Fear is something that we all deal with. Even people who appear confident deal with it, but they have learned strategies to cope with it. Some have learned to minimize it, and some have learned to use it as a catapult for action.
In the video clip above, you see Jen battle with her own thoughts and fears as she tries to do a box jump. She is in physical condition to make the jump onto the box, but her mind prevents her from trying. What is it about fears that can have a such a stronghold on us that it prevents us from trying or doing something that we actually can do or accomplish? And how can we fight off the fears that paralyze us?
Here are four ways to conquer fears.
Take a No-Excuses Approach. This requires a high level of self-awareness and honesty with self. It takes being able to recognize excuses and disregard them. Excuses can disguise themselves as reasons, like “I don’t have time,” or “That’s how we’ve always done it,” or “I’m too busy.”
Sometimes it’s helpful to have someone call you out on your excuses. Find someone who can do this for you, and say “Thank You” when they point out your excuses. Then throw the excuses out the window and get on with whatever it is you are afraid to try or do.
Acknowledge the Fear and Do It Anyway. Don’t think that the fear will go away. It’s important to recognize it for what it is and do/try anyway. In the video below, Jen is not void of fear. She is still afraid she may not make it. But she does it anyway.
Take Small Steps and Chip Away the Fear. Every action that we take reinforces what we believe about ourselves. For example, if you believe that you are a person who likes to speak in front of groups, then when you are asked you are not afraid of creating and delivering a presentation or keynote. But if you are a person who is afraid of giving presentations to large groups, you will avoid the opportunities to do it. Find ways to change your behavior. Ask to make short presentations to small groups. Continue to take these small steps, building your audience size, and soon your fear will be conquered.
Value Courage over Security. Security keeps us playing safe. Being comfortable means sometimes putting up with situations that we don’t like only because we know what to expect (security), even if it’s something negative. Conquering fear takes courage. It’s risky business. It’s uncomfortable. It’s rewarding. Can you think of times when security trumped courage and you let fear take over?
How do you conquer fear?