We’ve all experienced it at some point. “Heightened breathing, a racing heart, tightened muscles, rapid sweating,” these are all associated with fear.
But what is fear?
There are various definitions of fear but basically, fear is the unintentional fright and panic of the body caused by a worrying event or a dangerous stimulus. Fear originates in the brain and causes the body to react. Because it originates in the brain, anyone can overcome fear. As psychiatrist Karl Menninger said “Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.”
Fear is Holding You Back
Fear, in some cases, is good as it holds us back from doing wrong, like cheating on an test. But in most instances, fear affects us negatively. If you are scared of taking risks or trying new things, then fear is holding you back from something that could improve your life. “Fear of the unknown can hold you back from new opportunities both in business and in your personal life.”
I have interviewed many millionaires and most of them have admitted that fear is one of the main factors that prevents a person from achieving success. This happens because fear prevents a person from even trying due to the belief that they will inevitably fail. Fear can hold you back from developing your business to its full potential and it can also prevent you from having a better life.
Fear is very complex and in order to overcome it we must repeatedly confront it. By confronting fear, we will be able to suppress the thing that triggers the fear. It is important to overcome fear in order to achieve goals. When we fight our fears and decide that fear won’t put us down or prevent us from trying something new, good things will happen.
Overcoming fear makes us stronger as individuals. We will be better adapted to cope and deal with other situations. Overcoming fear also results in success in the long run. If you deal with the fear and pursue a business investment you’ve been afraid of, you may succeed. While you may not be successful every time, you will always achieve success in personal growth.
Fear can be a good thing
Yes, you read that right. Fear is not always a bad thing. There is unharnessed power in fear. When this power is used, it can bring a positive outcome.
When you learn to overcome fear, you will stay ahead of the rest and remain in the game after others quit. You will also keep growing while others stay stagnant. Overcoming fear gives you the courage to live life and not worry about the uncertainty of tomorrow.
You should not fear pursuing anything in life because life is too short to waste valuable “living” time fearing what we are not even sure of. That’s great, but how do you do that?
How to overcome fear
Rome was not built in a day. Consequently, fear cannot be overcome as fast as you may like. However, there are several ways to start the process.
Name the fear
Ask yourself what is it you’re really afraid of. Naming the specific fear is the first step in overcoming that fear. Determining what makes you scared will help you hand-pick the best approach for combating that specific fear and eventually freeing yourself from it.
For example, let’s say you have a fear of public speaking. What is it about public speaking that scares you? Is it screwing up or maybe others judging you? If you can pinpoint the exact thing that scares you, you will be more equipped to actually squashing the fear.
Recognize what it’s holding you back from
In order to gather enough strength to fight your fears, you must recognize what the fear is hampering you from achieving. Knowing what you are missing out on will make you more focused and determined to fight and eventually overcome your fear. This will also go a long way in helping you create a plan for overcoming the fear. Maybe you’re missing out on financial success in your business or a better life.
Visioning – envision the best and worst outcome
Visioning is imagining the outcome – both the good and the bad possibilities. When you envision the best case scenario of doing the thing you’re scared of, you get a clear picture of just how great the outcome can be. When you envision the worst case scenario, you realize the worst isn’t all that bad. And the chances of the worst happening are not all that high. Visioning the possible outcomes puts everything into perspective to make is easier to move forward.
Change your perspective
Speaking of perspective, try changing your perspective to get a sense of what you’re really dealing with. For example, if you’re afraid of starting a business, think of this from the perspective of your child. She’ll learn valuable lessons from your experiences that they would otherwise not learn. That’s a huge incentive to go for it!
I’m convinced gratitude is the secret behind every happy, successful person on the planet. When you practice gratitude – being thankful for what you have and are right now – you instantly become happy where you are. You don’t need anything else to be happy, and likewise, a small failure won’t change that.
Face the fear
Evaluating your fears and failures and reviewing them will help you in planning how best to overcome them. Keep a list of your goals, those in which you’ve achieved success and those in which you’ve failed. Review the list and you will find out that some of the failures were caused by fear. This will act as a good foundation for overcoming this fear, converting the failures to success, and achieving more in subsequent years.
Celebrate small victories in conquering the fear
Give yourself a pat on the back for the steps you have taken toward overcoming your fears. Each step is important and you deserve to reward yourself. Buy yourself a some new clothes or treat yourself to a massage.
Learn from others
Learning from other people who’ve had similar problems with fear and overcame them will help motivate you.
For example,Tim Hamilton (Owner of Astonish Designs) is “a millionaire I interviewed.” A while back, fear held him back from achieving success by expanding his company. Eventually he found his way around it. He said, “It was really scary actually and you know I’m aware that at that time I’m thankful also that I didn’t pay attention to the fear. I felt the fear later on and have had to deal with it. I think our society teaches us that we live in a world of scarcity and too often I think we have to really work hard to remember that we live in a world of abundance. But I think focusing on the world as a world that is built on scarcity really does amplify the fear”.
Talk it out
Talk about your fears with someone you trust or even a professional. Talking to others can help relieve the stress of the fear just by getting it off your chest. This can also help because you could gain a new perspective and maybe even some good advice.
Positive Outcomes from Overcoming a Fear
When you manage to overcome your fears, you will certainly reap the benefits. This will make you realize that the risks you took were worthwhile.
Profit when you move forward with an idea in business
When you overcome a fear of loss and decide to invest in a business idea that yields profit, you will have positively benefited from overcoming your fear. This profit can go a long way in helping the expansion of your business or even taking care of your own bills and debts.
More fulfilling life
A life without fear is essentially more fulfilling and more comfortable. Living without the fear of the unknown, for example the fear of death, will make you more outgoing and happy. Fear drains you when it’s overwhelming. This fear, when conquered, will leave you a happy and healthy person living a fearless and more fulfilling life.
More self-esteem and confidence
When you overcome fear, you will inevitably experience a boost in self esteem and confidence. These are very important characteristics for success. Self esteem will enable you have the drive to face life in both good and hard times. Self confidence will allow you to reach out for success as you will believe that you can achieve anything.
Select one fear you have and try one of the ways mentioned here for overcoming fear. Be sure to reward yourself when you’ve completed the challenge!
Tags: challenge, Fear, overcoming fear
Hi I’m Jaime. Each and every week I bring you the top business advice from the people who know best.Learn More
You know, I like to do pros and cons list when facing a hard decision.
If on “con” section, I EVER write down fear of failure or fear of embarrassment, I do it! No matter what.
Overcoming fears is like an addiction. You get a thrill out of that.
You mentioned, you have to keep doing this. It’s like a muscle. You must exercising it. You might eventually become fearless, but if you stop engaging in risky activities, you will lose that fearlessness.
Thank you for this, Jaime. I’ve been enjoying your podcasts and just today visited your site for the first time.
This post struck a nerve with me. I started my company in March but really didn’t dedicate myself to it because of fear. I discovered within the past month or so that it wasn’t a fear of failure, but a fear of SUCCESS! Why was I afraid of success? I still really don’t know, but through acknowledging this fear, by praying to have it removed, and by diving in head-first, I’ve overcome this! Now nothing can stop me until you are interviewing me 🙂