Don't let fear rob you from the opportunity of success. If you are like most people, you have a goal or a dream that is meaningful and that you want to achieve. That goal may be related to personal growth issues such as weight loss, gaining self-esteem, finding inner peace, increasing your energy levels, or overcoming depression. Or, your goal may include going back to school, entering a new career, or bringing your creative talents into a greater public light. Having a goal is the easy part. Moving through your own inner obstacles and fears can literally stop you in your tracks.
If you have tried to reach your goal and stopped because you encountered fear, don't give up. That is the nature of goals. They take you into new territory and bring you face-to-face with your own personal fears. The issue is not about moving forward once fear is no longer present, the issue is how will you act when you encounter your fear? Will you allow fear to stand in your way? Will you run the other way? Or will you say hello to your fear and move forward despite its presence?
I once read, "The purpose of life is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach, but to make them fly in formation." While fear can be a part of any journey, there are many ways to overcome fear! The five steps below are intended to offer a few powerful new strategies as you continue to bring your own goals to life.
1. Understand that fear is just an emotion.
Fear is a powerful emotion. However, just like happiness or sadness, it is only an emotion and not something outside of you. The trick is to face your fear, keep breathing, and keep its energy moving rather than getting consumed in its sticky tentacles. Moving beyond fear requires courage and a decision to feel what you feel, fully and completely. This involves a decision to breathe, be with your body, and gain insight into what is really going on for you. No matter how scary it seems, decide to sit with your emotion of fear. Avoiding it doesn't make it go away. Looking the other way doesn't make it disappear. Ignoring it does not make it any less painful. Breathe. Facing your fear can help you understand what you are afraid of, and then take the necessary steps to gain new tools and strategies to move forward on your dream once again.
2. Change your attitude about failure.
Long ago, a quote arrived in my email that read, "You try things, some work, some don't, and you do more of what works." These simple words suggest that the formula for success is that if you want to grow and succeed, you also have to be willing to fail. Sure, no one actually wants to experience failure. However, if you want to succeed at something new, you will most likely experience setbacks, stumbling blocks, and failures along the way. To be successful, you need to design an alternative paradigm for failure. In other words, redefine failure in a manner allowing yourself to see failure as "information." Failure is really just feedback telling you to evaluate your experience, utilize the information gained to adjust your plan, and then try a new approach. When an occasional failure is experienced -- get up, dust yourself off, access the new information, revise your course, and begin again.
3. Believe in your ability to succeed.
Your ability to achieve a goal is dependent on many factors, but none of them is more important than simply believing you can! Norman Vincent Peale stated, "People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success." Your potential to achieve what you want is virtually unlimited. What often propels you forward or holds you back is whether you nurture the belief that you can't or whether you nurture the belief that you can.
4. Decide you don't have to do anything.
Here is an experiment. For the next 48 hours, eliminate the words "I have to" from your vocabulary and substitute the words "I choose to." Instead of saying, "I have to move forward on my goal" say, "I choose to take this specific action step today." Or, you could just as effectively say, "I choose not to take any action step today." Either choice allows you to understand that you are the person in control of your choices. You set the priorities. You are responsible. You have control. Feel how empowering this simple change of words can be.
5. Ask yourself empowering questions.
Certain types of questions can lead you to gain new insights and new motivation. Ask yourself the following questions, allow yourself to answer them from your heart, and see where your truths take you:
- Are your dreams really important enough to change your lifestyle?
- Do you want to be responsible for your own life decisions?
- Do you have the courage to go after what you want with tenacity and see it through to the end?
- Can you accept that fear is part of the journey and move forward anyway?
- Can you recognize that fear is only your leader if you allow it to be?
Being able to overcome your fears so you can bring into reality the life of your dreams is one of the best experiences in the world! Take control of your life by practicing these five simple steps and learn how to tame your fear and create a happier, more successful life.