Guest writer, Jasmine Cianflone, owner of This Moment Events, shares how she combats fear through journaling to build her boutique wedding planning and design business.
Writing has always been something that I’ve done to work through tough spots in life. As an angsty pre-teen and adolescent, I wrote poetry. In high school and college, I used journaling as a way to work through emotions I couldn’t express in other ways. Now as an adult, I’ve discovered the power of journaling to help me move forward with bumpy spots in my small business. I’m the owner of a boutique wedding planning and event design shop in central New Jersey called This Moment Events. The wedding industry in New Jersey is, to put it mildly, competitive. It’s crowded, and it can be challenging to find and stay true to your own voice with all that noise going on. Here is the way I’ve used journaling to help tackle common fears that I think many women entrepreneurs come up against while running their small businesses.
Facing Your Fears
I have found that almost all of my fears surrounding my business stem from one feeling- the feeling of not being or having enough. I have faced this fear since the infancy of my business. Honestly, it’s what kept me from moving forward with This Moment Events when I came up with the idea back in 2004. The script goes something like this in my head:
There’s no way I can start that event planning company. I don’t have any connections in that industry. I should just wait until I’ve built up a better network. I don’t have enough experience yet anyway, who would hire me? There’s no way I’d be taken seriously.
Sounds reasonable, right? Sure, except it isn’t reasonable. We can talk ourselves out of anything using this fear because there will always be something ELSE we need to wait for, achieve, or acquire before we’re ready to launch our dream.
Naming Your Fears
Here’s how I tackled this fear in my business. Whenever this crops up (and it does come back!) I use a tool I learned from an amazing workshop I attended back in 2011- the Making Things Happen Intensive. It’s called the fear naming exercise, and Lara Casey developed it to help get people to recognize their fears and kick them in the face. In it, you literally name your fear and why you’re afraid of it, like this:
I’m afraid of calling that amazing photographer to pitch my shoot idea because I don’t have enough experience with design.
Then you think about what you’d do if you WEREN’T afraid:
If I wasn’t afraid of calling that photographer, I could work with her to create some incredible photo shoots.
Then think about how your life would feel without that fear holding sway:
If this fear wasn’t holding me back, I’d feel empowered/lighter/accomplished/etc.
Repeat for each fear. I then add a little something extra – affirmations! Some people may find them a little “woo-woo” but they have worked wonders for me. Take the above exercise and flip it. Turn it into a fear-busting affirmation.
I am an accomplished event designer, and photographers love working with me to create incredible photo shoots.
I like to make little cards out of my affirmations and post them in my office, around my monitor, to keep me focused.
The writing portion of this exercise has been EVERYTHING to me. I’ve found that it does not work the same if you try to think your way through it. Our minds get distracted and pulled into downward spirals way too easily. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) really helps excise the wound that the fear creates, so positivity can grow there instead. It’s incredibly cathartic!
I revisit this exercise almost monthly, or whenever I’ve got a big project or a new client I’m pitching. I’ve found it helps most when I’m struggling to take a next step in a project. (I tend to get terrified and freeze when I need to send an important email or make a big phone call).
I invite you to try this exercise. You can destroy the evidence afterwards if that will free you up to do this more openly. I like to keep mine to remind myself of how far I’ve come. Please give it a shot and let me know how it goes!
Jasmine Cianflone is owner of This Moment Events, a boutique wedding planning and event design shop located in East Windsor, NJ. She helps multicultural couples achieve their authentic wedding planning goals through hands on high-touch service and helping them stay focused on the moment. Her goal is to guide couples to the good life, on their terms. Learn more about Jasmine and This Moment Events at www.thismomentevents.com.