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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

14 Powerful Ways to Be Fearless

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14 Powerful Ways to Be Fearless

We all have fear – it’s an emotion that’s as normal as breathing.

The problem is that most people cling to their fears, and are therefore unable to move forward in their lives with necessary change.

I have learned a lot about fear in my life as a professional musician, and I’ve learned that the only difference between people who achieve greatness and those who do not is that the former ditched their fear.  Many of the methods I have used to prepare for huge performances have helped me to conquer fear in other areas of life.

Here’s how you can start overcoming fear:
1. Be aware of fear in your life. Before you can begin overcoming fear, you have to admit that you have it. Perhaps fear is your “normal” state of being, and that is quite a bit to overcome all at once.  Write down some aspects of your life where have fear;  getting them down on paper is important, because trying to simply think them through never works.

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2. Stare at fearless people.  Fill your brain with images of what you want your “future self” to look like.  Connect with as many role models as you can, whether in person, through a book, or online.  Use these examples as an energy source to combat your fear.

3. Be objective. Take an interest in investigating your fears. Ask yourself about what thoughts generate your fear, where you feel the fear, and how you react to it. Try to be an objective observer of your own life.

4. Be willing to look stupid.  Remember:  Wayne Gretzky fell on his tail a ton, and Itzhak Perlman has had horrible performances.  Once you are willing to risk the emotional pain of making mistakes, you will shed more fear than you ever imagined.  Know that making mistakes will help you obtain information you use to create the correct behaviors, and that everyone who has ever done something great has failed more than once.

5. Adopt a mindset of gratitude. Whenever you feel fear, try to feel grateful instead. I have been performing a lot of solos recently, and it is scary!  Instead of freaking out, I have decided to be grateful for the opportunity to communicate musically with so many people, and I know that they are there to genuinely listen to me play and root me on.

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6.  Seek out teachers.  It’s never too late to have a teacher; we are never done learning.  Seek out someone who scares you a littlenot a polite person who always makes you feel warm and fuzzy.  Seek out someone who watches you closely, is brutally honest, and gives clear directions on how you can get better at whatever scares you.

7. Share. How often do we hold the negative in because we are afraid of how others might react?  Sharing helps, because you will realize that many people feel the same way as you do, and have stories to share as well.  Do you have a fear of success, or a fear of failure?  Sharing with someone can help you examine what you truly want from life, and where your fears come from.

8. Embrace struggle.  Most of us instinctively avoid struggle, because it feels like failure, and that scares us, but the term “no pain, no gain” holds true.  To develop our skills, it is a necessity that we struggle, so we must embrace it.  Once we struggle, fear slowly disintegrates.

9. Read. My personal favorite. Reading a good book related to your specific fear can open new doors on how you can get rid of it. I constantly fill my world with motivational and inspirational books on, and related to, the topic I’m dealing with.

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10. Use visualization. Imagine yourself in a scary situation without fear. Watch people do things fearlessly that would normally freak you out.  Visualize yourself as that person.  Create a very clear picture of fearlessness in your mind.

11. Put things in perspective. Putting your negative thoughts in perspective is a huge way to overcome fear. In the grand scheme of life, why are you afraid? While you are freaking out about something, life is moving on without you.  Sometimes it’s helpful to remember this.

12. Release control. Of course we want to be in control, but when we relinquish it we tend to free ourselves up.  Allow yourself to make mistakesafter all, that’s where learning and growth really happens.  We learn from our failures, but to fail we need to release control.

13. Think about the worst case scenario. What’s the worst that could happen? I have crumbled on stage in front of hundreds of people. My wife still loved me; I lived. Life goes on.

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14. Look within. What is the root of your fear? Meditate on it. Look inside and ask yourself when the fear started: How far back does your fear go? Did you have an early failure that has stuck with you?  Explore it.  That’s what life is all about.

Overcoming fear requires a growth mindset; an attitude that we can grow and change if we choose. Nothing is “locked in” forever; we can change.  It takes time and practice.  Hopefully the tips above will help you begin your journey to ditch fear.

Featured photo credit: Patrick Hendry via unsplash.com

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Published on October 14, 2021

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever worry about being exposed as a “fraud?” You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel like imposters. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people admit to having experienced impostor syndrome[1] at some point in their lives — a Twitter poll found that 87 percent of people have experienced this.[2] Even successful and famous people like Tom Hanks, Howard Schultz, and Natalie Portman suffer from imposter syndrome.

But, what exactly is imposter syndrome. And, more importantly, how can you silence it?

Originally coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, and Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., the term “impostor syndrome” describes symptoms that include being unable to internalize accomplishments and being afraid of being exposed as a fraud.

The individual may also be plagued by chronic self-doubt and believe that they’re unqualified for success despite evidence to the contrary. Inadequacies, fears of failure, and disbelief that success is a matter of luck or timing are also common.

If you don’t address this phenomenon, feeling like an impostor can prevent you from achieving ambitious goals. Moreover, those experiencing these feelings tend to over-prepare or procrastinate — which obviously hinders productivity and reaching goals. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, imposter syndrome prevents you from pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Do you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome? If so, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there are effective ways to overcome these feelings in a healthy and proactive way.

