A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about my thoughts on the new Shonda Rhimes book, Year of Yes.
Her book inspired me to think about the way I could take action and improve various areas of my own life.
But what was really remarkable for me was her realization that she had slowly made herself miserable by denying herself some really awesome experiences because of fear. Fear. Even though hard work had allowed her to reach amazing and historical professional highs, fear kept her from enjoying it.
And her story completely resonated with me. Because I know exactly what that feels like–being trapped by my very own thoughts telling me that I am not good enough. Telling me that it is not “realistic” to go after the things that I truly desire. That was my way of life for years. And I too was miserable.
Fear sucks. It has the power to paralyze. Fear has the potential to make each of us shrink. Fear has the power to imprison.
But we were born to be free. And the worse part about the prison that fear creates is that it can make you think that you are simply being”realistic” by not living. “Realistic” is what you want it to be. Staying in place out of fear is not “being realistic.” It’s being trapped and miserable.
The essence of life is growth and movement and change. Don’t let fear stop you from living.
In order to truly live a life of abundance, we simply cannot be ruled solely by fear.
Here are some tactics to help keep fear in its place so you can be free to go after what you really want:
1. Feel the fear, and do it anyway
You might think that there are some among us who are braver than most. And this might very well be true. But when we look at the word brave, it doesn’t mean that absence of fear. The definition of bravery is more along the lines of feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I’ve heard some of my favorite actors/comedians say that they still s get the bubble guts right before a performance. They feel the fear and do it anyway. They push through it. They don’t let fear stop them in their tracks.
Sometimes we simply have to go through an obstacle in order to get to the other side. Don’t stop. Go through it.
2. Assess the risk and make a plan
Whenever you are afraid of something, ask yourself what is the absolute worst that could happen. 90% of the time, the answer to the question is embarrassment. Or judgment from other people. So essentially, what that means is that you value other people’s opinion more than your own. And you’re willing to be a slave to other people’s opinion.
Well, that really does not sound fair to you at all. Love and believe in yourself enough to know that you are worth more than living a life in a cage because you give other people’s opinion so much power.
And sometimes the worst that could happen is far worse than embarrassment. Sometimes there are really dire consequences that can happen if you try something new and things don’t work out the way you hope they will. And honestly, I can’t tell you whether it’s worth it or not. You’re the only one who can decide that. But I do want you to consider what is it costing you not to do it in your decision making process. What will happen if you don’t try it?
Either way, make a plan for the worst case scenario. If you can do that and you are OK with the consequences, move forward. Due your research. What happens to other people when they do it? Figure it all out.
By the way, the worst case scenario very rarely happens.
3. Practice visualizing success
One thing that really successful people do is practice visualization. If you don’t do this already, cultivate a habit of imagining your success in your head. Here’s how to do it. Pick something you are very afraid of– public speaking, starting a business, accepting an invitation, etc. Now visualize yourself being successful in that endeavor– you deliver a speech with no problems and the audience is giving you a standing ovation; your bank account balance is overflowing from income made in your business; you are enjoying yourself with at the event. Within the visualization, concentrate on your mannerisms and your stance. Concentrate on your breathing. Do this daily as a habit. Set a deadline and do it. That’s it. You have to do it.
4. Build a Fear Response Team
A support team is on every single list that I give. Because I think it is that important. We are inherently social beings and we need other like-minded supportive to help us. Keep people in your circle who simply will not allow you to succumb to unreasonable fear. This may be really difficult to do because unfortunately, there are many people who will simply endorse the fear that keeps you small and trapped. But you can find like-minded folks who will encourage you to grow and expand while providing support.
5. Inch by Inch
You don’t have to face your deepest and darkest fear right away all at once (though many have used this tactic successfully) in order to conquer your fear. You could also tackle it inch by inch. Break down the fear into smaller pieces and set deadlines on when to accomplish them.
OK. So these are my tips for fighting fear.
Now I’d like to hear from you. What is a fear of yours that you would finally like to conquer and move on?
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