5 Ways to Overcome Fear to Accomplish Your Wildest Dreams
Fear has a useful design to keep us from pain. The challenge we face is distinguishing useful fear (this lion is about to eat me) from perceived fear (they’re not gonna like me).
And when it comes to fulfilling our purpose, that’s the thing holding us back.
Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
We have a tendency to perceive things to be worthy of our fear, and in doing so we never take that crucial first step. In our modern world, we are rarely faced with legitimate dangers that threaten our health and well being. The majority of us have learned how to avoid the truly dangerous elements of our lives like touching fire and running with scissors. (If you haven’t, I’m not sure how you even figured out how to turn your computer on, let alone find this blog post.)
So the question then is, what are you afraid of? Some of the things we fear are loss, sorrow, pain, disappointment, and criticism. And even sometimes we fear personal accountability.
For me, it’s hard to admit that I’m afraid at times. I’m a pretty typical guy. Physically active, father of two, I coach hockey, football, baseball. I’m not supposed to be afraid. That’s how little boys are conditioned to become men. We’re taught to be brave.
Luckily I was also taught that courage isn’t moving forward in the absence of fear, but rather in spite of it.
So did I really learn that lesson? Nope. Well sometimes maybe. But when it comes to things like writing this post, or really deeply sharing who I am, I still feel that cut of both internal and external criticism that rattles around in the back of my head.
When that uncertainty and doubt comes up the question I ask myself is “what’s more important: how you feel now, or how you’ll feel after?” And for me, this framing helps me take that crucial first step to start using the 5 ways to overcome fear.
1.) Frame your thinking to ensure success.
The business philosopher Jim Rohn often aptly said:
“There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons”
The trick is overcoming our natural tendencies. When faced with equivalent outcomes, we will generally choose to avoid pain than accept pleasure.
What I do (admittedly imperfectly!) is tip the scales so that my brain immediately goes to the place of assured success. One of the simple things I do is visualize what it will BE like when I get there (a form of future thinking), and anytime the doubts creep in, I go right back to that affirming thought.
String enough of those transitions together and a new habit is formed!
2.) Keep an honest perspective on potential criticism.
Everyone has faced true criticism in their life. If you’re doing something outside of the “norm” you can expect it. But really think about how many people have ever REALLY criticized you?
For me, it’s maybe 5. For you it may be more or less, but compared to the number of people I know (easily more than 1500) 5 is NOTHING! Seriously, it represents .3% of the people I know.
So when that fear rears it’s ugly head, kill it with perspective.
3.) Focus on the wins, and learn from the losses.
I’ve done a lot in my life from jobs, to relationships, to a variety of adventures. Some have worked out, some haven’t. Both outcomes have been beneficial.
The events that didn’t work out have taught me what didn’t work and gives me an opportunity to analyze where the process was broken.
Those that did work out prove that positive outcomes are at the very least possible.
Life has it’s ups and downs, but remember that all the growth happens in the valley, not on top of the mountain.
4.) Remember the past, but don’t live in it.
And just to drive that last point home, we all have had failures. But can you go back and change that? NO! So why go and live in that place? Why do we focus on the target that’s behind us? It’s probably because we have certainty that something we tried before turned out the way it did.
To flip the script there, who’s to say that if you correct where you went wrong, you’ll get the same outcome? Sure there are no guarantees that things will work out, but there’s less of a guarantee that if you change what DIDN’T work that you’ll get the same result!
Learn from, but don’t live in, the past.
5.) “Pain is temporary, but pride is forever”
This is one of my favorite quotes. I wish I know who originally said it, but I remember my friends who were wrestlers in high school used to say it all the time. And it is a timeless truth.
Fight through it. Whatever it is that’s holding you back will only be killed by your success. So fight it. Make it happen. Do what it takes to succeed.
Think of it this way, if your child was in the middle of the street, with a car screaming directly for them, which would win: the fear of pain, or the pride of your life? You wouldn’t even think about it!
So don’t think about the pain. Overcome it, and get to your goal.
Use these 5 simple steps to start overcoming your fears.
And remember, today is a new day. Right now, there is something stirring in you that you’ve been wanting to do. But you’re afraid.
Don’t let fear determine your future. There’s too much to gain, and we all need you to show up.
We’re counting on you to live the fantastic life and can’t wait to see what you’ve got.
So, how is fear holding you back, and what is the first step you’ll take today to conquer your fear?
Kill Fear For Good!