October 10, 2013
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

How I Overcame My Fears and Launched a Business Anyway

When I returned to school at Integrative Nutrition, I hadn’t worked in several years. My former job had been Vice President running a division for Chanel, Inc. – a high profile and successful career. 

But nothing prepares you for stepping off the treadmill to adopt an eight month-old baby from overseas, attending weekly play groups, starting a soccer team for toddlers, throwing birthday parties, and potty training. Come to think of it, that’s really when I should have been terrified.

The real terror came later at the thought of going back to school and pursuing my life long passion to work as an entrepreneur, running my own nutrition company. My passion was charged with expectations and the pressure of all my dreams coming true. The fear of failure and not being good enough haunted me. Here are my best tools for overcoming fear – I’m still using them every day. 

1. Recognize your fear and stand up to it.
I face fears almost every day in my business. Will my writing be good enough? Will I know what to say in this interview? What if I trip up on camera, or lose my confidence in front of the audience? I acknowledge those fears when I have them, and I do it anyway. I let the fear go, and access my confidence and strength instead. I sit or stand tall. I get out of my yoga clothes and dressed in an outfit that feels like what I’m projecting. I make a green juice, and center myself with a moment of meditation. Sometimes I go for a long walk in the sunshine. I do things that make me feel confident, secure, and strong.

2. Use humor.
When I get nervous, or if I’m in crisis, I use humor. In fact, the more nervous I am, the funnier I get. (I had the fire department in stitches the day my stove exploded!) Humor calms me down, and I laugh. If you’re not the joking type, think of something funny you heard recently. Access your smile and your funny bone. Laughing boosts endorphins that will help relax you and put things in perspective.

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3. Imagine yourself finished, happy and rewarded.
The Fox network flew me out to LA to film a segment for one of their shows, and it was the first time I’d flown anywhere to work on TV. I was terrified, and I felt like I had lead in my veins. The only way I got through this sheer terror was to imagine myself finished, enjoying a healthy meal and flying home, while watching one of my favorite movies. They were small rewards, but I focused on those little pleasures, knowing that they were guaranteed to happen.

And of course, I stood up straight, dressed the part and make a lot of jokes, too.

Holli Thompson, IIN class of 2009, is the creator of Nutritional Style, a global health and nutrition lifestyle movement. She is an author with a book coming out in 2014, a speaker, and a TV guest for several major networks. Connect with Holli on her website and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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