FEAR – the single biggest emotion that stops you in your tracks and keeps a grip on your life. But…the good news about fear is that it’s manageable.
Fear is always going to be a part of your life. It’s built into your DNA so you best get used to it regularly showing up and usually at the most inopportune times. Let’s face it – you can be living your life and feeling good, and then you have a new thought or you want to make a change – and…BOOM! FEAR rears its ugly head and suddenly you’re questioning and doubting yourself.
Here’s the thing…Change and Fear are like best friends and the second you think about making any kind of change – big or small – you give fear an open door to occupy real estate in your brain. It’s that simple.
So the trick is to learn how to recognize and make friends with fear. Sound weird? It is and it isn’t. Learning how to manage fear will empower you to take action with your life.
I’m not talking about life threatening fear. That fear is real and you must pay attention to it. So assuming you aren’t running for your life and fending off scary monsters, let’s explore how you can make friends with the fear that shows up and tells you what you can and cannot do.
The Good News About Fear
The absolute best news about FEAR is that it can be managed, but you have to know what to do. Quitting is not managing it because FEAR wins.
Understand that FEAR exists to protect you. It’s a coping mechanism.
Change triggers fear – always. The only reason we all aren’t walking around paralyzed by it is because some of us have learned how to make friends with it and make it work in our favor. Yes. Fear can work in your favor.
Once you recognize when fear is having its way with you, you can use it to motivate you to move forward – to the make the change – to try the new idea and to stop being afraid.
I love what Sir Richard Branson says about FEAR…
“A touch of the jitters sharpens the mind, gets the adrenaline flowing and helps you focus. It is important not to fear fear, but to harness it—use it as fuel to take your business (substitute life for business) to the next level. After all, fear is energy. Conquering your fear will allow you to take the required risks to make your business (life) a success and try new innovative approaches to problems.”
The question is: How do you do it?
How to Recognize and Manage Fear
Getting in touch with how you feel when doubt, insecurity, uncertainty, worry, the what if’s start creeping in is critical. Become hyper-sensitive to your feelings. You certainly know how you feel when you’re joyful. Become that in tune to other feelings and whatever you do – DON’T STUFF THE FEELING or pretend that it’s not present. Big mistake.
Instead really feel the FEAR. What’s it saying? Why is it showing up now? Start asking it questions. Find out what it’s so worried about. Is the fear valid or is it False Evidence Appearing Real?
If the fear is cloudy and unclear, then ask it to leave you alone while you take time out to think and get some help.
Invite others to collaborate and brainstorm with you about your idea or change, especially if it has to do with your business. Now if you’re talking about something like losing weight, you probably don’t have to collaborate with anyone. You know what you need to do.
Once you’ve allowed fear to wash over you; you’ve sat with the possible outcomes and uncertainties; and you’ve determined that Armageddon is not going to happen if you try something new – tell fear to leave you alone because you have work to do. Simply ask it to mind its own business. (You have to practice this step because at first you’ll feel foolish – at least I did.)
Change requires you to do some things differently. Map out how this change will look. Start at the end – the outcome you want and then outline the necessary steps you need to take to reach your goal. If you show FEAR that you have a plan, it tends to be less noisy.
Take action and keep moving forward no matter what.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
Fear is not the problem. We are the problem. You have to become truly aware and on heightened alert every time fear steps in, and if you are in a season of your life where you’re changing things up, fear is probably having a field day. This is your life. This is your brain. You are more powerful than fear.
What are some ways that you manage fear? Leave a comment below.