Business, Utah

Overcoming Fear in Business

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A conversation with Jen Bowen and Emily Read

of Keller Williams Salt Lake City

By: Jed Pearson


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 Just about every person that undertakes the risk of working for themselves has had to overcome some kind of moment where things didn’t quite make sense, was overwhelming, or a goal seemed difficult to obtain. In this series, we are having real conversations with real small business owners that starts with a simple question. How did you overcome fear to find success? In today’s interview, we speak with Jen Bowen and Emily Read about their new partnership, and how they used goals to achieve success.  Do you have a dream of starting a business? Have you ever seen someone doing something and thought, “I could do that?” All of us have, but what is it that provides those roadblocks within us that keeps us from taking steps or making goals? 

That something is fear. In this series, we are looking to delve into this subject by talking with real entrepreneurs within our communities that have managed to overcome roadblocks to find meaning in their work, which ultimately led to success.  Meaning is a big thing. It could be argued that happiness is bred from success, but we would argue that success comes in finding a larger meaning within your work. That is what is meant to be achieved with a simple mission statement, and it is perhaps why sometimes we struggle with putting our dreams into action--or struggle with even crafting a mission statement. Passion is paramount, as passion delves into meaning.

Jen Bowen and Emily Read were gracious enough to delve into this subject with Mouvemedia and provided a lot of great insight through their personal entrepreneurial journey.  They decided to team up in business and in discussion with them about why, I gathered the same responses in why having somebody to help hold you accountable is important. There are a few reasons for this. The first being how critical we are of ourselves, especially if we have passion. Passion is important, but so is somebody to help you get out of your own head and inspire you to keep working.

“For us it was one plus one equals five,” said Emily, “whether it be a mentor or someone you go into business with, find a person that is going to help hold you accountable and inspire you to continue to move forward, set goals and accomplish them.”  How does that play into fear? Fear often keeps us from doing things, so having somebody to keep you grounded and out of a fear is a great way to feel like you can keep moving forward or accomplishing our goals. If you want to do something, find somebody that is already doing something similar, ask to learn from them, or find a person that you can team up with and divide responsibility with strengths that fill your weaknesses. Sometimes that means looking outside of your circle.
This point from Jen is a great way to approach things in how we approach educating ourselves. “If you feel like you are the smartest person in a room, you are in the wrong room,” she says.  “Find somebody that you admire, reach out to them. Ask them questions. Find people that can mentor you and help your personal self in growth. As an entrepreneur, there is direct financial compensation associated with your own personal growth, while you may feel like that is less important, it is ultimately your skills and YOU that you are selling, especially if there is what makes you human behind what you are doing. Passion and drive will inevitably put your personality into what you do. People will latch onto genuineness in most cases.”  
Emily’s thoughts echo this sentiment, especially as it pertains to overcoming our fear of approaching strangers. “That’s one thing that has always struck me--people are always afraid of how others perceive them. What I’ve found through the years is that’s not really what’s going on, because those people are having the same thoughts and same worries about how you’re perceiving them. Nobody is coming to any conclusions about each other.”

“Go for it and get really good at managing yourself. Find a mentor, and remember that you are only new once. When you go into a new venture, realize that people are empathetic, maybe even more so when you are new. I used to train people when they were new at a sales job I used to have. Don’t fake it until you make it; don’t act like you know everything because people can read you and know that you are full of it. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I’m new at this.’ Be genuine, don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know, I’ll find out’,” followed Jen.  

“Some of my best mentors always said, “Fail forward fast, and perfection is the enemy,” said Jen. “There’s energy behind just doing it. That deals with fear too because the more you fail, the more you learn, the better you become and the more confidence you build and it’s just this power in momentum, it’s kind of the law of inertia, getting to the place where you realize that every single failure benefits you to a huge degree. Fear magnifies all this crazy stuff that most of the time never ever happens.”

The message here is that fear and complacency go hand in hand. We find ourselves making excuses about why we haven’t done that thing, why we haven’t put our talents into motion to find success in business. We wait for the market to be right, or the perfect storm before we get out and start pursuing our dreams, making excuses along the way. It’s time to get up, it’s time to get inspired. Surround yourself with people that are going to push you, move you forward into trying. Emily summed this up with one of our favorite quotes from FDR, “The biggest thing to fear is fear itself.”

