Take a moment and think about the biggest goal that you have at the moment. Have you not accomplished it yet? Why not?
Photo by Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash
One of the answers could be because of fear. Fear mostly is a very limiting factor, stopping you from being productive and working toward your goals. Because fear distracts us. Fear leads to excuses. it’s easy to make excuses as to why you haven’t achieved what you want but would be absolutely capable of.
Instead of turning around and hide behind your excuses, treat your fear as your frenemy and use your mind and imagination to accomplish the next logical step toward your goal.
Fear is a survival tactic that is built into our system.
We are all familiar with the fight-flight-or-freeze mechanism. That is where our fear originates. It used to protect us from the dangers in your environment. However, today your fears often center around emotions rather than physical dangers. But our system does not know how to differentiate between those two.
When we encounter a threat to our well-being (emotional or physical), it triggers a physiological fight-flight-or-freeze response designed for our survival.
With the following steps we can overcome our fears:
1. VISUALIZE YOUR GOALS Goal visualization sets your focus — and where your focus goes, your energy flows. The important thing is that you already see yourself succeeding. Feel everything like you would feel when you have succeeded How will you act when you have reached your goal? How will it feel? How will you talk? How will you walk? With what kind of people will you surround yourself?
With this you’ll condition your brain in the right direction — This is a key step to overcoming fear.
2. IDENTIFY YOUR FEARS AND WRITE THEM DOWN What is it you’re afraid of? Observe your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Write down what comes up, and be very specific. As you have written them down and can have a distant look at them, you will regain power and will not feel overwhelmed by all your thoughts regarding fear, because they are not all constantly on your mind and you could even use them to get to a solution.
3. RECOGNIZE YOUR EXCUSES „I’m tired.“ „I have other more important stuff to do.“ „And that was just another stupid idea I had.” „ I can not….“ We have all said this to ourselves. But is there any truth to these statements, or are you just creating excuses to avoid a potential failure? It’s of course much easier and maybe less painful to make excuses than to put in the long hours and energy, but excuses and opting out will ultimately leave you feeling unproductive and consequently unfulfilled. If you want to find out how to conquer fear, you need to take a different, proactive approach.
Recognize when you are using excuses and figure out how to overcome them:
Too tired? Adjust your schedule so you can get a better night’s sleep.
Not enough time? Assess your priorities and find out where you can make time for your goals.
Another inspiring idea on top of your head? Write down all the steps needed to proceed and start with the easiest one. That will give you the momentum to take the next step and the next and so on.
3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUCCESS People who are focused on achieving their goals and overcoming their fears, surround themselves with either like-minded people or with people that have succeeded or are on the way to success. Raise your standard regarding everything even your surroundings and also allow others to hold you accountable. Find a mentor or an accountability partner that has similar goals to yours. And check in every now and then.
4. ADOPT A GROWTH MINDSET One of the most powerful tips to overcome fear and anxiety is to adopt a growth mindset. It’s not about achieving your goals and being perfect every step of the way. No one is ever perfect, so stop striving for that. It’s about getting comfortable with what you don’t know and continuing anyway, so show up vulnerable — this is the foundation of a growth mindset.
5. TALK ABOUT YOUR FEARS By showing up vulnerable and opening up to your manager, your peers, your team members, you get understanding, you might even get valuable input and a strategy to overcome your obstacles or your fears. And you have gained trust. You gain trust by showing up vulnerable. As soon as we let go of our shame and our secrets, we gain trust and this is crucial in relationships, professional or intimate ones.
As soon as you have accepted that the path to success includes growth and change, you’ll be one important step closer to your goals.
Like pain, failure teaches us. In fact, failure is a much better teacher than success.