All human beings experience fear. Some are afraid of sharing their opinion, having an honest conversation with their loved one or asking for what they want. Others are afraid of changing jobs, leaving a bad marriage or going after their dreams. And still, others, are afraid of writing a book, auditioning for a movie or starting a business.
Regardless of whether your fear is about the day-to-day actions you take or the life-altering actions you don’t take, fear can be powerful. However, fear is just a feeling. It is not proof, law or even a probability. It is just a feeling.
The ket to managing fear is remembering that it is a feeling, not fact.
In order to move past fear, you have to slow it down and look at it rather than trying to avoid thinking about it. In essence, you have to examine what has you stuck:
1. Ask yourself what, exactly, you’re afraid of. Are you afraid of losing your job, living alone or (fill in the blank)?
2. Decide how likely this particular fear is to play out. Slow down and think about the answer to this question rather than reactively responding. For example, if your company is facing layoffs, and you start to panic about being homeless–slow down. Do you have family or friends who would take you and your family in, or who would help with finances? Do you own a house that you could sell if you had to? Or… The important thing is to get out of the reactivity, panic mode of fear and instead, truly look it in the eye.
3. If your fear scenario is not likely to happen, then take a step back and get a more realistic view of what you may be dealing with. Once you have a more accurate picture, decide if there are any steps you need to take to protect yourself or to be better able to manage the situation.
4. Take the steps necessary to address the possible fallout.
4. Finally, ask yourself if you will be okay if this “bad” thing happens. Being “okay”, means you will survive it without having to be hospitalized, having a mental breakdown or being on the streets. It may be difficult, and you may be sad, however, will you be “okay”?
When it comes to fear, remember that more often than not, it is overblown. Everyone feels fear; the trick though is to not allow it to stop you. Keep moving forward. Listen to your instincts—not your fear, reactivity, panic or unhelpful loved ones. If you’ve ever made it through hard conversations, difficult breakups, lost jobs, or challenging life events, then recognize that you have the strength to get through hard things. Trust your abilities, and don’t allow fear to alter your life. Instead of focusing on the fear, focus on what you want and what’s in your best interest. Next, find the courage to do the hard thing, take the bold step and trust in your ability to thrive.
Challenge: Look at all the areas where fear is stopping you and slow down to take a more realistic view of it. Once you have a better perspective of it, take the necessary steps to manage it. Learn to thrive despite your fears.