“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
Fear is a normal human reaction that helps to protect us. It alerts and prepares us to deal with approaching danger. When we sense danger the body physically responds by increasing our heart beat, increasing our blood pressure and we also experience rapid breathing. When we are in real danger the body also physically prepares us to do one of two things – To Fight danger or Flee from danger. The body will stay in this state until the brain signals that there is no more danger.
Fear is a good thing to feel.
It sets us up for the adventure and it also prepares us to be cautious. The problem isn’t the fear, the problem is us and our reaction to the feeling of fear. When we are afraid to step out of our comfort zone, to follow our dreams, to confront bullies or to stand in our power, we don’t fight the fear, instead ,we flee or we hide. We don’t use it to excite us, stimulate us, or to move us forward in life. We let fear control our lives and paralyse us. When we are reacting to fear in this way we are choosing to make decisions that are not serving us well. As John Lennon said in his quote, if we are controlled by fear we pull back from life – mediocrity and complacency become acceptable in our lives. The key to overcoming our fears is to learn to love ourselves more – even with our imperfections.
“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.”
– Dale Carnegie
I am proud to say that I am pretty close to being Fearless when it comes to me following my dream, stepping out of my comfort zone and dealing with life’s challenges . For many years I had been too fearful to step out, to be courageous and follow my dream. I had made attempts, some were successful and some were not. In my career particularly I could never get to a place in any of my jobs where I was happy. I would take on roles because I felt like I had to, or the money was good, or the job was easy, and as a result I drifted through my career doing the roles I could do rather than doing what I wanted to do.
The turning point for me was last year when I had to face my third redundancy in 18 months. It was then that I decided that I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. I chose to face my fears and then I worked out how I was going to manage them. Today as I write this I can honestly say that my big fears no longer mean anything to me – I do however have a few minor ones lurking around. You never really stop being fearful, you just learn how to proactively manage your fears so that they enhance, energise and motivate you to action.
The 6 Steps to Mastering Your Fear
“Fear is a habit, so is self pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves: I can and I will.”
– Napoleon Hill
To master my fears I used the advice of 6 Fearless people who knew what they were talking about. Hopefully these 6 tips will help you to master you fears, so that you can live the life you desire.
Before you start reading through these 6 tips please note that Acknowledging your fears is the easy part – mastering your fears is hard work and it is a life long journey.
1. Get comfortable with Fear and invite it into your life.
Do things that frighten you. Take action and face your fears – the more you do this the more confident and stronger you become.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
2. Learn that Fear is only in our minds.
Fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. We can control our fears – they don’t control us. When you start to feel afraid, acknowledge the fear, feel it and then ask yourself “what is the worst thing that could happen to me if I did it?” Is the worst that could happen as bad as what you imagine it will be? It is ok to feel afraid and scared – it is not ok to let the fear control our minds.
“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca
3. Get to know your 3 Big Fears.
There are 3 Big Fears which are the source of all your fears. Write your 3 Big Fears down and then put a plan in place on how you will deal with them one by one until you feel you are in control. You need to know what you are dealing with so that you can take one step at a time.Be realistic about confronting your fears. Its a life long journey so you don’t have to rush it. You just have to keep moving forward in your life.
“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
– Judy Blume
4. Focus on the Positives’ in Your Life.
Get yourself a journal and every day for 1 month write down:
- 1 positive thing that happened to you today
- 1 thing you are grateful for in your life today
- 1 good deed that you did today where you helped someone.
At the end of the month read your journal and then write down the top 3 things that month that you feel positive about, the top 3 things that you are grateful for and the top 3 deeds that you have done where you have helped someone. If you can complete that exercise I guarantee you will start to feel more positive and you will also see a more positive picture of your future. Not one bit of fear insight.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.”
– Maya Angelou
5. Be prepared for hard times and for failure.
It’s a life long journey managing your fears. Learn from other fearless people about how you can be more resilient and where you can find your courage. Resilience and courage will give you the strength and determination to master your fears.
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
– Vincent Van Gough
6. Plan to Be Great.
Having a plan of action will mean that you won’t fall into the trap of giving too much time, energy or attention to fear. Be accountable and start to work toward getting results. In your Plan to be Great you need to be real about yourself and about what action steps you will need to take toward achieving your dreams. You will need to calculate, minimise and manage the level of risk – this is essential to the success of your plan. The last and the most important thing to be noted in your plan is that you are accountable for celebrating your victories. The past and the present victories need to be recorded in a journal, shared and celebrated. Please don’t forget to Celebrate because if you do forget you will find your fears will start to appear more regularly in your daily thoughts.
Become comfortable with your fears, embrace your fears and start learning how to be a master at managing your fears. Once you manage your fears then you will accomplish feats in your life that you would have thought impossible. You will find that you will be living your greatest and happiest moments when you push through the barriers of fear. Why would you not want to Master Your Fears if you know how great the rewards are?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who am I to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?”
– Marianne Williamson
Featured photo credit: imgix via unsplash.imgix.net