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Taking the Power Out of Fear

Start visualizing the best-case scenario.

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Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash
Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

Eleanor Roosevelt once said to do one thing every day that scares you. This advice is often easier said than done, especially if you are facing a situation that is unfamiliar or where you do not yet know the outcome.

Consider decisions like taking a new job offer or moving to another city. It’s easy to get lost in one’s head thinking about the pros and cons associated with such big changes. Fear of failure, of going it alone, of the (presumably difficult) challenges ahead, can twist thoughts about a great opportunity into a worst-case scenario before it has yet to happen.

One of the best ways you can keep fear from taking over is to take the power out of fear. Using these approaches may help you embrace a mindset that allows you to become fearless in your personal and professional life.

Ask yourself: is there actual proof of what I fear?

Jhanelle Peters, registered psychotherapist (qualifying) and mental health clinician for the Toronto Raptors, often tells her clients that fear is what sits on the other side of the unknown. It’s easy to be afraid when we don’t have concrete answers about what happens next.

Once you acknowledge that fear is present, Peters recommends asking yourself if there is actual proof of what you fear. It’s normal to be afraid, but we still need to check in and see if this is really something to be afraid of.

“Our brain naturally has a negative bias and will tell us things that make us question the next step or exploring something new,” Peters says. “We need to remind ourselves that this is just our brain going to that place. Often times we have nothing valid to confirm our fearful thought.”

Develop confidence in your ability to withstand challenge.

ACE-Certified personal trainer Gabrielle Bolin defines fearlessness as the deep-seated understanding that, even if the worst should occur, the outcome will always be survivable. A fearless person is one who has confidence in their ability to withstand challenge.  

How do you know if you have what it takes to withstand challenges? Bolin advises making a list of the most difficult things you’ve gone through in your life. Then, reflect on how you have survived 100% of them. This exercise allows us to examine worst-case scenarios and identify skill sets we already possess. These skills can aid us in the event that our fearless decision doesn’t work out the way we wanted it to.

“Once one has a grasp on how powerful they are, how impermanent all outcomes are, and how much they’ve already proven they can endure, one can truly begin to appreciate how fearless they can be,” Bolin says.

Seek out support.

A fearless mindset is one that does not give problems the chance to grow. Recovery coach Jessica Leone finds one helpful approach is to ask for help. Get a different perspective from trustworthy individuals, like a therapist or those in your support group.

“You may not be able to see things clearly when you are fearful,” Leone says. “By talking about your fears with others, you are able to take a step back. This allows you to process if the fears are real or imagined, get feedback, and plan a solution moving forward.”

Start visualizing the best-case scenario.

Visualizing the best-case scenario is another method Leone encourages using to take the power out of fear.

“This helps to see you are able to get through it, and that whatever you feared in the first place was most likely intensified by false misconceptions made up in our own minds,” Leone says.

Peters also agrees with using this approach. “If fear was not present, how would you like for this to go? Changing the narrative allows fear to take a back seat.”

Let’s think about that job offer or move to another city again. As you consider the options, think of the positives. Your career may advance in the right direction. You may meet new people who can become close friends and confidantes. Think about how your skill sets, and confidence in yourself, allow you to lead a full, rich life without fear.

“Fearlessness creates a life that is truly worth living,” Bolin says. “By being open to risks, you are open to rewards. Fearlessness is the knowledge that failure is impermanent, and that all opportunities are positive, whether in outcome or as a learning experience.”

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