We all feel fear … don’t let anyone tell you they don’t. The truly successful have simply found a way to break through their fear.
Nelson Mandela had it right when he said …
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
So how do you conquer fear?
How do you grow your business without letting fear hold you back?
Some of us are staying within our comfort zones and this is our best way of ‘conquering fear’.
Your Inner Critic, the voice in the mind that speaks to you all day, runs on fear. This is the voice that tells you that you shouldn’t take risks, because you might fail; that you need to keep yourself safe and protected from the possibility of rejection, inadequacy, vulnerability; that you should not put yourself out there to the world, because what if the the world says “no?”. This Inner Critic develops in childhood as an attempt to avoid painful feelings, protecting you from feeling hurt in any way. It might sound like, “you should…”, “why didn’t you…?”, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Why can’t you get it together?” It is the Inner Critic that is responsible for keeping you stuck! That voice that tells us we can not don’t, we don’t have what it takes to do the project. It creates fear and sometimes paralysis. We feel we cannot move further than where we are, we are doomed and cursed.
Does this sound familiar?
We all have fears that can sometimes cause anxiety and stress but what does it do for us in the long run?
For as long as I can remember, I have always been the type of person that has his mind five steps ahead of the pace my feet are moving. I am constantly coming up with amazing ideas on how to make myself a better person or how to make my business more successful etc. What I have noticed is that there have been times that I have had such exciting ideas that I love and I just know that I need to do something with them but they end up just sitting in my creative journal, why you ask? Because fear kicks in and I start to doubt myself, which then leads to immense anxiety and I just pop the idea aside to do the ‘not so scary things’.
How can we overcome fear?
- EMBRACE IT
Put the fear right in front of you. Look at it, step into it, feel it as much as you can…let it get as big as you can. Stay with it as long as you can and when the fear is at it biggest, then look at it, observe it, can you see yourself as separate from the fear? Can you see what is underneath the fear, behind the fear? Notice as you are doing this that through your awareness the fear starts loosing its hold on you.
- TRANSFORM IT
Whenever the feeling of fear arises and slows you down, stops you, freezes you, pick up a towel and scream into the towel, right through the fear. This is a powerful way to transform the fear energy into an energy of excitement. I believe this to be the most powerful tool on how to overcome fear.
- CHANGE IT
Learning to shift our focus away from what we stand to lose, and toward what we stand to gain, will completely change our perception of the situation. This simple shift can quickly leave us feeling more courageous and eager to take action! Many people are in the habit of seeing the negative side of any challenging situation. If we focus more on how big the challenge seems, instead of the potential benefits, we will resist taking action because all we can see is the potential, negative risks involved. The more we focus on the possibility of loss the more fear we create. With this kind of mindset, wanting to move forward toward our dreams probably won’t provide enough incentive to overcome these fears. As a result, we will continuously hold ourselves back and end up accomplishing far less than we are capable of.
- LIST IT
You may find it helpful to make a list of any specific fears you have and get them out in the open. In each situation that leaves you feeling hesitant or fearful, try to evaluate exactly what is holding you back. What is it that you are afraid will happen and why? Are those things really likely to occur, or is there only a slight chance?
Then use a separate sheet of paper and create a list of the benefits you stand to gain by moving forward. Be as specific and optimistic as you can. Remember that dread and fear will amplify your perception of the negative possibilities, which can make the positive benefits seem significantly smaller or less important. So, you may need to work a little harder at emphasizing the positive.
- ACT UPON IT
If you do decide that the time to take action is now, you may still need to work at building up your courage a bit before you act. Creating a well thought out plan of action will go a long way in this area. Remember, the only person with the power to hold you back, or move you forward, is YOU. At its core, courage is largely the determination to conquer any fear, hesitation or excuse that attempts to separate you from your dreams.
Whatever you do, don’t try to convince yourself into believing that you have to be completely fearless before moving toward your goals! The most successful people in the world would openly confess that they eventually had to be resolved to move forward despite their fears and feelings of uncertainty!
Courage is absolutely a choice, and fear does not have the power to rob you of your dreams, motivation, and strength unless you decide to let it.