How many times have you been in a situation where you were about to do something of huge importance to you for the first time, or where you were faced with making an important decision and you felt so paralyzed by fear that you couldn’t concentrate on simple tasks, let alone tackle those big decisions or actions you were supposed to? Fear has a way of doing it to us, making us incapable of doing what we, essentially want, but for some reasons, can’t do. More so, fear sneaks up on us only when we are dealing with issues that truly matter to us, such as our education, work, relationships and health.
The reasons most of us feel fear
In order to help ourselves deal with fear in a much more effective way, we need to discover reasons for its existence in the first place. The reason many of us feel fearful when faced with big decisions in life, is simply because they are big, and could totally change the direction of our lives for better or for worse. There is so much at stake and many of us feel trapped because of the pressure that importance of the decision implies. Additionally, many dealt with the low self-confidence that makes them feel incompetent in making life-changing decisions. And, of course, the number one reason – our unwillingness to step outside our comfort zone. For most people fear is the first response when they are about to make a change, since it is in our nature, as humans, to feel far more secure when we are in a familiar place, no matter how bad it may be, than to move into better, but unfamiliar territory.
The question to end fear
Our coping mechanisms to deal with fear include everything from deep breathing exercises to yoga, meditation and physical exercises. Even though helpful, these don’t actually get to the core of the problem. They help us lessen the fear in a certain situation, yet the same feeling comes each time we are faced with a similar situation.
In order to successfully tackle and eventually eliminate fear entirely, we need to ask ourselves one simple question – “What’s the worst that could happen?” In this way, we are acknowledging the fear and, as we ask additional questions, we are playing the worst possible scenario in our head, which eventually soothes us as we can become better prepared for all possible outcomes. The approach was suggested by Iyanla Vanzant, motivational speaker and New York Times best-selling author. Vanzant suggests that the approach helps to efficiently eliminate the power of fear: “Often by simply identifying the fear—and figuring out a concrete way to deal with it should it come true—you remove a lot of its power to control your decision-making.”
Start eliminating fear with one simple question
Even though fear has been present in our lives for as long as we can remember, it doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. By using the one question approach, we can identify our fears and face them head on, which will result in their complete elimination over time.
For example, if your goal is to inspire others, and provide support for people who want to achieve their goals, you might experience fear of public speaking just as you are about to step in front of the bigger audience for the first time. Since this is still an unknown territory for you, and your desire to make it is strong, your comfort zone is resisting shifting, you may feel extremely uncomfortable, to say the least. Knowing what you now know, you would want to take some time to have a quick talk with yourself. Ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?” “If that happens, then what? And then what?” As your worst case scenario has already been played out in your head, you will soon realize that you are much stronger than you may think. This approach relieves us from the pressure we feel and the fear of not making it. And, the best part is that once the pressure is off, our clarity returns and our performance levels enhance, making those worst case scenarios almost impossible. As we practice this approach a couple of times, our brain will soon pick up the new behavior as a coping mechanism, and the process will become much more effortless until we eventually eliminate all fear from our lives.
Next time you start feeling insecure and fearful about an important life decision, make sure to break the fear down by using these questions until you have no fear left to cope with.
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