What’s The Difference Between Fear And Excitement? An Entrepreneur’s Guide

By Clare Josa

What's the difference between fear and excitement? An entrepreneur's guide.
Feb 26

Some days you’re on an entrepreneurial high, as you get excited about a new project. Others, you’re drowning in entrepreneurial self doubt and fear, telling yourself stories about why nothing will ever work for you. But what if the difference between fear and excitement for business owners were something you could control?

Back in 2003, when I was studying to become an NLP Trainer, I discovered a little-known secret about my fears. I still remember how I reacted to first hearing it, too. So I invite you to bear with me on this one, before you pick up those rotten tomatoes to lob my way 😉

The difference between fear and excitement is about 2 inches.

OK, for some people it can be 5 inches, but the idea is the same.

What on earth am I talking about?

When we’re stuck in our mind-stories, diving into the drama of our fear of failure or worries about being overwhelmed by our business ‘to do’ list, it’s easy to get stuck on that thought-train and fear we’ll never escape.

But your body holds the answers.

Your body feels every thought you think. And if you can’t think you way out of a problem, it offers solutions.

We feel every emotion at a point in our body.

For most of us, we experience the physical sensation of fear and nervousness in the stomach area. Our language describes it as the ‘pit of my stomach’ or having a ‘gut instinct’ about something.

And for most of us, excitement is pretty close by. We describe it as butterflies in our stomach. Many of us experience fear – and excitement – as affecting our digestive system. Since emotions are chemical reactions in our body, they are inextricably linked with our physical experience.

From a physical location perspective, the difference between fear and the location of excitement is about 2-5 inches. Often (but not for everyone), fear is about 2 inches lower than excitement.

Please bear in mind that I’m talking about the kind of mind-story fear we feel when we have a big project or challenge or change to work on – the type that stops us from doing what we really want to do or say – rather than the ‘Watch out – there’s a sabre-toothed tiger over there and he’s looking hungry’ variety.

The great news is:

While your Monkey Mind is telling stories of ‘scared’ and ‘anxious’, you can shift the emotion to ‘anticipation’ and even ‘excitement’ by working with the body.


What’s The Difference Between Fear And Excitement For You?

So if there’s something you want to achieve, or a dream you want to turn into reality, there’s no need to fight your Monkey Mind. Instead you can play with this technique:

How to use the power of your intention to move that feeling of ‘scared’ or ‘nervous’ physically into excitement.

  1. Think about something you feel really excited about. Allow yourself to totally dive into that feeling. If you were to point a finger to where in your body that feeling is, where would you point?
  2. Think about something who’s want to do that you feel nervous or apprehensive about – we’re looking for a 3 out of 10 – no biggies here, and certainly no anxiety attack-scale fears! We’re just playing with the technique for now, while you get to learn it.
  3. Notice where in your stomach area (most likely) you feel that emotion. Take a moment to connect with the physical sensation.
  4. Then imagine you are moving it to the point in your body where you felt excitement. It might help to use your finger for this.
  5. Notice what happens. What happens to the emotions that you feel? What happens to the thoughts you are thinking?

For most of us, this simple technique is enough to turn apprehension into anticipation. And from anticipation, it’s a much smaller step to a sense of bubbling excitement.

What's the difference between fear and excitement? An entrepreneur's guide plus life-changing 2-minute technique. Click To Tweet

Moving from fear to excitement doesn’t just make you feel better – it shifts your focus away from problems and towards potential solutions. And it improves your performance at whatever that task is.

If you want to find out the neuroscience behind why it works this way, there’s a quick video for you here, on the topic of limiting beliefs, which gives you a whistle-stop tour of how our fears affect our business performance – from your brain’s point of view.


The more you play with this, the easier it becomes, until you find it’s an instinctive reaction and life becomes much less serious. It becomes more exciting, fun and playful.

Is there a situation in your business where you could play with this technique today? I’d love to hear how you get on, via the comments box!

And do you have any strategies you’d love to share with fellow Passionate World Changers, on how you move from fear to excitement in your business? Let us know, via the comments!

Clare x

Clare Josa   |   Author of Dare To Dream Bigger   |   Mentor to Passionate World Changers

P.S. If you have Dare To Dream Bigger, then most of step two and some of step three in the book are all about how to let go of fear and crank up your entrepreneurial confidence in growing your business.

You can change the world – and your life – for less than the price of a pizza 😉


About the Author

Clare Josa: Mentor To Passionate World-Changers since 2002 If you've had enough of secretly getting in your own way, Clare Josa can help with her unique blend of practical business strategy and the 'inside work' that sets you free to make the difference you are really here to make. Her much-loved book, Dare To Dream Bigger, gives you the step by step how-to for this. And if you want to lose yourself in a great story, her first novel, You Take Yourself With You, is a fab place to start.

  • Astrid says:

    I once read about a violin player. She was asked if she wasn’t afraid of negative reactions of the audience.

    She said it didn’t matter to her. Everything is energy and every kind of energy is fueling her up.

    I wish I could feel that way.

    But I tried to move the emotion from fear to excitement – and it worked.
    I’ll have to practice it, so I can remember when I need it.

    Thank you.

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