For many, fear casts a dark shadow over their ability to shine their own light brilliantly. For some, it is a fear of FAILURE that keeps them from stepping into their powerful life. For others, it is the fear of SUCCESS that keeps them playing small. At its worst, intense fear can lead to a level of paralysis in our life that is marked by procrastination, avoidance, and the inability to move forward. In other words, fear makes us STUCK!
Fear is that nattering voice inside our heads that says, you can’t, you shouldn’t, what if, you’re not good enough, who are you to…. Fear keeps us from taking risks that might enrich our life or holds us back from doing some things we want to do. Want to accomplish something really great? Fear says, “Only if you promise I can’t fail!”
This isn’t to say that fear is all bad. At its best fear is an instinctive, natural ability to help us survive. It’s our body’s response to something it perceives as dangerous or could cause us harm. Without fear we might attempt to stroll across freeways or scratch behind a lion’s ears. But given the upper hand, fear can dominate our life and make even the innocuous—going to the supermarket or answering the phone—a daunting experience.
As entrepreneurs, fear can be the ultimate saboteur that prevents us from achieving amazing goals and building a successful business.
Ninety-nine percent of what we worry about never happens. Often I ask people, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Once they say it out loud, most realize that the extreme disaster or humiliation they have imagined is highly unlikely to happen. They also realize that they can survive no matter what happens.
On its own, fear won’t disappear. Following are some strategies to help you deal with fears that might be holding you back from something you want to do in your life or business.
- Get information. In an information vacuum, fear steps in to do what it thinks is its job. It thinks it is protecting you. When you find out more about what scares you, you replace the fear with knowledge.
- Learn how to do it. If there’s something you’d like to do, but you’re afraid to try, taking lessons will increase your confidence. We’re not born knowing how to speak in public or network effectively so join groups that can help you develop your skills.
- Find models. Learn from someone who’s not afraid. Observe how they model courage. Just as anxious, fearful behavior breeds the jitters, courageous behavior invites confidence.
- Talk about your fears. Keeping your fears to yourself only magnifies them. Bringing them out into the light and challenging them will shrink them. Find a good listener who will help you confront your fears but not make judgments.
- Talk to yourself. Self-talk filled with positive messages can change destructive fear energy into positive energy. Eliminate the “cant’s”, “shouldn’ts” and “ought-tos” from your self-talk vocabulary and remind yourself of the very capable person you are.
- Use your imagination. Before you arrive at the networking event, imagine the other guests are as frightened as you are. Or see your audience as people who really want the information you have. Visualize yourself doing what you are afraid to do; see yourself as graceful, strong, capable and successful.
- Expand your comfort zone. Take a small risk each day. Keep taking steps to move forward. Make one phone call, ask for one thing you want, go to one new place, talk to one new person. Little by little your confidence will expand, too.
- Relax and breathe. Sometimes the physiological response to fear creates even more fear. When we are in a state of fear, we don’t breathe deeply and this makes our body more tense and afraid. We can’t think clearly or remember things when we are in this state. Physically relax your body by breathing deeply in and out to release tension and get your brain working again.
- Ask for help. If your fears are pervasive or severe, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, in which case you should definitely seek help from a therapist. If your fears are not debilitating, but still get in the way of you doing what you want to do to achieve success in your life or business, asking for help from a success mindset coach can make all the difference.
Previously published on https://askdrsamantha.com/being-fearless-in-life-and-business/