Some people say we need to be fearless, or that fear isn’t real. I absolutely believe fear is real. We feel it. It impacts our behaviour and can cause paralysis, stopping us in our tracks, regardless of how ambitious or determined we may be. Fear turns up to keep us safe and while it may be inconvenient at times, it’s our reminder to ourselves that we’re playing outside of our comfort zone. And what happens when we play outside of our comfort zone? We grow.
Instead of letting fear control us, we can re-frame fear and use it as our source of motivation. Our mindset is one of our most powerful tools. When fear shows up instead of letting it get in the way of where you want to be, ask yourself, “What if I had no fear”? It’s an interesting and powerful question. What if you had no fear? I’m not suggesting you should become a fearless robot who doesn’t feel, my point is that yes there will be times in our life when we feel fear, but instead of letting it consume us, we can choose to feel the fear, but take action anyway.
The key word here is choice. We have the choice to feel the fear, acknowledge it exists, recognise it has shown up because we’re stepping outside of our comfort zone, and then do what we know we need to do anyway. When we put it that way, it actually sounds quite simple, but in reality, we can sometimes get in our own way and let fear control us.
Everyone’s growth journey is different and there will be times when moving past fear is easy, while other times it will challenge us to our core. Because of this I’d like to share my thoughts with you on some practical steps you can take next time your unwanted friend fear, appears.
Moving through fear:
- Step 1 Awareness
Recognise that fear has shown up and it’s stoping you from moving forward. Sometimes we can’t see our own blocks so if you feel like you’re not making progress and you can pin point why, speak with a trusted advisor to help bring awareness to your blind spots. This could be your manager, a colleague, your coach, a friend or even a family member.
- Step 2 Take time out to understand why
Step back from your situation and take time out to understand why your fear has shown up. Start by looking for patterns – have you had a similar feeling before? Are there particular events or things that trigger your fear? There could be a range of reasons and fear is an individual experience, however a few common sources of fear are:
- Fear of what others will think.
- Fear of failure or not doing something the ‘right’ way (may also be known as being perfectionistic i.e. I won’t start until I 100% know how to do something so I won’t make a mistake, which can often lead to paralysis and inaction).
- Fear of rejection.
- Fear of success. What if you threw yourself in 100%, took daily action and you actually achieved the success you were looking for? Now isn’t that a scary thought!
Can you relate to any of these?
Step 3 Focus on what you can control and take action
While it’s useful to understand why fear is appearing, don’t get too caught up in over analysing why it has shown up as you can easily slip into ‘analysis paralysis’. Instead, spend time getting really clear on where you want to be and who you need to become to get there.
What daily action would this person take to get them closer to their goal? Write it down. And do it, daily. When you consistently have a bias for action, you train your mind to focus on progress over perfection and instead of getting caught up in fear driven stories you might normally tell yourself, you instead, just get on with it and do what needs to be done.
While it’s normal for fear to appear, we can choose how we respond. Instead of letting fear control or stifle your progress, choose to use it as your reminder to push harder – to feel the fear and use it as your fuel to drive yourself forward.