How to overcome fear: some simple tips

Fear makes you shake like jelly

“Fear has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise.”

Zig Ziglar

If you could count the number of people who have dreams they’ve never acted on because of fear, I bet you that number is billions.

I’m not talking about dreams like becoming an acrobat at 60 years old, but I mean dreams that are attainable and achievable. However, one problem is that fear often enters the mind and creates self-doubt and insecurity.

The awesome and absolutely hilarious motivational speaker, Les Brown, has a great quote on what happens to unfulfilled dreams:

“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”

Before you know it, you’ve second-guessed your idea and found twenty excuses for why your dream is not possible or is unrealistic. Although if you really cross-examined many of those excuses you would probably find that they do not stand up to scrutiny.


What is fear and why does it matter.

By fear, I mean the thoughts and beliefs that create the emotions that lead you to assume the consequences of a situation or event will be worse than the likely reality. What happens then is you don’t even explore your dream, let alone pursue it, and you start believing the worst will happen, to the point you don’t know how to stop catastrophising.

It matters because unchecked fear that’s allowed to spiral out of control, gets in the way of new experiences that may help you grow. Ultimately the cost of this is your fulfilment if you allow fear to block you from taking new chances to evolve. You don’t have to let fear rain on your parade or frustrate you.


How to accept fear and anxiety

There’s no magic solution. Fear is an emotional and mental reality that’s existed since we lived in caves and it´s part of our human condition. But I want to offer a few simple tips that I hope might help you when you´re facing a fear that´s blocking you from making progress.

First, assume fear stands for Focus, Evaluate, Action and Repeat (F.E.A.R).

Focus means you should try to focus on your feelings and energy first, and then acknowledge the fact that you feel conflicted about something or someone inside.

By doing this you’ll begin to root yourself back in the here and now. The aim is to take the edge off your anxiety and start to restore some control over how you are managing your energy. Fear can overwhelm your mind, body and senses. Take back control by acknowledging the conflict inside you, which normally indicates something is up. From this, you can start to think through how to respond and not be driven to just react. Also, when you feel fear taking over show yourself some compassion immediately, not destructive criticism. Whilst you might give too much importance to an imaginary scenario you fear will come to pass, it’s important to take seriously the fact that you feel anxiety and fear. Then you can do something about it.

Second, start to evaluate which means assessing your triggers and challenge your assumptions. Capture what triggers your fear, the reasons behind this and why you really find something painful. Try to examine the reasons for your fear and challenge your assumptions. It’s quite possible and likely you are speculating, exaggerating, or worrying, or expecting the worst. Fear can distort your judgement and make it harder for you to separate facts from fiction. Stop catastrophising. If you can identify fact from fiction you can start to think about what is in your control.  For example, don’t assume you can’t cope or can’t learn the coping skills to manage the future.

Third, start to take action by assessing how to minimise your concerns over the risks you have and commit to taking small goals, even baby steps. Ultimately to banish your fear you need to take action, but in a way that you can cope with. Ignoring fear or finding ways to avoid fear will just delay growth and leave you frustrated. Before taking action assess what you think the risks are and challenge these too. Think of confronting your fears like going up the stairs, one or two steps at a time only. The important act is to decide on goals that are simple, easy and not too challenging at first. In addition, think about what you need in terms of resources, a plan and support to take action and keep you accountable.

Next, you need to repeat the process every time fear pops up again, so you can deliberately practise and learn new coping skills. Set slightly bigger or more stretching goals to help train your resilience muscle. Changing behaviour and your thinking will take time so try to be patient with yourself and the process. Repeating and recommitting to understanding and acting on your fear is essential if you want to learn how to navigate the emotional waves that come from unchecked fear. When you can cope well with taking one or two steps, your desire for growth may kick in as you realise you are much more capable than you believed.

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate every small win you have. Even if you think it is insignificant. Every ounce of energy you put into overcoming fear is an amazing thing and can have so many benefits not just for you, but also for the people in your life and the community you live in.


What to do next

If you’d like to make a change in your own life and start working on the kind of life you really want, get in touch for a complimentary conversation.

As a life coach and motivation coach, I’ll work with you to help you be more productive and make the best use of the time you have. I also focus on career coaching.

Finally, if you need independent advice as a leader, then leadership coaching is also available to help you with your strategic thinking and practice positive leadership.

Still not sure. Take a few seconds to read what some clients have also said about me here.

Check out some other articles I’ve written that might help and don´t forget to subscribe to get new content and my newsletter with insights and tips direct to your inbox!


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