Fear is the most common challenge and obstacle I come across when it comes to helping people (and myself!) reach their dreams. Thus, you are not alone if you experience fear. As a matter of fact, it’s a good thing to experience fear because it means that you're challenging yourself and growing. Fears serve a purpose to protect us from harm, but we usually give them so much weight that they end up paralyzing us from making any progress in our lives. Some people experience fear almost as an automatic response to anything new or unfamiliar, as if our default setting is always turned on to "fear". Thus, this article will show you how to recognize your fears and then overcome them so you can keep going after your dreams and goals.
What fear sounds like in your head
The first step to taming your fears is to recognize them. Here are some common fears and their associated dialogue:
Fear of the unknown
"I don’t know how to change my career or even what the first step is. It just seems so overwhelming."
"If I move to another city, what if I don't make any new friends and I end up hating the place?"
Fear of failure
"I could never go after this career because I suck at interviews and no one will end up wanting to hire me anyway when they find out I don't have that much experience."
"What if I open up a business and no one wants to buy my products so then I have to go bankrupt?"
Fear of ridicule
"If I fail, what will people think of me? They will probably say, 'I told you so'."
I would like to apply for the VP position but I would need to give quarterly speeches, and I'm afraid people will laugh at me or think I don't know what I'm talking about."
Fear of unworthiness
"I want to change my career and try something else, but I don't have enough experience or exposure to this new field."
"I won't be as successful as [insert your idol here] because I wasn't born a genius and I'm not anything special, so maybe it's not even worth trying."
Whew! Naming these fears and self-doubts are bringing me down too! Let's talk about how to overcome all of these.
10 strategies to tame your fears
- Get out!
- Go take a walk outside. Be out in nature. Just get out of your physical space! This will help you get out of your head and away from all the negative thoughts that are swirling around.
- Meditate and imagine your safe, calming place. Here's how:
- Sit comfortably, breathe, clear your head by listening to your breathing, and visualize your special place.
- For me, it’s sitting on the deck of my future house, overlooking the ocean while watching the waves, listening to the seagulls, and feeling the breeze. Whatever your special place is, make sure you're able to use all your 5 senses when visualizing it.
- “Feel” your fear
- This is a great way to quickly dissipate your fear or the stress and anxiety that is associated with it so you can move forward and get your stuff done.
- Here’s how: Pay attention to your body. Where do you feel this tension, anxiety, or physical distress? Is it in your stomach, chest, head, etc.? Identify where these negative physical sensations are coming from. Now focus your attention to these sensations in your body and notice what happens to them. Do they intensify? Do they move to another area of your body? Do they weaken? If done right, eventually they should just go away. Keep practicing until you can master this.
- De-rationalize themby asking yourself, “What’s the worst-case scenario?”
- Example: "What's the worst that can happen if I decide to live in another country? Probably that I end up hating it and would need to move back to where I was before or maybe move home to my parents' until I can get back on my feet."
- Another example: "What’s the worst that can happen if I open up my own business and it fails? Probably that I would have to sell my business or give up on it if it's not successful. Then I would need to get a day job or work for someone else.
- In both scenarios, when all is said and done, it really isn't all that bad. You're alive, well, and still kicking, and you still have the ability to learn from this "setback" and try again, even if you are a little bruised up emotionally or egotistically. In the end, life goes on and it's not the end of the world.
- Tell the voicesin your head to EFF off.
- I call these voices our ego or gremlin. They come from different places, maybe our childhood, maybe the things people have said to us, or maybe our previous experiences and conditioning.
- One thing you need to know about your gremlin or ego is that it has your worst interest in mind. Believe me. It’s against your progress and ultimately your success.
- Now, pay attention to what it’s saying. Is it saying you’re not going to make it? Is it telling you all the terrible things that will go wrong? Is it telling you you’re not good enough? Is it giving you all the reasons why you can't do something instead of why you can? Just notice what it’s saying to you.
- Now, decide not to listen to it. They are not speaking the truth. Tell it to EFF off. Once you realize you are not at the mercy of these voices, you will be able to move through your fears and keep on progressing with your goals.
- Surrenderto the higher powers
- Sometimes when you’re in your most fearful place, you need to let go and surrender your fears to whatever higher being or deity you believe in. This is a beautiful thing because it allows you to stop focusing on your fears and to just release them and have someone else take care of them. It's a sign of strength to recognize that we need a little help sometimes. Ask for help from the Goddess Divine, Spirit, Universe, God, Buddha, Ganesha, or whoever you believe in.
- Remember what's at stakeif you don't do this for yourself
- Before you decide to give up and not try, remember what you will lose out on if you don't do this for yourself. You've heard the common adage, “it’s never too late” to try or learn something new, but that doesn’t mean you should take time for granted and put off your hopes and dreams indefinitely.
- Every day you don’t put yourself out there and go after your dream, you are losing time. Time that could be spent being ecstatically happy, completely fulfilled, and loving your life. Life is just too short to live it any other way!
- Focus on the opposite emotion, which is love. Imagine the happiness, contentment, satisfaction, and loveyou will experience for yourself and for the world if you were able to take that risk, be bold, and go after your dream. Imagine the feeling of waking up each day in a euphoric state of happiness from never again having regrets, "what if's", or wondering if things could be different.
- Here are some of my favorite quotes to get you on the positive emotional wave-length:
- Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. –Unknown
- Forget all the reasons why it won't work and believe the one reason why it will.—Unknown
- You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Also, check out my Facebook page which has tons of inspirational, feel-good images and quotes.
- Just do it
- At the end of the day, you need to get your ish done. Whatever strategy you want to use, just remember that you’re doing this for yourself. Stop making excuses and just do it!
- Talk to a mentor, coach, or someone you look up to who will help you get out of your head and tame your fear. It's important to find someone you trust and admire, and who will give you the honest truth. Someone who has a life that you want for yourself. Don't take advice from someone who isn't where you want to be!
At the end of the day, only you can decide that you are worth having this amazing life! And only you can summon up every ounce of courage and strength within yourself (and trust me, it's there) to go after your goals and dreams. So get out there and start kickin' some ass!
This week's tush-kickin' challenge: What fears will you commit to taming this week? What challenges do you think will get in the way as you begin to conquer these fears? Share with me below!
I am a fear conqueror, life coach, and health junkie helping quarter-lifers embrace their passion, purpose, and find courage to live their dreams!
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