1. Don’t Hide It.

“Firstly, acknowledge it,” advises Claudine Robson,[3] the Intentional Coach. “You give strength to imposter syndrome by letting it continue to peck away at your confidence unchecked.” It can only be banished if you acknowledge it as soon as possible and break the silence.

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“Then you need to separate your feelings from facts,” Robson adds. “One thing imposter syndrome does very effectively is to mix up your perceptions of reality.”

If you can, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. “Recognize when you should — and when you should not — feel fraudulent,” she says. Appreciate and acknowledge the task, intellect, and insight that have led to your success.

You might even be able to take action by recognizing that the reason you feel fraudulent is that you’re new to a task. “That gives you a path forward; learning is growth, don’t deny yourself that.”

2. Implement the STOP Technique

In her book Cognitive Enlightenment, Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., outlines a technique to overcome imposter syndrome using what she calls the STOP technique.

“STOP is an acronym for ‘silence the oppressive player,” Fouts explains in Forbes.[4] “You need to eradicate this tape that is playing 24/7, whether you are conscious of it or not. It plays loudest when we are tired, hungry, or feeling defeated.”

Steps to implementing the STOP technique and rewiring your brain are as follows:

To replace the tape of not good enough, you need a “launch sentence.” “I’m more than good enough” would is an example of a solid launch statement.

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Put your launch sentence in prominent locations, such as your car’s dashboard or computer. How come? The reason is that as the tape plays, you won’t be able to remember your launch statement.

Continue to say “stop” until you recall your launch sentence, says Fouts.

Put your launch sentence into your own words and pontificate.

While going about your daily tasks, like while driving or exercising, practice your launch sentence so you can recall it when you need it in the future.

“I am told this sounds simple and it does,” she adds. However, this technique is challenging when your negative tape is playing. You will not want to replace the tape every day while your brain is rewiring itself. “It is these moments you can’t give up.”

3. Distinguish Humility and Fear

When it comes to hard work and accomplishments, there’s humility, and then there’s fear. In other words, having a high level of competence can lead one to discount its value occasionally. However, as Carl Richards wrote in an article for the New York Times,[5] “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”

The problem is that we feel unworthy from time to time. But, as Seth Godin explained in a blog post,[6] “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”

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Feeling worthy without feeling entitled is possible. And, finding the right balance between them is critical for overcoming impostor syndrome. “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory,” Godin continues. “We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open, or humble.”

4. Keep a “Brag Sheet”

When you were sending out college applications, did you build yourself a “brag sheet?” If not, here’s a clean description from Shawna Newman,[7] “A brag sheet is very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills, and employment throughout your secondary education.” In short, “it’s a quick reference guide with all the details and achievements for someone trying to get to know you better.”

While it may be awkward at first, you can apply the same concept when coping with imposter syndrome. Just compose a list of your accomplishments, activities, skills. That’s it. Just remember Godin’s advice and also be humble and gracious.

As an added perk, besides being an effective way to talk myself up, I’ve also found that this has helped me stop comparing myself to others. Instead of harping about other people’s milestones, I’m honing in on what I’ve done.

5. Celebrate Wins, Period

Speaking of accomplishments, they shouldn’t be categorized as small or big. After all, you feel as if you don’t belong when you have imposter syndrome. So, the more you celebrate your wins, the more confident you’ll become.

Furthermore, accept compliments without qualifying them and practice listening to praise every day. Finally, become kinder to yourself by saying at least one kind thing to yourself daily. And, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

6. Assemble a Legion of Superheroes

“You know how corporations have a board of directors to — in theory — make them stronger, maintain checks and balances, leverage resources, and help advance the organization’s vision?” asks inspirational speaker, speaking coach, and creative consultant Tania Katan.[8] “Why not assemble your own board of directors to leverage resources to help make your career stronger, keep you in check and balanced, and advance your vision?”

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“My friend Alison Wade, president of conferences, training, and consulting at Techwell, calls her personal board of directors her “front-row” — those are the people she invites to sit spitting distance from the stage, cheer her on, challenge her, and review her performance,” Katan writes.

As for Katan, she calls hers a “legion of superheroes.” The reason? “I dig the idea of joining forces to do good in the corporate galaxy.”

It’s important to have a diverse group of individuals who will defend you. Ideally, they should be varied in all dimensions, such as cultural background, way of thinking, and skills.

Katan recommends that you meet together frequently, whether if that’s once a week or every quarter. “Share your experiences, fears, creative ideas, aspirations,” she adds. “Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.” You also need to both support and challenge each other. “Discover what you are capable of doing when you combine your powers.”

7. Visualize Success

Follow the example of a professional athlete by imagining yourself crushing that presentation or project. You’ll enjoy the relief from performance-related stress. And, more importantly, it can help you avoid focusing on the worst-case scenario.

Final Words of Advice

While there’s no single formula to cure imposter syndrome, the tips listed above are a start. After all, your success depends on your ability to fight the negative effects of it. For example, feeling unworthy over time can lead to crippling anxiety and depression if left untreated.

If you’ve tried the above, then make sure that you speak to someone about what you’re experiencing, whether it’s a mentor, peer group, or licensed professional. And, above all else, there’s a place at the table for everyone — no matter what your inner voice is telling you.

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via unsplash.com

Reference

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