5 ways to overcome fear and take action
We all feel fear at one time or another. It’s a normal emotion, especially if we’re trying something unfamiliar and venturing outside of our comfort zone. For example, we’re starting a new job, going for an interview, giving a talk or presentation, or going on a first date. Some fear is understandable, but don’t let it stop you.
5 ways to overcome fear
Here are five strategies to help you break through your fear blocks and thrive.
1. Realise that it will most probably never happen
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened” – Mark Twain
Most of the things we worry about NEVER happen. Fear can stand for:
Challenge the fear! Ask yourself what is the likelihood, between one and 10, of the thing you fear actually happening. According to the Huffington Post, there was a study done a couple of years ago which proved that 85% of what the participants worried about never came true.
With the 15% that did actually happen, 79% of the study participants found they could deal with the difficulty much better than they expected or that they learned something valuable from the difficulty that arose.
2. Change your language
If you’re dreading doing something, instead of saying things to yourself like “I don’t want to do this” or “this is so scary”, talk to yourself positively. Tell yourself “I’m choosing to do this”, “it’s good to do this”, “I’m choosing to feel good about it”. Say these words over and again and notice how you start to feel differently and start to look forward to taking action.
3. Use the power of visualisation
Visualisation is such a powerful tool that we all have at our disposal, but we often underutilise it as a strategy to get more of what we want in life. Studies have found that the brain doesn’t distinguish real from imaginary. If you imagine doing something, and another person actually does the same action, the same brain areas are activated in you and the other person, and if you imagine or visualise good things happening, the brain processes it as if it’s actually happening.
In fact, afterwards, the brain treats it as a memory and will focus you more on similar things happening in the near future. So, it makes so much sense to visualise what you want instead of what you don’t want.
Ask yourself what is it that you fear the most, and train your brain to imagine the opposite happening. For example, if you’re afraid that your date will be a disaster, imagine having a really great evening, good conversation, laughter, a great dinner, etc. You’ll be amazed at how you start to look forward to the date confidently and expect to enjoy it.
4. Fear as a two-year old child
Imagine that a feeling of fear is like a two-year-old child that doesn’t want to go shopping. You wouldn’t let the two-year-old control you, would you? You wouldn’t give up and say “oh well. I won’t go shopping then, if you don’t want to go”. You pick the child up and take him or her with you, even if there are complaints and tantrums. Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you want to do, just take it with you and, in much less time than you imagine, it will quieten down and comply!
5. Know your WHY
Remind yourself often of the reason that you’re doing something new. What is your ultimate goal and how does the unfamiliar action contribute to you achieving this goal? If you have goals to grow your business, and public speaking will help you to put yourself in front of more prospective clients, keep focusing on your WHY - the end result or goal that you’re working towards. This will spur you on, motivate you, and inspire you along the way.
Lastly, remember another famous saying by Mark Twain, “do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain”. The mind loves what is familiar, so make the action you fear as familiar as possible (by doing it as often as you can) and the fear will disappear.