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What You Should Do When Facing Fear

What You Should Do When Facing Fear

As humans, we are each unique. In fact, each one is so unique that we possess our own fingerprints. There is no one just like you.  As humans, we are also very similar: We all experience the same range of emotions. All around this world of ours, joy, sorrow and even fear are shared experiences. You are not alone when facing insurmountable fear. Read below for a few guidelines of what to do when you are gripped by fear.

Define Your Fear

When fear strikes, we often get the “deer in the headlights” syndrome. Fear has a way of paralyzing us. One cannot think clearly while looking through eyes of fear. Many times we avoid situations due to fear, and yet we haven’t even defined what about the situation is causing us to be alarmed. Rudyard Kipling states it well in this quote: “Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.” Next time you are facing a situation and fear moves in, dissect the reason you are afraid.  Don’t turn away from what is happening; instead, expose the reason you are afraid.

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It may surprise you that you were wrong about the real cause of your fear. For example, you may want to make a big change in your life, such as a career switch or relocation, yet you are held back by fear.  Are you afraid of consequences? Are you afraid of others’ reactions to your choices? Are you holding on to fear of the unknown? Once you begin to understand where your emotions are stemming from, you will be able to address them more clearly and move forward.

Look Straight Ahead

When I first began to drive, I was petrified of passing 18-wheeler trucks on the highway. My anxiety would rise when I would come near them. One day while driving with a passenger, he sensed immediately my fear of trucks. A simple sentence he said changed the way I drive, and actually the way I handle fear. He said, “just look ahead, focus on what is in front of you and don’t look at the truck next to you. Simply, look ahead!”

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What a difference it has made when I need to pass trucks; now instead of looking to the right, seeing the truck (my fear), and feeling the nervousness, I simply look straight ahead in my lane. The fear has subsided and my driving has even improved. When facing things that cause you to fear, look straight ahead. Don’t look around at what is causing you to be fearful. Focus ahead, travel on, and conquer your fear.

Stretch Yourself

For you to move beyond your fears, it is vital that you begin to stretch yourself.  Once you know what is causing you to be afraid, you can begin to implement ways to dispel your anxiety. For example, if you are afraid to speak in front of a large group and yet your new position requires this, begin by taking small steps. Join a local organization that trains people to give speeches. Gather a few of your friends and family around and give a speech.  Find ways to move out of your comfort zone and move fearlessly toward freedom. Jack Canfield said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”  This is so true. Who would you be if you let go of your fear?

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Don’t Be Held Back

What fears are holding you back? It is important to understand that whatever you are afraid of holds you captive. You could be experiencing so much more joy, peace and freedom if you tear away from the chains that bind you. You can learn to master the fear that is currently mastering you.

Don’t allow yourself to wallow in anxiety. Rise up and become your own hero and take hold of the reins of your life. This is a simple, yet complex thing to do.  We are creatures of habit, and it seems so much easier to remain in the condition that we are in than to conquer the things in our lives that keep us down.  I promise you though, your life will take on more meaning and possibility than you have ever experienced.  It is so worth it!

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Replace Your Fear

Anytime you are trying to improve an area of your life, remember: One can not just remove a negative factor without replacing it with a positive one.  Those haunting, scary voices that create fear inside your mind need to be replaced with words that chase the fear away.  Our self-talk mandates so much of our day-to-day dealings with the world.  In order to move beyond your fears and limitations, you need to talk to yourself with words of comfort and hope.

After analyzing the reality of your fear, you will be able to speak to those fears and replace them with truth. Replace your fear with an exercise related to your fear and  break free. Whatever it takes, whether it be baby steps,  taking deep breaths, or finding an activity that grows you beyond your fear, do it.  You will be so grateful once you do. You will look back at how limited your life once was, and be able to compare it to your newfound abandon.

This is a short list of things to do when facing fear. I encourage you to take action today!  Don’t wait any longer. Don’t allow fear to control your life one more moment. Life passes by at a rapid speed; surely there is much more left to experience if you are brave enough to slay the giants in your life.

Featured photo credit: Hartwig HKD via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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