Fear of success, failure, or commitment lurks in the shadows for all us, even for those who always seem to fly in the face of it. Fear is a protection mechanism. But, of course, while a comfort zone is a lovely place, nothing grows there. Here are some of the methods I use on an ongoing basis to demystify and harness my fears
1. CREATE A FEAR LIST
If something incites fear in you, it probably means it’s an obstacle you need to overcome. To reframe your fears as challenges, build a list and pick them off one by one, just like you would a to-do list.
2. TALK TO YOUR INNER CIRCLE
Talk your fears out with your nearest and dearest. Ever noticed how when you share a fear or worry with people you trust, it seems more manageable? Build a tribe of people who have your back and don’t hesitate to confide in them.
3. IF YOU CAN’T SWALLOW THE FROG, EAT THE ELEPHANT IN SMALL BITES
We often shy away from big changes or challenges because we view them as a whole. Ask yourself: ‘if I was going to take one small step toward tackling this particular fear, what would it be?’ Then take that small step. Incremental tweaks to your mindset will give you a more objective view and help you to frame your fear as a problem to be solved, as well as breaking it down into the practical steps needed to crack it.
4. WORK BACKWARDS
Think about the rush you get from doing something that you thought you couldn’t do. Remember how you thought, ‘it wasn’t that bad’. Store those references in your fear toolkit and draw on them when facing a new challenge.
5. REWARD YOURSELF
Remember to pat yourself on the back when you’ve made a step toward conquering a fear or overcoming a challenge. Rewiring your approach to fear won’t happen overnight; it’s a process.
6. DON’T MAKE EXCUSES
My fear often manifests itself as procrastination and I constantly have to check myself on it. If you’re putting something off, evaluate why. Then prioritise your own personal development.
7. BE PREPARED
Fear often comes along with the unknown. If your fear is based on a lack of information, then do the work to educate yourself. If it comes from a lack of preparation (for example, with public speaking), then practice until you feel more confident. Good preparation can go a long way toward allaying your anxieties.
“Fear often comes along with the unknown. If your fear is based on a lack of information, then do the work to EDUCATE yourself.”
8. REMEMBER THAT YOU DESERVE TO SUCCEED
Make a list of reasons to be brave and think about how your fear is holding you back from achieving what you deserve, whether that is health, fulfilment, happiness…the list goes on!
9. STOP DREAMING
The gap between dreaming and doing is often occupied by fear. Try to think of ways you can live as if you are already as successful or brave as you want to be. Neuroscience research shows that when you repeatedly think yourself into a space or visualise yourself doing something, you’re building neural pathways and rewiring your responses and reactions. Essentially, we have the power to think ourselves fearless!
10. ALLOW YOURSELF TO WALK AWAY
You can always afford to walk away from something or someone who compromises your values or makes you unhappy. It’s not cowardly; it’s called self care.