Overcoming your fears isn’t complicated. I’m not saying it’s easy. But the process is very simple. Okay you want to get to it. You’ve read a lot of these and you want to know what’s different about what I have to say. I hear you. I have fears I desperately want to be free of too. But promise me this won’t just be a read but a plan of action.
Know and reject. There are two parts to step one. First, you have to know what your fear is. I know that sounds obvious but many fears are disguised. What we think we are afraid of isn’t always our true fear. For example, if you’re afraid to fully commit to a relationship, you may believe you’re afraid of relationships or commitment. But you may actually be afraid of rejection or maybe even failure. Sometimes we need to process with a therapist or life coach to figure out what our true fears are. So the first part is to know exactly what your fear is.
The second part of step one is to reject. And by reject I don’t mean push away or just deny it. White knuckling fear never works. You will only highlight it. I mean to make a conscious choice to dispute it. Let’s talk about what a conscious choice means real quick. Many drop the ball here. Fear is a very powerful thing. Remember, it’s traced back to your story. It’s ingrained. It’s not just a thing. It’s cement that has dried. You will need a jackhammer to break it into pieces. The firmer your choice to dispute your fear, the more powerful your tool to shatter it. If you are lukewarm about dissolving your fear or only curious, you will be using a rubber mallet. Making a choice means “done”. No option. It means you will no longer live like this. Period. I know that may sound dramatic. But without this mindset, fear will always be the stronger head on your shoulder.
So the second part of step one, after you know clearly what your fear is, is to make a firm decision to start the process of dissolving it. This usually takes some time. Rarely do we wake up, knowledge our fears, and make a decision that day that will lead us down a path to dissolving it. We entertain, wrestle with, and contemplate until life forces us to face our fears head on. So I don’t know where you are with your fears. I don’t know if you’re really ready. Many will see what it entails then make their decision. If that’s the case, you’re not ready. You’re curious.
If you want some leverage, write down all the ways your fears are stopping you from your goals, who you want to be, and how you want to live.
Change your thoughts about your fear. Once you’ve made a choice to dispute your fear, you have to start thinking differently about what you’re afraid of. This means reframing, arguing with yourself, surrounding your fears with different perspectives. Whatever it takes to start creating new pathways in your brain. Your fear has made deep permanent grooves that automatically sets off your fight of flight. It’s become knee jerk for you to think and act the way you do when you are afraid. Overcoming fear requires rewiring. You rewire yourself by forcing yourself to create new pathways. The can do this through your thoughts and the way you think. But how? I know. You want me to be more specific. There are many ways into this process. I’ll tell you what I do. We all have thousands of conversations with ourselves daily. They’re more like arguments. And we lose most of them. And many of these arguments are about what we’re afraid of. Because of our fears, we get into these internal battles. Instead of arguing or getting mad and down at yourself because of your fears, acknowledge what you’re afraid of and start a different conversation. Pull yourself out of self. Maybe ask yourself what your best friend or a mentor would say. How would they approach this conversation? It can’t be spackle. It has to be convincing and honest or it will just feel patronizing. Hopefully, you’ll start to see your fears differently, even if it’s just slightly. See this as you chipping away at it. Continue this process. Play out your fears. Go there. Imagine the worse case scenario and sit in it and you’ll probably realize it’s not as bad as you imagined in your head. We always create monsters in our head. The sky is always falling. But when we look close, we realize they’re just shadows cast by our own head. When we play out and see the worst, we will naturally search for positives in the situation. It’s our survival mechanism. Use it. Continue to have different conversations and by different I mean don’t have the same conversations you’ve been having about fears for the last twenty years! New pathways, remember? As you change your inner dialogue, you will start to change your thoughts and the way you think. Once you change the way you think, you will change how you feel. The power is in feeling. Once you feel different, you will act different.
Take action. Do the opposite of what you’re afraid to do. Simple. Obvious. I know. But not easy. And also rare. Again, where most drop the ball. Growth is always 50% revelations / plan / etc. + 50% execution. Without the execution piece, there may be some internal change but you won’t see the change you want. So how do you even start to do what you’re afraid of? I think like anything, it starts with a decision. Make a decision, a hard one, a I can’t go back one, that you’re going to attempt. Try. Swing. For many, this is the most difficult piece. Just to get started. The traction will come in experience. Once you give yourself an experience that is different from your what you perceive, your fear will subside. Because there’s nothing more convincing than experience.