Once you overcome that first hurdle, you get that little burst of excitement and victory within yourself. It’s addicting and will push you forward into doing more. Trying to put yourself out there--getting up in front of a big group and speaking, or going on a sales call-- is terrifying, but there is reward that comes from trying and doing. We get better the more we do something, and you will not become an expert at something until you start performing, until you start trying.

“If we can get to this place of recognizing, ‘I did this presentation when I wasn’t ready and I didn’t die. I helped these people and they didn’t die, nobody was harmed in the transaction. I actually did a great job!’ Then the confidence begins to build,” said Jen.  “The idea of making mistakes comes from your intention. If you just kind of come clean and correct it as quickly as possible as opposed to faking it (don’t fake it in those situations and never try to blame somebody else, take full responsibility), people go oh… ahh, you’re a human.”  

Emily followed, “If we were just as gracious with ourselves as we are to others. If we could just cut ourselves some slack, then we would start saying, ‘Hey, maybe I can be good at this, maybe I am good at this.’ Giving yourself a little bit of credit.”  “In business, the more self development you do, the better you become. You are financially compensated the more you understand human nature and the more you understand yourself. The better you get at managing yourself, the better you will be and there is direct financial compensation associated with it.”

Once we overcome fear and build confidence in our entrepreneurial venture, there can also come a point of overconfidence and overconfidence can lead to mistakes. Continuing to be compassionate and intentional in what you do can keep that at bay. Do your best to remind yourself where you came from and if you are already very confident, take a moment to take stock in that. Learn to diminish your ego in your work, find a deeper meaning in it beyond just, “I don’t want to have a boss and I want to make lots of money.” 

People can read that in your intention, but when you obviously have a goal beyond financial compensation, people will latch onto that passion that comes from compassion.  “Continue to be compassionate. If you’re driven by compassion, you will continue to find success because it will always keep you centered,” said Emily.

Jen and Emily each shared a few thoughts on how they themselves manage overconfidence and what their deeper meaning is in regards to what they do.  “Taking care of people. Real estate is a huge part of people’s lives. To know that we are taking care of them, and the byproduct is that we make a living, but the rewards come from seeing them achieve amazing goals. How many times have we gotten glassy eyed when we get to see our clients achieve their goals,” said Emily.

Jen continued, “There is so much wrapped into buying or selling a home. There is so much meaning behind the word home itself. There is a lot of money and emotion behind a real estate transaction. Finding what people’s priority is and treating them how they want to be treated and getting to partner with them, that often creates a deep bonding experience because it is such a personal thing. It is cool to connect with people on a spiritual level, not to get too far out there, but I believe that. I believe it shows through that we really really care, because we do.  When you are intentional in what you do, people sense that you really do have their best interest in mind. It’s more about what do you need? Where are you at in your life? How can we help you accomplish your goals?"

To conclude, spend some time thinking about your dreams. Ask yourself the old question, “What would you be doing if you didn’t have bills, or didn’t have to worry about finances?” Dream big and don’t be afraid to share your ideas with others, even if your ideas might be stupid in your own mind. Remember that there are many others that have walked in your shoes before and have remained compassionate and intentional. These people would love to help you succeed as well, if you just open some dialogue and begin to just try.  Before this interview, Emily and Jen had shared a quote on their instagram that hits home for us at Mouvemedia as well. They went back to it again when we asked them, “What would you say to somebody that has an idea, that wants to delve into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur?”

“You know what breaks me? When someone is visibly excited about a feeling or an idea or a hope or a risk taken and they tell you about it, but preface it with, ‘Sorry, this is dumb but... Don’t do that.  I don’t know who came here before me, who conditioned you to think you had to apologize or feel obtuse, but don’t do that here! Dream so big it’s silly, laugh so hard it’s obnoxious, and love so much it’s impossible. don’t you ever feel unintelligent and don’t you ever apologize. Don’t ever shrink so you can squeeze yourself into small places and small minds. Grow. It’s a big world and you fit, I promise.” -Owen Lindley

Cheers to finding success, if you’re looking for someone to bounce ideas off of, a mentor, or have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us at MouveMedia, Jen or Emily (contact info is below), we would love to share some of our successes and hear your ideas and help you believe that you too can do it.

Emily Read

Keller Williams Salt Lake City

Jen Bowen

Keller Williams Salt Lake City

Jed Pearson

Mouve Media Utah