Fear has a way of paralyzing you, convincing you that you will fail and can have an indescribable hold on you like nothing else, making it impossible to take those first steps to try something new, to do something that scares or challenges you or take a chance on the unknown.
Yup, I bet you all know what I am talking about here because fear is a natural part of life, it is something that no matter who you are, you experience. No doubt, some experience it more frequently than others. Some have it at higher degrees. Some let it consume them and then some use it to fuel them.
So what is the difference and how is it that some people can use it as a tool where others, it holds them back?
The thing with fear is, if you let it, it will take over and once you start feeding a fear and believe the restrictions and scary outcomes fear instills in you, you start believing it.
So, what can we do to overcome fear and not let it stop you from trying new things, from experiencing life and putting yourself out there? Here are a couple tips and strategies that I use when I feel my ego spewing out fear and instilling doubt in my mind.
Do it anyway. Now I am not talking about being irrational and doing something that is harmful to your health. I am talking about everyday decisions, trying something new, or something you have been putting off because you are fearful of the outcome. For example, I recently made a big move, it was the best move for me and my health but it was scary. BUT, I did it anyway because after looking at the pros and cons, the pros outweighed the cons and taking a chance and facing the fear was a crucial and necessary step.
Do something that scares you everyday: Make a list of things you have always wanted to do but have held back because of some pesky little fear and start doing one every day. These don't have to be big, life altering actions but things including sending that email to your boss, asking for that promotion, applying on a new job, eating at a restaurant by yourself or anything else you might have on your list. Make that list and make a point to stick to it, checking an item off each day.
Make a plan: If you make a plan of action and lay out the pros and cons you can then weigh your decision and make an informed one. Remember, this blog post is not about making uninformed or irrational decisions but merely pushing you outside of your comfort zone and helping you overcome those pesky fears that are holding you back.
Understand your fear and embrace it. Fear exists to keep us safe and is a natural human emotion. It is not inherently bad or good but a tool we can use to make better and more informed decisions. Fear isn’t designed to keep us inactive or to keep us “stuck”, but to help us act in ways that generate the results we need and want. Embrace fear, let it inform and help guide your actions, but never let your fears have control over you
Prepare, practice, role play: The more you practice and play with your fear, the less impact it has on you. For example, if you are terrified of dogs, a good therapist or behavioural specialist will expose you to dogs and eventually desensitize that fear. So once you can name your fear, work on overcoming it so it doesn't have a hold on you. Not sure how to do this? Hire a coach (I help many people overcome their fears) or someone you feel comfortable with to help guide you through the process.
The easiest way most people deal with fear is to let it rule and determine their life and avoid the thing that causes fear and uncertainty. But, when we do this, we are letting our fear dictate our future and letting it have a hold on us. It goes without saying that when this happens, we are playing small with our life and could be missing out on some amazing opportunities.
The crazy thing with fear though, is often times, the fear and the story we have created along with it, is much worse than actually taking a chance and facing your fears. When we face our fears, there is usually something beautiful waiting for us on the other side.
So, today, I encourage you, do the thing you have been putting off because you have been nervous or scared about the end result. Send the email, take the course, ask for the promotion, just do the thing that causes you fear and I guarantee you, you will feel better. Yes, after you do it, you might question yourself, have those butterflies in your tummy, want to throw up and will wonder what the heck you did and why you listened to me. BUT, you also feel pride, accomplishment and feel dang good that you decided to face your fear rather than let it control you.
Make today, the day you start using your fear to propel you forward rather than hold you back.
“What you are afraid to do, is a clear indication of the next thing you have to do.”