April 3, 2017
Learn how to overcome fear
Even the most successful people on earth have fears. But your life isn’t defined by what you fear – it is defined by whether you learn how to overcome fear.
Richard Branson was afraid of public speaking – but he now delivers speeches about it. So was Warren Buffett, until he enrolled in a public speaking course. Adele created an alter ego to get over her fear of meeting other celebrities. They’re not alone. Fear of public speaking and social situations are two of the most common fears out there.
Fear is a funny thing – it’s something a lot of us avoid at all costs, but it’s also something, if confronted properly, that can help us achieve our biggest dreams.
The real question is, what do you do with that feeling? Do you avoid it? Or do you use it to propel yourself forward?
What if we told you that you can take that feeling, turn it on its back and use it to drive you to all the places you’ve ever wanted to go?
Discovering how to face your fears is the only way to reach your full potential. So, instead of avoiding fear, face your fears and learn how to live limitlessly.
Why do we experience fear?
Fear is evolutionary – it helped our ancestors avoid danger. It is deeply rooted in biology and occurs seemingly automatically. Our hearts race and our breathing changes, preparing us for a fight or flight situation. This is useful if you are in danger, but when you’re simply standing in front of a crowd or at a social event, these reactions can be more hurtful than helpful – and you start wondering how to face your fears.
How to face fear
Fear tells us a lot about ourselves. It shows us what we value, points out qualities we must strengthen and lets us know just how important our goals are to us. Successful people have learned how to use it to their benefit, and so can you.
You have to face it head on.
Remember that “Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves you,” as Tony Robbins says. If you find yourself feeling fearful, instead of jumping to soothe yourself by leaving the situation or grabbing another glass of wine, try to find its deeper meaning.
Ask yourself, what is this fear telling me? Perhaps it’s letting you know that you’ve hit a plateau and it’s time to take your growth to the next level. Or, maybe it’s telling you that you’re neglecting a component of your potential and you need to shift your focus. Regardless of your particular brand of fear, it’s telling you something you can use to your benefit.
Once you target the message your fear is sending, your next step is to lean into it — look at it, play with it, toss that fear around. Let the discomfort wash over you so you can fully realize that it’s only a feeling.
No one has conquered fear (or anything else, for that matter) by walking away from it. You cannot learn how to overcome your fears until you understand them. You cannot grow until you face your fears – and if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
How to overcome fear
Now that you’ve acknowledged your fears and understand where they’re coming from, you can overcome them. It won’t be easy – it will be uncomfortable and difficult.
Start with small goals and build a sense of accomplishment. You wouldn’t go straight to the NBA if you were learning basketball, and you don’t have to speak to a huge conference or attend a gala to overcome your fears. Make a presentation to your friends or close coworkers, then a client. Join a group or take a class that can help you develop your skills. Even Warren Buffett knew he couldn’t do it alone.
So, the next time you experience that familiar pang of fear, your job is simple: First, remember that life is happening for you, not to you. Ask yourself what the fear is telling you about your current situation and what it can teach you. Then, practice leaning into the discomfort you feel and absorbing the fact that it’s only that: discomfort. Use the skills you’ve learned through your goal-setting to work through the fear – and watch your success in your career and your life skyrocket!