The reason being is that, when the rollercoaster ride gets too bumpy, entrepreneurs and business professionals fall into the victim trap and stop believing in themselves and the pursuit of their dreams.
But there’s a deeply-rooted reason as to why people fall short of going all the way and realizing their goals. The biggest mental roadblock holding people back is fear.
The truth about fear is in your brain
Fear wreaks havoc in our minds. Research has found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thoughts, 80 percent are negative and fear-based; another 95 percent are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
Fear-based thoughts that diminish our sense of self-worth and contain words like “never,” “won’t,” and “can’t” are particularly draining and deplete the body by producing corresponding chemicals that weaken our physiology. This may explain why you’re typically exhausted at the end of the day.
One study referenced in the book, The Worry Cure, found that 85 percent of what study subjects typically feared and worried about never actually happened! For the 15 percent of fears that actually did occur, the majority of study subjects discovered that they could either handle the challenge better than expected, or the challenge taught them a valuable lesson.
3 ways to overcome fear
If you’ve been operating on a mindset of fear over the years, and it’s been limiting your full potential and purpose in life, a mind-set shift is totally possible. Apply the following strategies in moments where fear rears its ugly head.
1. Process with self-coaching questions.
Ask yourself three self-coaching questions to any roadblock standing in the way, or any tough decision you may have to make where fear is holding you back.
- What am I afraid of?
- Why am I afraid?
- What would I do if I weren’t afraid?
When you have the courage to really get introspective and ace these questions, it allows you to get in touch with your heart — with what it is you truly want, free of fear, doubt, or worry clouding your dreams and deepest desires. This is when the work of self-discovery truly begins.
The key? It’s following through on that last powerful question that demands action and intentionality — “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”
So, what would you do? Quit that dead-end job to start a non-profit? Boldly ask for that raise you rightfully deserve?
2. Hack your brain.
President Roosevelt famously quipped, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s that feeling you get before you walk on stage for the first time to deliver a keynote address. The anticipation of fear kicks in and you turn to jell-o.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Hardy explains that we can train our brain to succeed by literally hacking our system. He says we can switch off the fear response by training our brain to accept that there’s no threat or danger attached to an event.
Any drama we make up in our head is merely that–drama. It’s usually made up, scripted, and based on a past experience that we’re attaching to current reality. Chances are good it’s false truth and it has no power over you.
3. Adapt to fear.
Most of us haven’t arrived at the stage of learning to face our demons and effectively deal with fear. We shrink from it and run away.
To adapt to fear so that it has no control over you requires something no one wants to face: more exposure to whatever it is that you fear.
Hardy says that most people are not willing to go through that short period of time of habituation (he recommends submerging yourself in your fear for 90-days). For example, in boot camp, soldiers are submerged into an amazing amount of stress and a constant overload of fear to the point where they don’t fear anymore.
Hardy suggests that if you literally just submerge yourself in the fear long enough, the illusion of fear (because there’s no such thing — fear is actually an illusion we make up in our minds), will disappear from your life. Whatever was your greatest detriment now becomes your greatest strength.
When you figure out and conquer the thing that you fear–it’s usually the most important thing that you need to make your business successful.
To put this to the test, have relentless contact with the activity or activities that you fear for a period of 90-days. If Hardy is correct in his estimation, by the end of that period you’ll no longer experience your fear.
Originally published on Inc.
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