We all have phobias of one sort or another. Sometimes we know where they originated, others just appear out of nowhere. Since I moved into this house a few weeks ago, I have had to face quite a few long-ingrained fears of my own. The main reason for this is I am here by myself and there is no one to call to save me, and well, Shadow just looks at me when I ask him to help.

Yesterday, I had to change a lightbulb. A seemingly innocuous household task. However, this socket is recessed in a vaulted ceiling. The ladder sat in the living room for almost a week waiting for me to muster the courage to climb it. I got to the third rung and was just short of reaching the socket. Just one more rung would do it, but I was paralyzed with fear. For ten minutes, I stood on that third rung, clinging to the ladder for dear life, talking myself through the fear. The conversation went something like this:

“Seriously, Rayanne. What do you think is going to happen if you step up one more rung? For Pete’s sake, you’re four feet off the ground. The ladder is going nowhere, and even if it does, you might scratch your knee. Move it!”

Finally, I stepped and reached the socket. The ladder stayed put and the light bulb now proudly illuminates the room. This entire exercise got me to thinking about how we allow fear to control our lives.

Governing bodies have used fear for centuries to control people. First, make them afraid of it, then it appears they have solved a problem for you. The fear is alleviated and no one complains about the loss of liberty. It’s genius.

What about you? How have you allowed fear to control you? I have spoken with people who are afraid of losing their job. Others do not take chances in life, work, or business for fear of failure.

Being afraid – or fearful – is okay and a perfectly human emotion. How do you handle it? Do you face it and do the frightening thing anyway or do you turn away in favor of a safer option? I think this is what separates the proverbial entrepreneur from the technician. The entrepreneur does it anyway. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. In my business, I have done some pretty scary things that in hindsight were some of the best decisions I ever made.

Now, if I could just overcome my fear of spiders…