Good Fear vs Bad Fear And The Danger of Not Knowing The Difference - Hannah Mang
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Good Fear vs Bad Fear And The Danger of Not Knowing The Difference


Happy November!

Did you survive the invasion of zombie kids, Batmans and slutty versions of every other costume you could possibly imagine?

I totally ignored Halloween this year… I’m super busy studying for my final and very last exam end of the month. So I’ll keep it short ‘n sweet today!

I’m gonna answer another great question. This one comes from Ashley and she writes:

I just read your interview at Freelance to Freedom project, and you said that your #3 advice was to Start Before You’re Ready. I’ve been having a lot of trouble considering taking the leap from my steady income to my freelance career. Right now I’ve been freelancing on the side, but really want to leave my day job to focus on my business. But I am TERRIFIED!

We have a mortgage and financial obligations and I’m terrified that I will not be able to meet my payments.

How did you prepare yourself financially to kick off your business?”

By the way: if you haven’t read my interview, check it out here! I speak about all the nasty details of starting my business, a typical work-day of mine and my personal mind-set-essentials so that YOU too can start your own business, doing what you love. Or just get a motivational kick in your booty, cause this interview is full of energy!

Now for Ashley’s question: I’m probably the opposite of a financial adviser, so in answering the question I’m gonna dig deep and look into what’s actually behind this.

Good Fear vs Bad Fear.

First, let me explain the difference:

Good Fear aka The Ass-Cover

This is the kind of fear that protects you from real danger. It serves you and you should not ignore it! You can recognize it, because it’s external: caused by circumstances on the outside.

Example: Scared to walk through that dimly lit alley in a bad neighborhood, wearing stilettos and your little black dress, when you’re on your way home alone at 3.17am?

Legit. DON’T DO IT.

Bad Fear aka The Panty-Crapper

This fear is only holding you back. BIG TIME. It doesn’t serve you and you need to get over it ASAP. It’s internal, which means it comes from the inside and mostly has nothing to do with reality. It’s your own mind playing tricks on you. Don’t let it fool you!

Example: Scared to hit the “Publish” button on your latest article, because you didn’t censor yourself and some people might hate it and bombard you with threatening emails, declaring how bad you suck and how they wish the internet didn’t exist so people like you never had a chance to speak up in public? Screw that. IT’S BULLSHIT.

Now why is it SO damn tricky to tell the difference between the 2?

Because Good Fear protects you.

And Bad Fear pretends to do the same.

You could totally argue that it’s a good thing to be protected from hate-emails and threats because – boy! – they will ruin your day.

But how much will be ruined if you don’t publish that article?

If you don’t start that business?

Get on that plane?

Finally talk to that person?

Or get out of that drain of a relationship?

Whatever it is that you fear… you need to take it one step further and ask yourself this question:

Does this fear protect me from real danger or is it just holding me back?

In 99,9% of the cases, you’re gonna have to admit it’s Bad Fear trying to mess with you. You can think of it as a brick wall. A test. Or even a filter: to sort out the people who don’t want the outcome bad enough.

Now what does it have to do with Ashley’s question – which initially was about “Starting Before You’re Ready”?


Good Fear will protect you from something you’re not ready for!

Maybe like quitting her job and going full-time-entrepreneur without a financial cushion in Ashley’s case.

Bad Fear will make sure that you never feel ready. Even when you are!

Got 3, 4, 5 months of living expenses covered with the money in your savings account and still not taking the leap? Well, hello there, Bad Fear! May I introduce you to my middle finger?
Let’s look at some more examples to make the difference uber-clear:

Good Fear: Being scared of launching that new product, because you didn’t fully commit to it and were half-stepping through the creation process.

Bad Fear: Being scared of launching that new product, even when you gave it your all, worked your ass off and are totally in love with the outcome.

Good Fear: Being afraid to call that important person, because you didn’t prepare well and you’re not 100% clear on the specific value you have to offer.

Bad Fear: Being afraid to call that important person, even when you spent the last 8 nights stalking researching them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and rehearsed the call 329 times with your mum.

You get the picture.

Here’s the rule of thumb for you to tattoo across your forehead or something:

Good Fear = Don’t do it (now).

Bad Fear = Just do it!

Now let’s all hope Nike doesn’t sue me for that and talk about it in the comments:

What is your real life example of Good Fear vs Bad Fear?

How is Bad Fear holding you back right now?
Share it right below!



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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Matthias November 5, 2013, 5:42 pm

    Right on the spot! This cannot be a coincidence that you just wrote about that “bad fear”. Since maybe half a year I was dancing with the thought of just cutting my hair off. On my head. Of course. I just wanted to and I did not have a pleasing reason for my head brain to do it. When my mum got to know that I had something like that in mind it was like “NO WAY! IF YOU DO THAT YOU WILL BE KICKED BASS ACKWARDS OUT OF THE HOUSE!”. Of course caps lock did capture that she screamed a lot, didn’t it? So last sunday I was just standing in the bath room with that razor and stared in the mirror: ” Are you going to do it or what?” I stood there about a minute and then just did it.
    Elliott Hulse always quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson who says:

    “Do the thing and you will have the power”

    And that was it! My mum was(and is still) pissed off but I love it! I did exactly what my heart and balls brain wanted me to do!

    Krustilicious blog post!

    Liebe Grüße


  • Hannah November 6, 2013, 10:07 pm

    Lol, Matthias! I’m proud of you, for not letting bad fear screw you up! When you really feel like you need to do something, it’s always worse to regret not having done that thing, right? :)

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