Sometimes the only way to learn how to overcome fear is to embrace the fear and then face it head on.
During my work as a business coach, working with hundreds of entrepreneurs I see a clear process that people go through when they want to learn how to conquer a specific fear they have.
How to overcome fear
- Recognize The Fear
- Commit to whatever action steps you need to take to get past the fear
- Have the courage to simply take action on dealing with the fear you have
The strategic byproducts of learning to conquer fear are that you create new capabilities that can help you overcome future fears and, most importantly, dramatically increase your confidence.
A lesson in how to conquer fear
One of my coaching clients recently made several big changes to her life and business.
She took on more staff, expanded her business and introduced new products to her existing clients.
Excitement was multiplied with the thought of new opportunities.
Even though she ran a successful business, and put in place exciting changes to help her achieve her goals, there was a little voice inside her head that:
- Questioned what she was doing
- Cast doubt on whether these new changes would work
- Created fears and insecurity around her ability to follow through
During our coaching sessions we talked about no matter how confident you are in any decision you make, there will always be an element of fear about it, and we need to have the commitment and courage to overcome the fear.
Whatever you fear, if you don’t face it the fear will control you.
Whatever you fear and take steps to face, you will control – or at least you will get better at how you interact with the fear.
Fearful phrases often heard
Common fearful phrases I heard from this client and some of my other business coaching clients included:
- I’m scared it’s not going to happen
- Am I expecting too much
- I’m worried I’ not good enough,
- I haven’t got any energy to overcome the fear
- Who am I to have this type of success
- I feel lost and overwhelmed
- I’m not sure what steps to take
Have you experienced these type of fears?
What these phrases have in common is that they are all about “me” and “I”.
When we start to believe this voice in our head we can start to feel anxious, overwhelmed or untrusting of others.
We close down to opportunities, procrastinate, get defensive and become isolated.
Rather than moving forward and learning how to overcome fear, we hold ourselves back and don’t intentionally go after what we want.
More worryingly, if these fears go unchecked, we can start to accept them as truth.
Sometimes the only way to start conquering fear is to recognise it, commit to overcoming it and have the courage to push on.
1. Recognise it as fear not the real truth
As a business coach I work with many ambitious, successful entrepreneurs who believe they should be able to do whatever they want to, without fear.
The thing is, everybody experiences fear. It is not a negative personality trait, but something to use as a motivating focuser.
There is no point trying to be free from fear, fear is part of being human, the trick is in how you manage it.
When you are about to do something new and challenging, chances are you’ll be experiencing 50% excitement and 50% fear.
If you’re not experiencing a feeling of fear, chances are the opportunity is not big enough.
The things we feel fearful about are the things that might have within them the highest likelihood of your future progress and growth.
Quotes about overcoming fear
When Strategic Coach Founder Dan Sullivan was in the army, his sergeant taught him a valuable lesson about fear.
“Fear is wetting your pants. Courage is doing what you’re supposed to do with wet pants.”
In Liz Gilbert’s book Big Magic, she says:
“If I want creativity in my life then I will have to make space for fear too.”
Both of these people, recognise the first step of getting past your fear is accepting that it’s there, and that it’s all part of the growth journey.
You’re going to have to get comfortable with it and ride the wave of fear whether you like it or not.
2. What learning experience can I get from the fear?
With most experiences we go through, both good and bad, we are either winning or learning.
When we have a fear it’s usually driven by our mindset and a desire to protect us.
To learn to conquer fear, we sometimes need to find out what lesson the fear is trying to teach us first.
One of my other clients had a great new service offering.
She wrote the framework for the idea easily, yet something held her back from finishing and launching the product to her clients.
Procrastination and worry create fear
Procrastination took hold and she worried about whether it would be good enough and whether she could launch the project alone.
She started convincing herself that the reason she hadn’t finished the project and launched it to her clients was that it was a terrible idea and wouldn’t work.
In reality she was so scared about getting it right.
It would have really made her business grow, so she spent days and days trying to make it perfect.
When I sat down with her we ran through some specific questions that got her to understand the importance of what she was trying to create, and what the benefits could be if she followed through and what the loss could be if she didn’t.
The questions included:
- What was the purpose of the project?
- If she went ahead what difference could it make to your business and life?
- What would be the best result if she followed through?
- What could she lose if she didn’t follow through?
- Is 80% right good enough to simply start?
Identifying what she would gain if she followed through V what she would lose if she didn’t take action was enough for her to conquer her fear and launch the product to her clients.
She transformed the fear about being rejected and the project not being perfect into intentional, motivated action
3. How can I take this new capability forward?
Fear often shows up when we’re not feeling confident, have experienced a set-back or are tired and worn down.
Learning how to overcome far again and again means taking some time to look after yourself.
To ensure that you are fully rejuvenated. That you are energised and confident.
When you hear that fearful voice inside your head remember back to that last time that you experienced conquering fear.
- How did it feel?
- What commitment did you make?
- How did you use courage to overcome the fear?
- What would the difference be between taking action and not taking action?
- Where were you, what was your environment like?
- What positive results did you experience?
One tactic, often used in meditation, is to close your eyes, breathe slowly and see the future result you want.
Another tip is to write down what you are fearful of before you go to sleep and let your mind ruminate on finding a solution.
In the end, the one thing we do know about all fearful situations, whether real or imagined, is that they will pass.
There are always certain levels of challenge that force us to grow. If we take them on we continually build our courage and confidence muscles.
What’s the best example of how you learnt to overcome fear that led to a great experience or result?
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