Fear is internal. It’s actually a part of us and our DNA because it used to be a very useful signal to run from a lion or some other physical danger. But in today’s world, we no longer have to worry about lions, or tigers, or bears. That means that fear is no longer really about physical danger. Most of the fear we’re experiencing is internal. That fear, many times, is about not being good enough.
This is a major fear because if we’re not good enough, we think we might fail, we might get rejected, ridiculed, or found out to be a fraud. We have to learn to trust ourselves and know that we’ll be okay even if we do get rejected or if we fail. Then we need to act in the presence of this fear. This is really a practice of mindfulness, which doesn’t mean that we pretend that that fear isn’t there. We want to notice that there’s a fear, and we want to be aware of our reactions, how it feels as a physical sensation, and that it’s not so bad.
Fear is a worry about the future, which doesn’t exist yet in the present moment, so being present, you can begin to take action. It’s really important to be mindful of your fears and to acknowledge and accept them. Now, that sounds a little bit scary, but we can overcome fear. You have to learn how to manage your fear and not let it control you.
Fears generally fall into two categories: survival fears and perception fears. Survival fears are fears of death, height, fear of losing a loved one or not making enough money to provide for your family. They’re reasonable to be afraid of, but they generally involve drastic worst-case scenarios.
Perception fears, on the other hand, are the fears of failure, embarrassment, or missing out on life experiences. We talked about FOMO, the fear of missing out, back in Episode 14. This is a fear that so many people experience. Sometimes, though, a survival fear can really be a cover for a perception fear. For example, if you’re afraid of losing your job because you won’t be able to provide for your family, is it possible you’re really just afraid of being embarrassed that you don’t have a job?
Here’s the key. Getting over the fear is up to you. You have to make the decision to overcome it. You can’t have others do that for you. You really need to learn how to manage that yourself so that you can begin to overcome it. Anxiety really needs a focal point, so one method that you can do is give it a focal point that’s less disturbing than your main worry.
This is basically the misdirection method, like when a magician draws your attention to something on stage while he’s working his sleight-of-hand. You’re so busy watching this distraction that you don’t even notice what’s going on behind the scenes. You can use this to your advantage with your fear.
These steps will help you in combating your fears and using them to propel you forward towards your goals and dreams. I’ve also created a “5 Steps for Managing Fear” download that you can use with this exercise. But first let’s go over each step…
Step 1: Define the risk. Write down the risk you’re considering.
Step 2: Define the worst-case scenario. Write down all of the worst-case scenarios that could possibly happen if you take the risk. Be specific and go for a high number of scenarios.
Step 3: Minimizing the risk. Write down what you could do to minimize the possibility of each negative outcome that you came up with.
Step 4: Make a plan for those worst-case scenarios. Write down all the things you could do to get back on track if that negative outcome even happened at all.
Step 5: Fear reversal. Stimulate your worst fears as a way to inoculate yourself against your fears. Maybe they’ve been blown a little bit out of proportion and aren’t as bad as you imagine.
For example, let’s say you’re afraid of not being able to afford your rent, and then you’re going to have to live with your parents. Well, minimize the way you feel about this risk by going to visit your parents for a few days and see how terrible that really would be.
This method is based off of Tim Ferriss’ five steps for managing your fears. I really feel like it’s powerful because knowledge is definitely power.
Doing an activity like this really can help you feel a little more in control of your fears, and I hope you’ll use the new download I’ve created to help! Just CLICK HERE and we’ll send the download right to your email inbox.
This season of my podcast is all about big dreams and goals. So that means there will be a lot of deep thinking and reflection going on. This is a vital part to being able to go after what you want.
I’d love it if you would comment below and share with me what your fears are and then what your BIG dream is!