To get what we want out of life we need to acknowledge and experience fear. We need to courageously step out of our “comfort zone” and face our fears head on. Here are a few questions to help you get started in facing your fears. Take a few minutes and answer these questions. Put it in writing so you can look back on it later.
- What do I fear? Make a list of the things you are afraid of and of the things you are afraid to do. Identify the fear(s) that are holding you back in life and limiting your success. By identifying what we fear, we are taking the first step to conquering it.
- What are my strengths? List the strengths you can draw upon to help you master your fear. For example, “I am strong”. “I have handled my fear of ______ and it turned out ok. List as many as you can. If you are willing to be temporarily scared as you face your fears, note this as a strength.
- Who can help me? We don’t have to face our fears alone. Ask for help or morale support. Talk to someone who does what you fear the most or someone who will walk thru it with you. Remember that everyone experiences fear in life, others are just handling it differently. Seek support from others who will encourage you. Find a cheerleader.
- What is the worse thing that can happen? Look at the “what if’s”. What if I did X and things did not work out, then Y would happen. Try to look at these worst case scenarios realistically without allowing your mind to build up unrealistic situations that will never happen. By looking at the worse case realistic scenarios, you can prepare for them in advance. At the same time, don’t dwell on past failures. Draw on what you have done right and what has worked in the past.
- How can I minimize my risks? For each “What if?” consider the potential outcomes and identify what you can do to eliminate or at least decrease the possibility of this worse case scenario from occurring. Doing this is very liberating and puts you in control of the situation. Knowledge is power. The more you know about your fear, your risks, the obstacles, and what to do, the more control you gain over the situation and your fear.
- What are the steps I can take to face my fear? Instead of eating a whole pie, we eat it one piece and one bite at a time. We need to use this strategy as we face our fear. Refrain from taking one big leap or eating the entire pie in one bite. Break it down into doable steps and enjoy your success in the smaller bites.
- Why am I doing this? Look at your reasons for facing your fear? Is it to open the door to new opportunities? Is it to inspire you to do other things? Is it to improve the quality of your life? This will serve as a reminder as to why facing your fear is a priority in your life.
- What good can come out of facing my fear? What are the best things that could happen if you face your fear? How will it change your life? What opportunities can occur as you open this door? Visualize success and the good things that come out of facing your fear. Fantasize about how life will be after you overcome your fear. Focus on the positive outcomes. For example, if you fear public speaking, take time out to shut your eyes and visualize yourself doing a stellar job when addressing a group. Use this to replace the mental image you previously had of getting up in front of a group and failing.
As you face your fears, take time out regularly to focus on the good things going on in your life. Pat yourself on the back for the things you have already accomplished. Develop a habit of turning off negative thoughts and focusing on the positives.
Take one step at a time. Use baby steps. It may take longer, but it creates momentum and builds our self confidence along the way. At the same time, refrain from procrastination. The longer you take to act, the more time you have to talk yourself out of it and the more time you have to imagine things going wrong.
Using your experiences and wisdom, and these simple guidelines can help you put fear into perspective and change your life. It has mine. I have faced my fear of public speaking, of success, of failure, cancer and of death, as well as many other fears forgotten along the way. Life is too short to waste it on being scared. Our time is limited so we should spend our time enjoying it to the fullest.