Why are more people scared of public speaking (74%) than of death (68%)? Think about that… more people would rather be in the casket, than giving the eulogy. I think that’s ridiculous and that understanding our fears should be a top priority in our life.
Right now I’m having a hard time writing. I’m afraid it won’t be better than what I’ve written in the past. I’m scared that no one will read it or that I’ll lose trust with my audience if it’s not great. Because of that fear, I’ve started and deleted over 6 different blog posts. So I’m going to try a different approach… I’ll just write about not being able to write – or fear.
Where Does Fear Come From?
You only have two fears when you are born. The fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. They are built into your DNA and have been passed down from generation to generation as a survival mechanism. Their sole purpose is to keep you alive and to create emotion that will motivate you to avoid danger. Every other fear you face you have learned throughout your life.
The fear of being judged. The fear of failing. The fear of looking bad. All learned in your lifetime through social interactions and experiences. Unfortunately, these fears are usually the reason someone gets held back from doing something – like me and writing a blog post.
#1 – Admit You’re Scared
The best way to overcome any fear is to first acknowledge it. Most people have a hard time admitting that they haven’t accomplished something because they’re afraid. They usually blame the economy, lack of funding or other people in their lives. The truth is, you’re scared. Own up to it.
#2 – Define Your Fear
The next step is to define it. What is the history of your fear? Is it related to your childhood? What situation triggered that fear? Getting to a point where you can remember when, how and what was the cause of a fear will help you get over it. Write it down, talk about it with someone you trust. Tell the story of when you first discovered this fear. Getting it out in the open will help you move past it.
#3 – Focus On The Outcome
The next step is to visualize the outcome you desire. If you were able to overcome that fear, how would it feel? You really need to see it in your mind. Close your eyes and pretend. All extreme athletes do this when they’re about to hit a big jump. They visualize themselves landing the trick and the rush of excitement they’ll feel. Seeing it and having a strong enough desire is key to overcoming your fear.
#4 – Take Control
The best way to accomplish this is to desensitize yourself to it. Start gradually, taking little steps. For me it’s writing everyday for 30 days. Growing up I had a learning disability and English – believe it or not – was my second language (to French). But I want to get better. Everyday it gets easier. My goal is to someday write a book – not hire a ghost writer, I want to write it myself.
Using Fear for Good
I now believe fear can paralyze or motivate. It all depends on your belief. Once you’ve accomplished overcoming one fear, the next ones get easier and easier. Over time you get to a point where it becomes the norm. Doing things that scare you on a daily basis is just part of your being. After 15 years of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I am finally there. I use fear to motivate me. I know how sweet success can feel, so I use that belief to drive my actions. Don’t get me wrong, I still get to points in my life where I have to go left or right and fear stops me in my tracks … but now that I know that fear and feeling alive are part of the same, I always take the one that’s scarier.
So this blog post is done. I overcame my fear and I feel great. I believe living is about feeling alive. Pushing yourself to overcome a fear is one of the best ways I know how to do this. Everything you’ve wanted to do in life is possible, the only person that’s stopping you is you – and your fears. Start small, overcome an easy one, build upon it and the next thing you’ll know, you’ll be surprising yourself daily with how far you’ve come.
What fear have you overcome in your life? How did you do it? Leave a comment with your answer below.