Fear is scary. It can physically and mentally cripple you. For example, people have gotten stage fright and forgotten their lines while standing, momentarily paralyzed on the stage. Have you had a similar experience? What are you afraid of?
Everyone is afraid of something. The harder part is facing your fears and conquering them. The secret to defeating your fears is to break them down into pieces.
Here are four fears and how to conquer them.
Fear of becoming overwhelmed. In life, we can be overwhelmed by everything we need to do, from personal to professional projects. Selling or buying a house, leading your first major project, or starting a job that is different from what you’ve done in the past. You are hit by a tsunami of questions – what do you do first? What if you forget to do something important?
The first step is to make a plan and break down a major task into a series of steps. If necessary, get help from a mentor or an expert or someone available. Ask for advice on what to do when buying a home. See if a coworker can help with a piece of the project. Just work on one small task at a time, instead of taking on everything as one goal.
Fear of things. Phobias are often out of your control. You just fear what you fear, such as spiders, snakes, heights, or tight spaces.
But if you arm yourself with knowledge, you can slowly start to chip away at your fear. For example, if you fear spiders, read a book about spiders and learn everything you can about them. The question is WHAT should you fear about your fear. Being bitten by a spider and reacting to the venom is a true concern. Being fearful of a tarantula because it is sitting next to you, minding its own business and enjoying the weather – that’s a fear in your mind. Knowledge is power.
Fear of situations. Public speaking is a term that many people dread. You have no control over how people think of you. Will you make a mistake when you speak? Will people judge you and think that you’re awful even though you thought your presentation was flawless?
To overcome your fear of these types of situations, put yourself in these situations more often. (This probably seems like a nightmare in itself.) Start with something small, such as going onstage to announce the next speaker. Or making a presentation in front of a small group of supportive friends before you start presenting in front of a large group of prospective clients.
Fear of failure. Everyone fears failure. It’s embarrassing, and it’s a terrible feeling to disappoint yourself or someone else. However, failure gives us painful but valuable lessons. Any business owner will tell you that the road to success is not easy and failure (or failures) is something you encounter on your journey.
To succeed, you develop mental toughness. When failure happens, ask yourself what you would do differently next time. What lessons did you learn? In business, it’s tough when you think you have a prospective customer or client, and after much discussion, talks fall through. Or you find you have successfully closed what turns out to be the client from hell. It happens. It’s a learning process.
We face our fears every day. Today, on Halloween, take a moment to think about your greatest fears and how you will overcome them.
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