Have you ever imagined living your life without the clouds of fear or doubt hanging over your head? What about living your life feeling confident about every step you take and every decision you make? Well, if there was any emotion that can hold you back from growing as an individual or leader and prevent you from achieving the highest levels of success, its fear. Regardless of whether you are working in your current occupation, running a company, or serving as the leader of an organization, high achievers understand that taking massive action coupled with taking risks are essential factors in moving forward and achieving significant levels of success.
Before you start beating yourself up and letting fear stop you in your tracks, you need to know that feeling some amount of anxiety is normal. As a human being, your brain is hardwired to be on the constant lookout for things that might harm you. There are several ways fear can impact you. In addition to stopping you from taking risks, fear can also cause you to make poor decisions or treat your team members poorly. So, there are a few key things to master on your journey to overcoming your fears are not letting.
If you’re ready to begin the journey to overcome your fears, but not quite sure how to do it, no problem. In this article, I’m going to share with you three surefire methods you can start using today for conquering your fears
1. Use the Power of the Pause and the Power of Visualization to Prepare For a Successful Outcome.
If you find yourself feeling anxious and fearful about an upcoming event, that’s a great time to put “The Power of The Pause” to work for you. The Power of the Pause is a simple technique I discovered that allows you to break the cycle of fear. Many people will notice that just thinking about an upcoming event like an awkward conversation or doing something new will cause them to feel physical responses like anxiety, uneasiness, the jitters, and others. So when you find yourself overthinking about an upcoming event and imagining a story that ends with the worst possible outcome (which, by the way, is what a lot of people do), just press pause on that story. What I mean by pressing pause is pausing the movie that is playing in your mind. Then acknowledge that the story spinning in your brain is nothing more than a made-up story.
What you’ve been imagining, hasn’t happened. Even though the movie playing in your mind is a made-up story, it can feel like it’s real. That’s the power of your imagination and visualization in action, but working against you. Now, we are going to change the channel and play a different movie to prepare yourself for a successful outcome. This time, by picturing yourself feeling calm instead of being frightened and seeing yourself doing what you need to do flawlessly instead of miserably. By changing this story, you can quite that part of your brain related to fear (a.k.a. the Amygdala), and open up that portion of your brain related to innovation, trust, creativity and executive thinking (a.k.a. The Prefrontal Cortex). By doing this, you will both feel much better and become better able to think of new ways of doing things, think creatively, open up your heart and mind to trust yourself and others and make better decisions. Plus, by using the Power of the Pause combined with the power of visualization, you can once and for all start conquering your fear.
2. Have a Well Thought Out Plan
Sometimes the reason people feel afraid is that they don’t have a clear plan in mind to help them do whatever it is that they want to do. If that’s you, and the moment you begin to worry and over-analyze a situation, it could mean that you’re feeling afraid simply because you don’t have a well thought out plan. How do you conquer that fear? It’s simple. You put together a plan of attack to ensure that you set clear goals with a detailed plan of how you will achieve your goals. After you put together a comprehensive plan, take massive action to execute the plan.
Sometimes, you may find yourself either wanting or needed to do something new that you’ve never done before, and you have no idea how to do it. In those situations, people often get stuck because they feel like they can’t put together a detailed plan. If that’s you, don’t panic.
Instead of panicking and allowing your Amygdala to shut off your access to the prefrontal cortex part of your brain, this is a perfect time to relax and use your imagination while remembering the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.” Next, ask yourself inspiring questions like:
- What could I do to make this happen?
- Where could I look to figure out how to do it?
- Are there people I could talk to that might be able to help me figure this out?
- Has anyone else done this before? If so, how did they do it?
You can also ask yourself a series of “what if” questions, like:
- What if it was possible, how would I start?
- What if I tried it this way?
- What if I accomplished this, how would it make me feel?
If you need a little kickstart to get your creative juices flowing, you can ask yourself some questions like the ones below:
- Health: “What if I felt energetic, focused, clear, and ready to go every morning when I first woke up?”
- Excitement: “What if I took the most one of the most outrageous adventures of my life this year?”
- Personal Wealth: “What if I had $5 million in liquid assets invested by 2025? What would my life be like then?”
- Learning: “What if I finally learned to paint with watercolors, practice a martial art, or do something else that I’ve been thinking about for years?”
- Team Building: “What if we doubled our sales this year or made some considerable improvements to our culture?”
By asking this type of what-if questions, you relieve stress and give yourself a sense of possibilities and enjoyment. It will also engage your brain in searching for ways that you can take that first step and even more.
Remember, fear often creeps up and paralyzes you if you do not take the time to plan your next steps. So, take a little time to write out some goals and the plans to get them accomplished.
3. Do Something Every Day That Scares You
One of the biggest myths that hold people back from living the life of their dreams is the belief that staying in your comfort zone is the key to happiness. The truth is, what most people consider to be their “comfort zone “in reality is their survival zone. In other words, this is the place, level, or set of circumstances in which they feel like they can survive without much if any, discomfort. It is in this place that most people take no risks and do nothing to grow. Instead, they do what they feel like they need to do to “maintain the status quo” and remain “comfortable.”
Remaining comfortable and thriving, however, are not the same. My guess is if you are reading this article, you may want more out of life than just remaining comfortable. If that is correct, you must conquer your fears or your fears will defeat you. Indeed, not doing the things that frighten you will magnify your worries and put them in the driver’s seat of your life.
That doesn’t mean you need to start the journey of conquering your fears by doing something that nearly scares you to death. You certainly can start there if you want to, but you don’t have to. Instead, you can start by doing something that scares you a little bit and then continuing to do something that scares you a little bit every day.
Just step outside of your comfort zone and work on becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. When you make it a practice to do this every day, your courage muscles will start growing little by little. If you stick with this practice for 30 consecutive days, you will develop a habit of being courageous, and very soon the barriers that were holding you back will vanish, you will conquer your fears, and you will begin to step into your unique greatness.
My Parting Thoughts
Drawing a line in the sand and deciding that fear will not hold you back anymore is one of the best decisions you can make to ensure your future success. Although it’s not as simple as merely clicking your heels, taking action and running towards your fears every day will benefit you much in the long run. I have shared with you three methods for conquering your fears. I hope you will put them to work in your life starting today.