Fear Could Be Costing You Millions: Here’s How to Overcome It

by | BiggerPockets.com

How much is fear really costing you? How much are you losing everyday due to fear? What can you do about it?

Almost none of us is immune to fear. It’s ingrained in our DNA as a preservation mechanism. These days, 99 percent of the time it tricks us into fear when there is no reason to feel it. In fact, by listening to those fears today, we are actually most often setting ourselves up to get exactly what we don’t want.

This is especially true when it comes to finances and investing. When we fail to act, we are choosing failure and financial hardship. If you tally up those losses to date, you may find your lost opportunity costs excruciatingly high! So how do you overcome that fear and start getting more of what you really want?


How to Actually Achieve Your Dreams

Even best-selling author, international speaker, and CEO of four private companies Grant Cardone admits he has suffered from fear. He recently dedicated a whole article to it, which was published via LinkedIn. You can check it out here. So if we all have fears occasionally, how do some manage to overcome them to get what they want, while 99 percent of the population gives in and cowers instead?

Related: 3 Steps to Overcome the Fear of Purchasing Your First Investment Property

What personally changed the game for me was a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do the thing and you will have the power.” One of the biggest fears I had was of failing, which many others can relate to. What got me over it was just taking action.

That’s the difference. The difference between those living the lives they want and those wishing for a life they only dream of is taking action.

I tell people the best ideas lie in graveyards. Due to people’s fears preventing action, they take their dreams, goals, and ambitions with them to their grave. Then you have multi-billion dollar real estate investors like Sam Zell, who made the bulk of his fortune during a time when everyone else was too scared to invest.


3 Steps to Overcome Fear & Start Taking Action

There are three easy, practical steps to win in this area:

  1. Write down all of your goals.
  2. Write down the fears that are keeping you from taking action to your goals.
  3. Assume responsibility for taking action and achieving your goals with a “whatever it takes” mentality.

If you need excuses not to do it, there are thousands of them out there. You’re too young, too old, too broke, too rich, too smart, not smart enough, you’re in the wrong place, you just aren’t lucky. They are all lies.

Related: 3 Lessons Real Estate Investors Can Learn About Overcoming Fear From Rock Climber Alex Honnold

Look at your lists. Those fears have been costing you everything you want. All you want in terms of relationships, status, and money. Your fear and inaction is costing that and is stealing it from you! Just look at the area of real estate. Say you are 30 years old. If you had been investing since 20 and began with just $10,000, which you put into a $100,000 property or portfolio, gaining a modest 10% return, while putting in another $10k per year, you’d have an extra $200,000 right now thanks to compound interest. If you kept that going until you were 40 and did nothing else, you’d have almost $700k. How much do you have in the bank? In equity? In passive income? How much has fear cost you already — $700k, $2M, $20M?

If you don’t act now, you’ll lose even more. Or you can gain all that and more. It’s up to you.

Are you afraid of buying your first investment property? What are you doing to conquer your fear?

Let’s talk in the comments section below!

About Author

Sterling White

With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling currently manages over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $26MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments and single-family homes. Through the company he co-founded, Holdfolio, he owns just under 400 units. Sterling was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single-family investing and apartment investing to wholesaling and scaling a business.


  1. Muhan Zhang

    One thing I’ll add is to take small actionable steps towards those goals. If buying a house seems intimidating, maybe just make it a point to go to one REIA meeting, or finish reading one book. Even saving $1000 for a down payment is quite a feat.

  2. Nicole Collins

    Yesterday, I had to overcome my fear and I went door knocking to homeowner’s in forclosure.
    I needed to take action to gain confidence. I went in with the mindset that I was there to help them if I could.
    Now I feel at ease and know the more I do it the easier it will be. The homeowners I spoke with were actually really open to me. You can’t let fear stop you from your goals or helping someone.

  3. Derik S.

    Great read, however maybe you could touch on the “whatever it takes” mentality bit. I have a lot of anxiety going about getting that first property, in this case a duplex. No income, no job, maybe I need to employ more of a “rags to riches” mentality? How do you invest in a property without any money for a down payment?

  4. Reina Kapica

    I really liked what you had to say. I am currently trying to figure out where to start with investing and real estate and I have set goals for myself. I am working on achieving those goals, but of course, being young with little experience, I have fears that are keeping me from my full potential. I am working on it though!

  5. Soleila Gonzalez

    I have been reading books, blogs, articles, posts, joined BP and even attended a seminar. All the information is so overwhelming. I have set my criteria to flipping single family homes, however, since I have no money of my own to finance, I’m having a hard time trying to decide what the best strategy. I fear that whatever financing I use, if I screw up a deal, I’ll end up paying for it for a long time.

  6. Fatinah S.

    I’m self-employed and am wondering if I can still buy rental property with bank loan. Would bank just need to see my annual tax filings? The properties I have were acquired when I was employed, so I’m not sure how it works being self-employed. Thanks

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