Fear is a barrier for many people and they wonder “how do I get rid of fear?” The only way you can get rid of fear is to not put yourself out there… just keep doing the same things over and over. Well that sounds boring. You should really be asking yourself, in Seth Godin’s words, “How do I dance with the fear?”
Here is a great interview with Seth about Dancing with Fear and a great quote from him:
“It’s one thing to be afraid. But mostly we are afraid of being afraid. Mostly we are insulating ourselves from any situation where we might actually feel afraid. And that is why people look for shortcuts and that is why people hesitate to do work that matters. Not because we can’t deal with the fear, but because the fear of the fear is keeping us from even trying.”
It is normal to experience fear no matter who you are, it’s just like breathing. But I believe there is a difference between the kind of fear that holds us back (not thriving) and the “healthy” fear that’s telling us an action isn’t right for us. If you don’t want to do something because it feels “off” – trust your instincts and step back for a while. If you are afraid because it’s hard or intimidating – then take the plunge!
As I’ve gotten older and after dealing with cancer more than once, there is one thing I keep reminding myself. I have one life to live and there is no point of living it in fear. There are so many great things to do and experience. I intend to do them and thrive. And I won’t let fear stop me. Get out of my freakin’ way fear!
THE FIRST STEP TO BE FEARLESS IS TO GET RID OF THESE THOUGHTS:
• Fear of failing. You will fail. Failing is part of the path to success. Pick yourself up and try again. And again. Accept it and it won’t be so intimidating.
• Comparing yourself to others. This is a common and easy way to feel bad about yourself. It can immobilize you. You are just as important as everyone else.
• What others think of you. Don’t change or adapt to someone else’s belief(s) about what you should do or who you should be. You can’t please everyone.
• You might be embarrassed. Sometimes you might think you will look silly or inexperienced to others. So what. People will quickly forget because they are more interested in themselves anyway.
THE SECOND STEP IS TAKING ACTION. Here are 10 actions to help you be fearless:
1. Put things in perspective. In the grand scheme of things, why are you scared? While you are freaking out about something, life keeps moving on with or without you. There are many others who have done more with less.
2. Adopt a gratitude mindset. Instead of focusing on the fear of doing something, be grateful for the opportunity instead. Public speaking scares me a lot and I am grateful some people want to hear me speak.
3. Write your goals down. Having your goals in writing helps you see the “big picture” and will help with decision making in your life. It’s kind of like a road map to keep you from veering off to areas (the wrong direction) that don’t support who you are or what you want.
4. Embrace change. Change is part of life and that is constant. Follow where it leads you. Don’t fight it. Work toward your goal(s) but be aware of signs when you need to make adjustments. Be flexible and open to other possibilities.
5. Find mentors and positive influencers. Look to those who you believe are successful and want to be like. Don’t be afraid to ask for their guidance either. One of the influencers I look to is Seth Godin. I was fortunate enough to be part of his inaugural altMA program this past June. This definitely pushed my limits and helped me grow as a writer.
6. Be objective. Try to be an objective observer of your own life. Take an interest in understanding the different situations you encounter. Try to take emotion out of decisions.
7. Visualize what you want. Create a clear picture in your mind of what fearlessness looks like. Watch someone do something fearless that scares you (I’m not referring to something dangerous…). Then imagine yourself as that person.
8. Take action every day. Decide what you want and then start the work to achieve it. Focus on the task at hand. Then the next task. Action is powerful. Do something…
9. Think BIG. Why think small and safe all the time? Make some big plans and bold actions. Make change happen. Live an extraordinary life. You don’t know until you try.
10. Release control. You can’t control every situation. We want to be in control, but we tend to be “free” when we relinquish it. In other words – allow yourself to make mistakes – because that is when growth takes place and we learn from failing.
Don’t be afraid to seek support either because some fears might require a deeper understanding. In that case, reach out to a counselor or coach. Or get an accountability partner. Don’t give up whatever it is.
Someone once told me that being too comfortable in life equals no growth. Don’t let fear hold you back. Overcoming fear requires a growth mindset. And taking action is the best way to get past needless fear. It’s an attitude really. Changing that attitude takes time and all you need is to practice, a little bit of action each day. You are in control.