Don't be afraid of growing. Don't hold yourself back.

*If you can't seem to stop worrying about future challenges, look at what you're afraid of and acknowledge it. Don't run from the fears, look at them and work through them.

I'm not a therapist, but here's how I work with fears in my life:

List them.

Look at each one and ask: where did it come from?

Forgive this situation and send it (or the past you that experienced it) lots of love.

Look for ways to make yourself feel safe (without crushing your ambition).

This is an ongoing process, but the more you make it part of the work of growing your business, the less the fears will be able to sneakily sideline you.