Fear is an emotion that is as normal as breathing. It is a biological instinct that is there to help protect us from “dangerous” situations. In our modern, civilized world, however, the instinct of fear kicks in for irrational reasons. After all, we aren’t out in the wild being chased down by a tiger. We get fearful about things that are no threat to our physical safety. People develop a fear of the unknown; a fear of change; a fear of public speaking; a fear of heights…and the list goes on.
Most people cling to their fears and because of this, are unable to move forward in their lives with necessary change.
Through my own experiences, I’ve learned that the only difference between those who achieve the life they want and those who don’t is that one group faces their fears and conquers them.
If you want to know how to overcome fear, here's some things to keep in mind:
1. Understand that Fear is a Good Thing. Many people believe that fear is a horrible thing to have. The truth is, fear is normal for every human being to experience. It is part of our biological make-up. Our modern, civilised lifestyle doesn’t mean that we lose this primal human instinct. It just means that fear manifests itself in different ways and in different situations to those that mother nature intended. Instead of being out in the wild and vulnerable to predators, we are dealing with other situations. It might be that you are stepping outside of our comfort zone and experiencing something or someone different. Perhaps you have moved to a new city that you have never experienced before. Always remember that if you aren’t feeling scared a lot, then it means you aren’t growing very much!
2. Be aware of fear in your life. To even begin overcoming fear, you have to admit that you have it. Acknowledge what your fears are, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
3. Face Your Fears Head On. I find that by forcing yourself to do whatever scares you, it means that you are confronting your fears head on. You still might be scared out of your wits, but if you keep facing that same fear, its impact fades and you inevitably become resilient to that fear.
4. Be Inspired by Fearless People. Fill your mind with images of what you want your “future self” to look like. Connect with role models; either in person, through reading their books or via social media. You can use these as an energy source to combat your fear.
5. Be objective. Take an interest in your fears. Ask yourself about what thoughts generate your fear, where you feel the fear, and how you react to it. Try to be an objective observer of your own life.
6. Be Willing to Look Silly. When you are willing to risk the emotional pain of making mistakes and looking silly, you will shed more fear than you ever imagined. Making mistakes will provide you with learnings that you can use to create better behaviors. Anyone who has ever done anything great in their life has failed more than once.
7. Share. How often do we hide our failings and imperfections because we are afraid of how others might perceive us? Sharing helps, because you will realise that many people feel the same way as you do, and have their own stories to tell. I see this every day in the AH community.
8. Embrace struggle. Most of us instinctively avoid struggle, because it feels like failure and that scares us to our core. However, it is only when you struggle that you strengthen, so you should embrace it. With any sort of struggle, fear gradually disappears.
9. Be Your Own Hero. Even when something really scares you, be brave. By talking confidently and sounding brave to yourself, you will start to feel brave. In doing so, you start to fill the shoes of the fearless person you want to be and build your confidence for other situations, which naturally sheds a lot of fear.
10. Put things in perspective. Putting your negative thoughts in perspective is a great way to overcome fear. In the grand scheme of life, is it really worth getting fearful about? While you are feeling intense fear about something, life is moving on without you and you’re reducing or missing out on the great personal benefit of whatever it is you are doing or about to do. How does that make you feel?
11. Travel whenever possible. Travelling is an incredibly powerful way to shed fear and it doesn't require you to jump out of an aeroplane like some people do in an attempt to overcome their fears. Travel is a fun and enjoyable way to force you outside of your comfort zone and it requires you to talk to new and different people and embark on new and different experiences you wouldn't ordinarily get to do in your normal life routine. It's a great way to boost your confidence.
Just think of that wonderful sense of achievement you'll feel as you shed the fear - you'll be strengthening and feeling fantastic.