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Fear Is Not The Boss Of You with Jennifer Allwood

At some point in our entrepreneurial journey’s, we have had to face fear. Fear of failure, fear of success and fear of what people think or even fear of the unknown. In this episode, Jennifer Allwood joins me to talk about how to navigate that fear and protect our most important asset we have as business owners – our courage and confidence.

Q&A With Jennifer Allwood


The Big Idea Behind The Book

Stu: Welcome to the Marketing Your Business podcast, Jennifer! You have released a brand new book called Fear is Not the Boss of You, and it couldn’t be more perfectly timed for what we are all going through. Where did the idea for this book come from? And what’s the big idea behind it?

Jennifer: I think from my sassy toddler who always wants to tell me I’m not the boss of her. I started writing this book last summer, having no idea that we’d be in the middle of a pandemic. I always knew that I wanted to write a book. I have a large audience, and so when I was approached by a book publishing company, and they asked me what book I want to write, I knew it was going to be a book for women.

However, I didn’t want it to be a business book. The message I really wanted to leave here on Earth was helping women who are stuck, overwhelmed and terrified to make decisions in their life, to pivot, to do things they want to do. So many women and I had been doing what we thought everybody expected us to do. We were playing by all the rules – showing up for jobs we hated, making decisions based on what everybody else wanted for us. And I really wanted to write a book that would help women get unstuck and live the life that they’re made to live.

What Are The Fears Holding Us Back?

Stu: This is so important because now more than ever, is an opportunity for people to be able to move forward and try different things. But sometimes people are going to hesitate and hold back from that. So I want to talk to you a little bit about that, because this is essentially what you are referencing in the book. How do we figure out what is holding us back when we know we need to make change?

Jennifer: It always comes back to fear, trying to self protect because it feels better than it does to try something new. I always talk about it in the book as it feels like you’re standing on the Internet naked anytime you’re launching something new. You are making a bet on yourself and rolling the dice on things that you don’t know will be successful or not. Whether it’s starting a new business, applying for a new job or starting an adoption process. There are so many things that we want to do and maybe feel like we’re being nudged to do. But fear is the number one thing that stops us.

Stu: So what are we scared of?

Jennifer: We’re scared of failure for sure. But I think there is an equal number of people who are scared of success as well. I know that I was. I remember this one time when I had a paid webinar and wanted 200 people to join. 400 people ended up signing up instead, and I literally started crying because something in me didn’t feel worthy of double the number. I had this internal capacity cap for what I thought I was worthy of.

I also think most of us have a huge fear at different points in our life. Maybe not everybody, but a lot of people have a fear of other people’s opinions because we’re people pleasers, worrying about what others are going to think. And a lot of times we’re most scared about making shifts and changes to the people we’re closest to. What are my friends going to think? Am I going to lose relationships? And because we are scared about those changes, we end up playing small and shutting down.

Stu: I absolutely experience all of those fears you’re talking about. One of my defining moments was realizing how I was self-sabotaging my own success when my income back in the day was around the four hundred thousand dollars a year mark. That was the trigger point for me where self sabotage would kick in and I’d stop doing the things that would make me successful. It was a fear of success, and it was getting connected to a bigger purpose, as to what the success was doing, not just for me, but for others. But when we were building our first school in Kenya, I realized that the more money I make, the more impact I can have. And that became the permission for me to just go after it. And now I love making money and being in business, because it gives us the ability to have more impact.

How to Fight Your Fears

Stu: What would you say for people who are aware that they may be self-sabotaging and that the fear may be holding them back? How do they get out of their own way?

Jennifer: In the book, I take you through this really sexy algebra problem. Remember when you learned that ten is greater than four and one hundred is greater than ninety nine, you got that greater than sign? So it really boils down to figuring out what’s on the side of the greater than sign. What is more important to you than fear? For me, number one, knowing that God has stuff he wants me to do on the side of heaven is more important than being scared. Number two, I’ve got a family that needs to eat. And it’s also really important to me to demonstrate courage to my children. My kids are way more important than my fear. And the third thing, the online communities we’ve been given, they’re watching what we do, and when we are scared to put things out into the world, we’re literally stealing from them in a way, because they have things that they need from us. Each of us has to figure out what is personal to us and what to us is more important than fear.

Stu: One of the things that has helped me as an entrepreneur is taking the pressure off yourself, that everything has to be perfect. In business and marketing, everything we do is an experiment and we either win or we learn. It eases the pressure.

Jennifer: I talk about perfectionism in the book as well. I think perfectionism sounds really honorable, but the truth is that it’s really a way to self protect. Like you would rather stay here and keep pretending to make it perfect, than to go ahead and put it out into the world where it could help you in its current form. So again, you’re literally stealing from people when you’re working on getting it perfect, which, by the way, it’s never going to do. People need what you have, where it is now. We never get it to a point where it’s done and it’s perfect, especially in the online space. Perfection is such an illusion.

Beware of Dream Crushers

Stu: I love the momentum this book is going to help create for people in their lives because it’s going to help them identify what’s holding them back, bust through that and start living a life where they are pursuing the things that light them up. One of the things you talk about is how to create your dream life. When people are beginning to envision that, what do you say when they share it with others and people say, “oh, you’ve got to be a little more realistic”?

Jennifer: You have to be careful of dream crushers. Protect your dreams, they’re worthy of not being shared with just everybody because not everybody can handle them. I talk in depth in the book about why some people in your circle can’t handle your dreams and you should not share it with them because they will instantly try to poke holes in it. Having a dream and wanting to put something out in the world is already a vulnerable enough feeling. It’s hard enough for you to muster your own courage and go for it.

You’ve got to be really intentional about who you share certain things with and tighten up your circle. There were people in my world, family included, where I just had to make decisions to share a tiny bit with them, or maybe not even anything, or wait until it’s done and then tell them. And I think that that’s wisdom.

Stu: I had a moment several weeks ago where I felt fear bubbling up from the people that I love, trust and hold in the highest regard. You’re not saying get rid of those people out of your life. It’s about understanding when to have the distance and who to share what with. I think that makes a big difference for us as entrepreneurs, because confidence is the one thing that we have to maintain as we continue to move forward, because we are constantly trying new things.

Jennifer: Fear is so contagious. There are certain Facebook groups I’ve had to get out of, because they were stirring up this panicky feeling in me and making me feel fearful. And I don’t want to feel fearful. I want to feel courageous. And so just like fear is contagious, courage is also contagious.

Stu: Finally, where can people get your book?

Jennifer: Fear Is Not The Boss of You is on Amazon, and that’s the easiest place to get it. It’s also on Barnes & Noble, Target online and Walmart online.

Memorable Quote

“Be careful and protect your dreams because your dreams are worthy of not being shared with just everybody.” – Jennifer Allwood


Fear is Not the Boss of You by Jennifer Allwood

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