“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
Fear often prevents us from doing things that could change our lives for the better, such as quitting a job, starting a business, trying a new sport, getting married, or getting in shape. When we make the effort to conquer our fears, we take steps toward improving our lives. Here are some tips for breaking fear’s hold.
Acknowledge the fear and let yourself experience it. Fears that remain unaddressed or ignored become barriers to success. First, acknowledge the fear and feel it. Once that initial terrifying feeling of raw fear has passed, you will be better equipped to deal with it.
Use fear as a basis for positive action. Instead of letting fear paralyze you, classify each fear as a problem to be solved, then decide on an appropriate plan of attack so that you can tackle each issue head-on.
Let fear expose your faults. Think of fear as a life coach or business consultant. Use it to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and to discover areas for self-improvement.
Know that fear often masks excitement. Fear can sometimes be an early warning signal that you’re putting yourself in harm’s way or heading down a wrong path. However, fear and anxiety may also hint at the excitement you feel when you’re heavily invested in what you’re doing. That’s the time to let fear be the driving force that propels you forward, reminding you that you’re working towards something great.
Expect and embrace failure. Many fears arise out of the powerful desire to succeed. You may be afraid that you’ll stumble and sabotage your success. However, trial and error are key steps on the path to success. Expect to fail, then use the knowledge gained from each failure to prevent similar missteps in the future.
Rethink your notions of success. Refocus your goals. Instead of setting a goal of earning a specific amount of money or reaching a certain number of clients, consider creating goals that focus on your development, such as learning new skills that will help you be successful.
Surround yourself with people who will support you. Maintain a strong network of people you trust. Not just experts you can ask for advice, but also friends who can provide much-needed moral support.
Accept that change is constant and inevitable. Rather than viewing change as a matter of inconvenience or loss, see it as an opportunity to become a more well-rounded individual who can adapt to whatever life throws at you.
Expect setbacks. A setback is a temporary hurdle, not an impassible wall.
Fear is seldom something we can overcome in a day or even a year. Instead, we can learn to live with it, confront it and, in time, perhaps even embrace it as something that helps us move past our limitations. Once we begin the process of acknowledging, identifying, and confronting our fears, we can use them to our advantage. Let fear be the start of something rather than the end.
Lance Wang | Contributing Writer