Fear can be a both a great motivator and debilitating force. It can quite literally stop us in our tracks. On some occasions fear will propel us forward. For example, when facing a new challenge, or path, giving us energy and momentum to do something differently. Other times we will get caught up in our internal dialogue, and procrastinate about our decision or challenge. If we do get caught up in the internal dialogue then most likely we will be left feeling anxious, frustrated and irritated.
When our fear is a catalyst for change it is very powerful. We may start a new business, change career or follow our dream to travel the world. Our fear of things how they are currently, and not living our dreams can be a huge and scary motivator for change, taking us to new and interesting places in our personal discovery. While it is possible we could end up regretting our decision completely, we will have gained is knowledge. Maybe we will learn that we need to do it differently next time or that the thing we chose it wasn’t right for us. But a least we would have grown and evolved.
However, when we feel that fear, and sit and do nothing there can be a sense of anger and frustration. We will probably look at other people (who are doing what we want to do) and criticise them, or more likely we will criticise our self for not being brave, or clever enough, or whatever you internal chatter sounds like. This is when our little gremlins take over and the inner critic goes wild, this is too powerful and if you let it, it will take over.
So how do we fight the urge to flee or stand still? What is it that makes us tackle our fear, and step into our power?
Well deep inside our gut, we know the right course of action, but often we block it out with the external noise of other people's opinions, or ignore it completely. Our body knows the truth, when we listen to our intuition, but our mind needs to get with the program. Simply put our mind needs to catch up. However, it’s not that simple, you see our mind has been designed to keep us safe. So if we consider doing something that is a little risque for example quitting our job to start a new business, our mind will throw in all sorts of reasons why we shouldn’t do it, and for good reason. It wants to protect us for getting it wrong, or doing something that will compromise the status quo, and turf us right out of our comfort zone. While this is a good thing, in that it will keep us out of serious harm, it can paralyze us and stop us from living our dreams and passions.
So how do we get over this and what can we to move through the fear?
1. Start to take some deep breaths, and feel your feet on the ground and listen to your own intuition and get clear about what you want. When your mind starts to interfere stop take a deep breath and count backwards from 5 to reset your thought pattern.
2. Do your research. If you are making a big decision then you want to know all the information, so that you have the best chance of success. Know what you need to learn, buy or consider doing to help you with this project.
3. Try not to listen too much to other people’s advice. While they mean well it is likely they will have their own bias or experience which will frame their thinking. Choose who you solicit advice from. You want to understand where that person is coming, and what their skills are so you can filter out what’s relevant.
4. Recognise when your negativity bias kicks in. Although our brain is programmed to keep us safe, often it can been too risk averse. Recognising that there are things you can control and things you can’t. Work to control the things in your power, and then worry less about the rest.
5. Take small steps. If you were going to climb Everest you wouldn’t just rock up and start climbing without any prep, or the right tools or reading up on the climb. So take small action steps to prepare you for your new and exciting journey.
6. Be true to who you are, follow your dreams, and after all that prepare to take the plunge. Even if it doesn’t work out the way you think, you will be glad that you tried and developed from the journey. If it does work out, well you might just kick yourself for not doing it sooner!