The truth is, we ALL deal with fear – no matter how “put together” we look on the outside, how successful we may be, or how “fearless” our personality and natural wiring may cause us to appear to others.
Fear is a common human experience. So, how can we better deal with it…and how can we help our people do the same?
1) Acknowledge it.
We can’t face and overcome something we ignore. We must first recognize that it’s there. And we can recognize it in a nonjudgmental way—not getting down on ourselves because we’re feeling fear. Experiencing fear is normal.
2) Explore the REAL fear.
Often, what we think is a fear is not actually the fear at all. It is usually something much deeper.
For example, the fear of speaking in public is a very common fear for many people. However, people don’t actually fear speaking in public, they fear the possibility of looking or feeling foolish, being rejected, or feeling like a failure if they don’t perform well. Be sure you know the ‘real’ fear you’re dealing with.
3) Decide if it’s truly important to overcome it.
Sometimes, there are fears that we may not feel compelled to overcome. Many people are afraid of skydiving for example – some feel the need face that fear, others do not.
However, there are some fears that may be holding us back from being who we really want to be in our life and work. For some, it may be a fear of going back to school to pursue a different career, getting back into the workforce after years of being a stay-at-home mom, taking the risk to start a business, or having that uncomfortable conversation with an employee or a family member.
These kinds of fears—those that hit home with our values and goals—may NEED to be overcome so we can live to our full potential.
4) Know WHY you’ve chosen to overcome it.
Overcoming a fear because someone else tells you that you need to, or because you feel pressure from another source, is not a healthy reason. The motivation and reason must come from within.
Having a purpose, goal, aim that overcoming your fear will allow you to reach is the positive motivation you may need to overcome the discomfort (and maybe even pain) of working through and facing the fear.
5) Make a plan and take action.
Overcoming your fear will take intentionality and consistency.
People are different. Where some people have a “power through it” approach to overcoming fear, others have a more methodical “one step at a time” or “dip your toe in the water” approach.
All that matters is that you choose the method that works best for you, that you make a plan, and commit to specific actions that will move you forward.
Fear is often a barrier to growth and success, but it definitely doesn’t have to be. You CAN overcome.