When I started my business a few years back, I had no idea how much fear would come up for me. I was amazed at how crippling the grip of fear was and how helpless I felt. I knew that I needed to quickly learn some tools and techniques to help me breakthrough my fears and keep moving forward, otherwise I could kiss my dream goodbye.
I learnt these two important principles
- I learnt that fear will always be there when we put ourselves out of our comfort zone and that isn’t bad. Fear is actually essential, it is our survival signal and what has kept us alive all these years.
- I also learnt that having a goal to be fearless is not realistic; instead, you need to look it straight in the eye and tell it to get out of your way, because it will always come up at different parts of your life, but it mustn’t stop you.
Fear can keep you from following your dreams, it can keep you from living the life you want and doing the things you desire, but it doesn’t need to be this way. One of the biggest mistakes you might be making, is taking fear at face value.
You see, fear can be real or imagined, and your body cannot differentiate between the two, so it will do whatever it can to keep you away from this ‘imagined’ fear, no matter what the cost might be. Imagined fear has nothing to do with reality, it is related to your beliefs and your individual perspective of the world.
I do a few things when I feel my worst enemy approaching, you know what I mean; that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, accelerated heart beat and discouraging voice in your head.
Here is what works for me…
1. Rational or Irrational?
Ask yourself what part of this fear is rational and what part is irrational. If your fear is rational, what can you do to reduce your fear?
If your fear is irrational, you might need to take on another perspective of the situation that will support you better.
For example: A fear of public speaking
Rational: I will forget my words, the equipment won’t work, etc
Steps to move forward: Practice your speech 10 times over so you don’t forget it. Arrive at the venue earlier to test everything and ensure it works. Have a plan B, if for some reason you can’t use the equipment, etc
Irrational: Everyone will laugh and people will point fingers
Steps to move forward: People are not that cruel, well hopefully you are not talking in front of an uneducated crowd like that. It is normal to have a fear of being ridiculed, but don’t focus on this. Learn ways to become more confident and deal with any limiting beliefs you might have.
2. The Worst and Best
Most of the time we don’t even consider what is the worst that can actually happen. We assume the worst is something inconceivable because we are only paying attention to our feelings. Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen, and keep on asking, “And then? And then?” When we actually look at the worst that can happen, we realize that it isn’t so bad at all.
Then focus on what is the best that can happen if you do this, get crystal clear on the benefits of how this will improve your life. When you have clarity on the worst and the best, you will start to feel more motivated to keep pushing forward, because the best is almost always a million times better than the worst.
3. Challenge your thoughts
Most of the time you probably accept the thoughts that bombard your mind everyday as the truth, and worse, you act on them. Your thoughts come from your beliefs and your beliefs about the world were formed from your family, friends, and other influences in life. You have developed beliefs that support you and you have developed beliefs that don’t support you as well. If you don’t challenge your thoughts and instead accept them as the truth, you are setting your self up for self sabotage.
Ask yourself; is this a fact or a belief? If it is a belief, challenge it if it isn’t supporting you.
4. Using images
This is a really powerful tool that is completely underutilized. Your mind actually responds much better to images and you might not be tapping into this. When you have no idea how something will work out or play out, you can imagine all kinds of scenarios, unfortunately mostly negative ones.
Find a quiet place and try doing this for 5 minutes. In your mind’s eye, imagine the outcome that you would love, see it in bright colors, hear the words you want to hear, feel what you want to feel.
If you can make this picture alive and see the outcome you really want, your mind will start to calm down immediately. Try it!
5. Talk about it
Lastly, talk about it! We all share similar fears and there is a wealth of advice out there to help you move forward. Don’t suffer alone. When you talk about your fears, you release the negative built up energy and so you will automatically feel better.
Don’t give into something that you really can control, you have more strength inside you then you know. It is better to face your fears now and enjoy the reward than to give up on your dreams and face that later.