Our Fears don’t have to control us; with some proven tips and strategies we can move beyond fear and take control of our lives.
Last month I wrote about The Nature Of FEAR: what causes our fears to manifest inside us, what we typically are afraid of and how those fears are usually out of proportion to the reality of our situation. I ended the article with the first step to take in overcoming our fears:
- We need to acknowledge our fears, to identify what they are and accept that it is natural to feel this way. Putting a name to our fears and understanding why we feel the way we do is the first step to removing the control our fears have over us.
Let me offer you some more concrete actionable steps you can take to continue the process of overcoming fear.
Make A Plan
When we are feeling afraid or worrying about something, it can cause our thoughts to jump around. This lack of an ability to concentrate only feeds our feelings of anxiety. That’s where making a plan can help focus our thoughts on positive steps we can take to deal with our stressful situation and move beyond worry towards finding solutions.
There is something powerful about grabbing a pen and paper and mapping our a plan, even if the only things that come out are all the problems – identifying the root cause is the first step to seeing possible solutions.
Focus On The “Why”
How we do something is easy, why we do it is much more complex. It’s your “why” that is going to keep you going when you start to feel discouraged or fearful.
The more detailed and specific you can be with your why, the more it is going to motivate you to stay the course. Place reminders to yourself about your why where you will see them every day; it could be photos, a reminder on your phone or maybe share your idea with a friend. (See more about this below.)
Manage Expectations (long-term vs short-term)
Having a plan isn’t always enough to get us feeling confident on the outcome, we need to also have realistic milestones attached to that plan. It can be very discouraging to feel like your plan is failing because you didn’t allow enough time for your efforts to bear fruit.
It’s been said that most people overestimate what they can achieve in the short-term, and underestimate what they can achieve in the long-term. That’s why is good to set both long- and short-term goals.
Celebrate Small Wins
And while we’re on the topic of short-term goals, make sure to celebrate those “mini-wins”. We’ve all heard the adage: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. What’s also true is that this journey is made up of tens of thousands similar steps that follow one after the other.
Each of those steps is important in reaching your goal; they are worthy of celebration, if for no other reason than they have gotten you one step closer to your ultimate goal.
Allow For Failure
Whenever we start out on a new path or plan, we are going to feel optimistic about our success – which is great! But be realistic with yourself: this is not going to be a smooth steady climb towards your goal, you are likely to stumble along the way.
Just knowing that this will happen, and being prepared for it, will help you get over those hurdles more easily because they won’t be a shock to you. It’ll just be another sign that your plan is working.
Ask For Help
Finally, realize that whatever has you feeling fearful or anxious, you don’t have to take it on alone. Find someone you can talk to, whether a friend, family member or close colleague.
Sometimes talking it out is all you need to keep your perspective and alleviate your anxiety. Hearing your fears spoken aloud to someone else helps give a sense of detachment from them, allowing you to look at it as if it was someone else’s problem.
A good friend can offer suggestions if needed but usually just having them listen and acknowledge your situation is all it takes to help you feel a little less overwhelmed.