by David Grieve
Overcoming fears can be challenging at the best of times, but amidst uncertainty and ever-changing landscape is overwhelming for most. In fact, NHS studies indicated almost half (49.6%) of people in Great Britain reported “high” (rating 6 10) anxiety during 2020, up from just 21% in 2019.
A big question is, how can we overcome fear, set new goals, and move forward, when many of us are simply hoping to go back to some sort of normality? Real ‘fear’, physical fear especially, is an external threat that is imminent and in your face. Centuries ago, the feeling of fear may have come from facing a wild animal, but the fear we’re addressing here is rather a self-contrived story that we tell ourselves. This modern-day type of ‘fear’ is the reason so many of us let go of our dreams, ambitions and desires. Evidently, allowing this to happen is poor mind management. When we experience fear, what is really happening is, we’re saying “what if”, followed by a negative statement i.e., “what if they say no?” or “what if I don’t get that promotion?”
Put fear aside… how do you really want to experience your life, and what are you willing to do to take the necessary action moving forward? If you’re someone who wants to level up your performance, personally and professionally, you must overcome the belief that it is fear holding you back and to stop blaming fear for your progress. At a time when so much is going on externally, this may sound blunt, however, we can instead view this as an opportunity to take more control over our minds and tackle this fear.
Start by saying “what if” followed by a positive outcome. “What if she says yes?” “What if I get that job?” “What if I can grow this business?” “What if I believed in myself again?” If you focus on a positive outcome, then you get to change the story! This will change the way you feel. If it’s not fear that’s holding you back, what is? Generally, it’s a lack of connection with something more important than the ‘fear’ that is holding you back. Fear is always there as a survival function to keep us from danger but, we get to push through that when we attach a purpose that something is more important.
For instance, a firefighter entering a blazing building must push through fear with the connection that saving lives is more important than the fear he/she is facing. The firefighter says to himself “What if I can save lives?” If you can stop blaming fear and ask yourself “What if I actually go for this and make it happen?” you will almost immediately begin taking steps towards a more positive outcome.
That being said, asking yourself a more positive question does not magically resolve all your external circumstances. It does, however, bring to the table a more optimistic outlook that can be worked upon. By taking this into consideration and finding more time and space to breathe, you can really focus on different outcomes for your future.
Simply by taking a few minutes out of your day to sit still and focus on breathing has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and increase focus. This allows you to see more clearly, be more present and see ‘fear’ for what it really is.
You’ll find that it’s often just a result of being too caught up in the hysteria of everything around you.
Confront Your Fears
Confront your fears with clarity. Write down what your dreams and goals are, then note any reasons you believe have been holding you back and why. What do you have to do, learn, or ask for, in order to overcome that fear or challenge? By practicing this exercise, you will begin to formulate a plan of action that will allow you to move forwards with more clarity. It’s possible you will have a breakthrough on paper that will allow to you to be more courageous in overcoming any fears, blockages or limiting beliefs to change your story. The act of expression often leads to finding our own answers and enables us to see what we need to do to address challenges.
Taking action is next on the list. The lack of taking any action is what halts most of us and keeps us from achieving the things we truly desire in life. I coach people in high performance, to take daily action and pick three things that will help them to move forwards. For some, life is difficult, and those three goals each day could be as simple as taking a shower, eating, and talking to a friend but, regardless of your personal situation, creating a daily action list of three things that move the needle towards you achieving the goals you set for yourself will be game-changing. Momentum beats fear every time! By creating a focused momentum, you will build competence and gain confidence.
Set Crazy Goals
When you set new goals, don’t just opt for mediocrity. Set yourself ‘crazy’ goals, goals that previously would’ve made you say, “No way, don’t know how, can’t do that!”
Find three big things you would really like to have in your life and write down the fears you’d face if you actually chased those dreams or attempted to accomplish those goals. Identify what those fears are and create an action plan to push them aside. The more you think about those ‘fears’ the more you’ll begin to realize they’re often silly and more than likely will never become a reality. However you feel about the ‘fears’ that are holding you back, know that you can overcome these and change your story to enable you to take the necessary steps forward by inviting some time out to breathe, gather your thoughts and create a do-able action plan to help you to achieve even the ‘craziest’ of dreams.
David Grieve – [email protected]
David is the founder, and MD of You Can Group which educates and promotes
meditation, group coaching and training. A private coach, trainer and facilitator helping individuals, professionals and businesses level up their personal and professional performance, his mission is to help individuals and businesses reach new heights by inspiring self-mastery and empowering self-belief.