How Mary moved from fear to courage and doubled her business profits

Mary Gassen

Mary had always dreamed about opening a second bakery. Her first bakery had been in operation for more than 21 years, with a strong, loyal customer base, so opening a second place seemed like a no brainer. But when the perfect location finally opened up, in just the right neighborhood, Mary found herself crippled with doubt.

“This is a mistake.” “We’ll run out of money.” “One location is enough. There’s no reason to grow bigger.” “We won’t be able to hire the right people.” “I’m going to have to do work that I don’t want to do.”

She’d bolt awake in the middle of the night, seized with fear and anxiety, heart pounding and mind racing.

Mary hired me for coaching. During one of our phone calls, she expressed her bewilderment and frustration. Deep down, she knew this second bakery location would be a great decision—she had crunched the numbers and she knew her business plan was solid—so why was she feeling so anxious about taking the plunge? She couldn’t understand it.

I encouraged Mary to challenge her recurring thoughts—like, “This will never work”— and to come up with evidence to help her feel more confident and brave. Mary has run a successful bakery for 21 years. That’s solid evidence that she’s business savvy and capable of making things work.

Noe Valley Bakery

Mary’s bakery had over 640 Yelp reviews from enthusiastic patrons. That’s solid evidence that people love her products. She’s been featured in the media as “one of the best bakeries in San Francisco” multiple times. More evidence to prove that her business is well-respected and beloved. She has earned the right to feel confident about this expansion.

Once Mary could see the big list of evidence, she felt different. It felt similar to reviewing a résumé and realizing, “Actually, I am qualified. Actually, I do have what it takes to succeed. Actually, I know what I’m doing.”

Mary signed a lease on the new bakery space, and as soon as she made that confident, decisive move, she felt a huge emotional shift. Her anxiety melted away, and in its place, she felt excitement and happy anticipation.

Mary said that since opening the second bakery in March 2017, Noe Valley Bakery has changed for the better in almost every way.

“Our profits doubled from 2017 to 2018 and I’ve budgeted 2019 to again double those profits.  We are continuing to keep more of our revenue by setting up new systems and getting the targeted support we need.  We are making headway in paying off our business debts and are looking forward to a bright future.  We are stepping up our retirement planning and thinking about our exit strategy,” said Mary.

By growing their business, they now have the resources to get the targeted help they need to continue to grow.

“In the past, my rationale had always been that we could better manage one unit and expansion would make us out of control.  But the opposite has occurred.  By having more revenue, we have been able to get targeted help from experts that have made us feel more supported and let us work on the business rather than just work in the business.  I’m now the leader that I was born to be rather than being stuck as an operations person that I did not want to be,” said Mary.

“Having more revenue … let us work on the business rather than just work in the business.”

That’s the power of gathering evidence.

If you’re facing a big step and you feel afraid, collect evidence to help yourself feel braver.

Nothing makes you feel courageous, capable, and competent like staring at a list of your greatest victories!

Evidence is your greatest weapon against fear, self-doubt, and insecurity. When presented with rock-solid evidence of your intelligence, creativity, and resourcefulness, those fear-monsters don’t stand a chance.

This case study is from my new book “Reach for More: double your confidence, slay your insecurities and make more money than you ever thought possible”  that will be published in May 2019. 

Now over to you, has fear or anxiety stopped you from going for your dream?  Did you overcome fear? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 

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