The [other] Four-Letter “F” Word…

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There have been entire books and seminars devoted to this subject… this “F” word. Since this is an article and not a book or seminar, I will get right to the heart of the matter. Let me clarify, I am NOT a psychiatrist, but I sort of play one on BiggerPockets. 🙂

What’s the “F” word I’m talking about?


It’s one of the worst four letter words in our language! Fear holds us back from so many things that could be great in our lives. Fear makes us procrastinate. Fear makes us physically sick. Fear holds us back from great business decisions, great relationships, hobbies, and so much more! Wow, I’m sorry to be so harsh, but let’s tell it like it is … Fear SUCKS! There are certainly times that fear can be a useful protective mechanism, but for the purpose of this article, I am talking about the fear of taking steps towards decisions in our business.

So many people read, study, go to seminars, and basically know all there is to know about investing in Real Estate. They may even participate regularly on BiggerPockets, go to local REIA’s, and have every intention of investing, but they have never done one deal! Why? You guessed it, FEAR! Fear of the unknown, fear of being successful (yes this is a real one!), fear of failing, fear of being embarrassed, fear of sounding dumb, fear of going broke, fear of earning so much that you have to pay additional income tax, (yes, another real one!), fear of living in a box if it doesn’t work out, and on and on. When we are scared, we make many excuses to avoid doing the things we fear. The ironic part is that most times our fears are unwarranted. On the other side of those fears are the very things we desire in life. We just need to begin.

Related: How to Lose a Million Dollars from Real Estate: A Step by Step Path

How to Purchase Real Estate With No (or Low) Money!

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Basic Steps for Overcoming Fear

Ask yourself: what is the actual fear holding me back from?
Getting clear helps you know exactly what fear(s) you need to overcome.

Ask yourself: Is my fear real and truly warranted?
What’s the worst that can happen? Will my life be over if I proceed? Probably not!

Write out an action plan to reach your goal.

Many of us do much better with a written plan. It will relieve your anxiety. Try it!

Take small baby steps every day.
Make a call, look at properties, place an ad looking for houses or investors, or better yet, make an offer!!

Trap yourself.
This method has worked the best for me. Go make offers until one gets accepted. Now you’re trapped! Watch how being trapped forces you to go through the steps! If your offer is accepted, the pressure is on to get funding, an exit plan, closing, etc, etc. It’s a fun journey, you won’t have time to be scared, you’re too busy being pushed through the steps because the pressure is on!

Be accountable to someone else.
Find someone who you trust that will be hold you accountable to make sure you keep moving forward, EVEN IF YOU’RE SCARED!

Related: The ONLY Step You Need to Get Moving in Your Real Estate Investing

Taking Action Will Make Your Fear Disappear

It’s amazing how our minds work. We play old records (or iTunes downloads for you younger readers!) in our heads that make fears seem real, when in reality most fears NEVER come true. We worry for nothing! What a waste of mental energy!! We only learn this AFTER we take action and the fear literally disappears. Once we start moving in the direction of our goals and dreams (by taking action) we look back to realize that the fear we had was not real, and our perspective on that fear changes forever!

My challenge for you today is to look inside yourself and see what fears may be holding you back. What records or downloads are you playing in your head? Pay attention for a day, you may be shocked! What are you procrastinating on that you know would be great if you would only just begin with the first step? Take the time to go through the above simple steps and see what results you get in the next week. I dare you!! I know from a lot of personal experience, you will be amazed at the results if you simply decide to take action. Good Luck and Godspeed!

Photo: kelsey_lovefusionphoto

About Author

Glenn Schworm

Glenn and his wife Amber are the owners of Signature Home Buyers , located in upstate New York. They have bought and sold over 100 houses and counting since beginning in 2008. They are also the proud parents of 3 amazing kids and love to travel the globe, scuba dive, skydive and basically live life to the fullest!


  1. Thanks for a great article I have bookmarked it and will read it every day. I also learn how to spell fear. It’s false education appear real, which I have to relearn for this part of starting in a new and different field.

    Again thanks for a great article.

  2. Excellent blog. The best way to overcome such fear is to base the real estate investing decision on research and a lot of it. Don’t make a significant financial decision based on a whim. Don’t fall in love with a property; pretend it is a bus. If you miss that one, there will be another coming along. Build your power team of realtor, home inspector and mortgage broker who are interested in you obtaining the proper result. Follow their guidance. Above all, remember real estate is a long term investment, unless you know the rehabbing biz very ell, of course.

    Education and doing your homework will provide you with the knowledge, which will overcome fear. However, doing your first deal, even if you do all the above, is stressful.

  3. Love this article, Glenn. If we do what we fear the most we control fear. If not fear will control us. I always ask when fear hits me: “what’s the cost of NOT doing this?” It always seems to help me get over my fears – especially when I was first staring out. Great work. Mike

  4. I tend to fear the surprise. The thing I did not know.

    Unknowns are part of life and the business. Education has helped. Mentors help more. Having a game plan with several endgame scenarios ready is crucial. Surrounding yourself with a great team has gotten me out of a couple of tough situations as I lean on their connections and expertise.

    Actually doing the first deal helped and hurt when it comes to fear. The problem with doing the first deal is that I realized there was a lot that I did not know and the number of potential surprises was larger than I expected.

    I think that fear may never go away, but I think that the surprises will become part of doing business to the point that, while not pleasant, are a “norm”. And with experience, they will reduce in number.

    • Glenn Schworm

      Tim, I can assure you that not a deal goes by that does not have surprises. Think of them like Christmas every day! You get to wake up an unwrap a new one!! LOL. Seriously, you will always have them and they ARE a part of RE investing. Learn to enjoy them and take each one as a new learning experience. It is like having a pop quiz every day! You will get smarter and smarter with each overcome obstacle. Here is the good news, after a while, like you said, they just become the norm. So enjoy them, it sure beats getting stressed out over them! Have an awesome week!

  5. karen rittenhouse

    I talked with a man recently who had stopped investing in real estate because he was afraid owning more properties would make him too busy. What? Something happening only in his head was stopping him from untold financial gain.

    I assured him that, if indeed he did become “too busy”, there were many options available like hiring work out including the property management.

    We are, truly, our own worst enemies.

    Thanks for your article.

    • Glenn Schworm


      We most certainly can be our own worst enemies. I believe it was Bobby Jones (a famous golfer) who said the longest shot on a golf course is the 7″ between your ears! We are the masters or destroyers of our own futures. The good news is, that if it is possible to be our worst enemy, we can then also choose to be our own biggest motivator & cheerleader! Thanks for the comment!

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