We all have hopes and dreams in life, things we want to achieve, things we want to reach high for, but more often than not there’s always that one thing stopping us from achieving it, that one thing that stands in the way of us arriving at that place, that thing that holds us back, the F-Word – Fear.
Fear is something we all suffer from intimately, but working to overcome our fear is a vital step in achieving our goals and dreams. Fear is one of the most common reasons why we procrastinate, why we never quite get to the end and never quite finish what we started, it’s always there lurking like a monster under the bed.
And fear comes in so many ways. We fear failure, rejection, embarrassment, getting hurt and we doubt our ability to do some things because of this feeling of not being sufficient, not being enough, like there’s a wall we just simply can’t get through which is stopping us from reaching that dream. All excuses! Instead, we play it safe and avoid taking risks or trying new things, and just carry on the usual day-to-day living, afraid to step outside of the box we call our comfort zone.
The problem here is that we will continue to go around and around in circles and repeat ourselves, repeat our days, still be in the same place getting further and further away from that dream. But why is that? Why do we continue to live the life we’re board of in a bid to avoid fear, rather than facing that trepidation, which in turn could change our lives and take us to our happy place? Is it not worth the pain of confronting that which scares us even if staying in the same place in your life is even more painful?
Fear is natural, but where does it come from? Within. Fear comes from within us, within our own minds and imagination, it’s all self-created. We get scared when we are imagining negative outcomes, when we think about all the things that could go wrong, how stupid it will make us look to the outside world, or that the dream is so big we doubt our ability to change our lives and make it happen.
The crazy monkey inside our head may well be writing a potential best seller horror movie script, but fear is all about what might happen, not what will happen, it’s just our imagination picturing the worst possible outcome and our mind and emotions playing the lead roles. Facing our fears is terrifying, we’ve all been there but we if we want to face our fears and change our lives and achieve those dreams, we have to just dive in.
So if we’re the ones that create the fears, we should be able to overcome them too, right? When we’re hit with a worst-case scenario situation, where we would usually become the victim of our fears, instead we need to overcome those by consciously deciding to concentrate on the positive aspects, on the best-case scenario in that circumstance, the things that will help us shut-the-crazy-monkey-up and allow us to write our own script.
9 Strategies to deal with your fears…
Make a list of the things you’re afraid of:
Now I don’t mean catching a spider or cleaning the oven, I’m talking things you’ve always wanted to do but the dreaded F-Word has stopped you. Skydiving, quitting your job or asking for a pay rise, breaking up with your partner or at least having the balls to confront to him or her about your unhappiness. Maybe it’s setting up your own online store or starting a Vlog on You Tube. Writing stuff down has been proven to be more effective in its completion than merely thinking about it so whatever the dream, whatever the thing you’ve always wanted to do, write it down so you can see it staring back at you.
Take more control:
As mentioned above, if we are the ones creating the fears, there has to be a way that we can make them go away too. Adding to your list above, write down your worst fears and what you will do to transform them into a positive outcome. For example; “Instead of imagining that I will go bankrupt and lose my house, I will work hard to do whatever it takes to make my business a success.” Each of these statements you write will flip fear on its head and transform the situation into a positive vision of success, making you feel even more powerful in reaching those goals.
Become more aware:
Our thoughts produce emotions so if we want to change the way we feel, we need to change the way we think. Whenever you feel fear, retrace your steps above in your head, or write down what you’re feeling right there along with the positive alternative ending, and embrace it. Think about the things that led you to that fear. Once you identify them, it will be easier to resolve them.
Choose to be positive:
We all think negative thoughts, we can help that, we’re human and when fear raises its head, it’s very hard not to think that way. Thinking positively can be hard in any given situation but take the fear out of it and look at the situation for what it really is. If you want to become a best-selling author, you may be thinking negative thoughts like “What if publishers reject my manuscript?” but look at it this way, what if he doesn’t and you react the best sellers list!
Note the physical effects:
Fear doesn’t just affect the brain, there’s also a physical experience we go through when we’re scared of something. Tightening of the throat, stiffness in the neck and the shoulders, your stomach is doing somersaults and your heart rate increases. When this happens, we need to again focus on the positive emotions. Think of your happy place, the place that brings you joy and peace. Imagine yourself there right now, experiencing the sensations you feel when you’re in that zone, and your fears will soon disappear.
Using affirmations to create a positive outlook is essential for the perfect confident mindset. Affirmations are powerful statements describing the reality that we are trying to create, once the fear has gone. Affirmations should also be written like they’ve already been achieved; “I am so happy that I’ve finally finished by first book and it’s gone to print!”. “I am thrilled to have spoken in front of all those people today, helping them with direction in their lives.” Writing these as if they have already happened will create a sync between your mind and your physical reaction.
Take this affirmation for example, “I am so happy and grateful now that I am a New York Times bestselling author.” When visualise the emotion of your statement and including the emotion in your words, you instantly open yourself up to experiencing that feeling, like you’ve already achieved it, you can close your eyes and picture yourself in that moment. Feels good, right? Just as the emotion of fear can paralyse you, intense positive emotions can motivate you toward greater success.
Fear is of course an indicator. When we feel fear, we know that there’s something up ahead that scares us, something we are afraid of, something that could go wrong, and that’s a good thing, it keeps us on our toes. If you were looking to start a business, to grow and achieve the success you want may mean you have to risk something but be realistic. Don’t go putting all your assets and all your savings into one basket, it could all go wrong, but also don’t let the fear of this ‘potentially’ happening stop you from living this dream. Just make sure that you can bear the loss if you don’t succeed the first time, maybe begin by taking smaller challenges and work your way up. If you want to run a marathon for example, start slowing with a simple 5K app. Master the skills you need to learn, move through your fears, and then take on bigger challenges.
We’ve all faced fears in our lives to date, first driving lesson, first kiss, first day at a new job, and for me, moving to the other side of the world. But they have made us the person we are today and facing those fears, which we’ve all also done, builds up our confidence and gives us the belief in ourselves and the power we need to overcome these situations and make stuff happen! Facing your fear is the best possible way to grow as a person and achieve more in life. I have so many successful friends and have read so many books on people that have taken the leap of faith and gone with their heart over their head because they knew that if they didn’t, they’d never move forward and be stuck on that merry-go-round of life forever. We should recognise fear for what it is, a simple mental trick our ego uses to protect us from the negative outcomes it imagines but reaching for the positivity and learning that we have the power to dissolve them is nothing to be afraid of, and something we should celebrate.
Fear will always be there and these steps won’t make it go away but they will help you deal with it. You may well think to yourself,“What if this doesn’t work?” “What if it doesn’t happen for me?”, but what if it does work and what if you can really do this!!
By shifting your questions to focus more on action and solutions, you will find it easier to maintain your momentum moving forward and fear will just be something that sits in the background of every decision you make, but it won’t stop you from move onwards, it won’t hold you back from your dreams, and it won’t define your future.
I challenge you to do something that scares you every day! Let us know how it went!
Written by Editor, Rhian Cable
Mum, Wife, Marketing Specialist and Blogger – Living life every minute.