How to conquer your fear
Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by fear - to the extent that it stopped you doing something you really wanted to do? You are not alone. Our fear of something is often the biggest barrier we face to achieving the very things we want in life.
Whether it’s the fear of not being good enough, of failing, of what other people will think or what we might lose, most of us have experienced that little voice in our head telling us “you can’t do that”.
The thing is that if we allow fear to hold us back and stop us pursuing our dreams and goals it can have far reaching negative effects on our confidence, self-esteem and overall quality of life - in extreme cases even keeping us in a state of paralysis where we are too fearful to take any action toward our goals
However it doesn’t have to be this way. Fear is nothing more then an unconscious habit which can, as with all other habits, be broken and substituted for a more positive behavioural pattern. It’s a natural reaction to situations we find unfamiliar of frightening, but there are things you can do to overcome it:
1) Examine your expectations.
One of the main things contributing to our fears is our own negative expectation of the outcome. Do you usually find yourself expecting the worst in every situation? Do you find that you worry obsessively about everything that might go wrong instead of focusing on the positive aspects, such as your strengths and capabilities?
Start consciously making an effort to expect positive outcomes. Focus on how good success will feel and what achieving your project or goal will do for you. Keep reminding yourself that you handle more then you think you can and consider the times that you have already done this in your life. Every time a fear creeps in to your thoughts balance it with a positive belief so that you can maintain perspective and increase your confidence.
2) How to slay your dragon
Although the rational mind knows that the majority of things it fears will never happen it doesn’t help much when our fear has a stranglehold on us. However, if you take a moment to analyse your fears when they arise, you can start to dismiss at least some, if not all, of them.
For example, if you have a fear of public speaking and your boss wants you to give a presentation at work, you might feel like your credibility or role in the company is on the line. Maybe you fear getting fired, or worry that your colleagues will lose respect for you if you don’t do a great job.
But in reality, what are the chances of any of this happening? Rather than worrying about the outcomes if you don’t give a good presentation, start brainstorming all the ways you can improve your performance, such as making sure your materials are well prepared, practicing your delivery numerous times, writing notes and checking you know how to use any equipment such as microphones or projectors.
3) Just do it
Remember that fear is only a feeling; it can’t harm you, and apart from situations where you are in real danger, you can choose to ignore it and move forward anyway.
If you weigh up the pros and cons in any situation, often the possibility of negative consequences is minimal. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen”, and examine the answers you come up with. Then focus on the actions you can take to minimise the perceived risk so that you can put aside your fears and go for it!