(3-ish Steps) for How To Overcome Fear
Fear is the only thing standing between you and your vision. Fear is paralyzing. It strips away your confidence. It creates unnecessary roadblocks between where you’re at and where you want to be.
Fear can never be completely eradicated, but I want to teach you the necessary mindset that will not only show you exactly how to overcome fear, but how to conquer your fears and become fearless. It is possible. But, like all great achievements, it takes some self-discipline and commitment to a set of principles. And that’s exactly what I want to talk about now.
Does that mean that you will never experience fear again? Unfortunately, probably not. Will you complete rid yourself of anxiety? Doubt it.
But, becoming fearless means that you take action in spite of your fears. That’s the real meaning of living fearlessly.
I want this to be an actionable blog. Which simply means that I want you to understand why you should want to conquer and overcome your fears and ultimately, why you should become fearless.
First of all, when you face the world fearlessly, you develop an internal confidence that is not a function of the random events that occur in your life. Simply put, you gain full control over your environment. You might not have control over all of the things that “happen to you”, but you recognize the internal power that you possess to always control your response.
This is very, very important. Self-confidence is the key to getting what you want out of life. You will never reach your full potential without a confident aura. People who lack self-confidence are always unsure of their decisions. This indecisiveness creates a timidity, which is an actual, measurable, vibrational frequency…..…[in English please….] This simply means that people can sense your hesitation. If you are unsure of yourself, other people will be too. The good news is that the opposite is also true. Confidence is contagious. Any great leader will tell you that. When a leader is confident, so is the team.
Now, what does that have to do with overcoming your fears? A lot, actually.
If you can simply develop the proper mindset, you can conquer your fears, giving you an overwhelming amount of decisiveness and self-confidence. There are 3 simple principles that will teach you exactly how to overcome fear and the immobilizing effects it can have on your long-term success.
Without further ado….
Step 1: Recognize That Fear Is Not Real
Fear is not real. It’s a product of your mind. When you start really dedicating your mind to becoming fearless and taking steps to learn how to overcome fear, this is the first place you should start.
Fear is an emotion. It’s an emotion that is based on anticipation of negative consequences. Sometimes, it’s good. If you fall into the lion cage at the local zoo (don’t do that by the way), fear is a logical emotional response. It makes sense. You could get eaten by a lion. That would pretty much suck. But, when it comes to going after large goals, fear takes on a very irrational presence in the mind.
In most cases, fear only exists because we have given it power. I mean come on people, public speaking is a bigger fear for most people than death. Yea, you read that correctly. People are less scared of DYING, than speaking in front of an audience. How irrational is that? That fear is holding so many people back. It’s been shown, time and time again, that people’s income drastically increases in proportion to the number of times they speak publicly! So why aren’t people doing it? Yep, it’s fear.
So, the first step in learning how to overcome your fears is to simply recognize when you are experiencing fear. Then, it’s simply asking yourself if it’s rational (I’m stuck in a confined space with three 700-pound predators who haven’t eaten in a week), or if it’s irrational (I’m standing on stage, about to speak to a small group of people and I remembered to wear pants…that’s always a good start.)
Too many times we allow our mind to talk us out of great opportunities. We drastically overestimate the negative consequences and underestimate the opportunities. Overcoming fear means really recognizing the exaggerations of your mind. To live fearlessly and conquer your fears, you must start by asking yourself a few simple questions when you feel fear surfacing. Here are a couple:
- What is the origin of this fear? (society, personal experience, negative self-talk, etc.)
- Is this a real fear or an exaggeration of my mind?
- How will my life improve by overcoming this fear?
Remember, recognizing that fear is not real (in most cases) is the first step you must master in learning how to overcome fear, but it’s simple. Just pay attention to the emotions you experience and why. Slowly but surely, you will begin to take notice of irrationality
Step 2: Be Brave and Be Fearless Anyway
The second step you must master to overcome fear, is to take action anyways. Like I said earlier, fearlessness isn’t an absence of fear. It’s a willingness to be brave and fearless in spite of your fears. It’s a willingness to recognize the irrationality in the majority of your fears. It’s the courage and self-confidence to go after what you want in life, regardless of your hesitations. Don’t think for a second that the incredible achievers of the world don’t have hesitations, because they do. But, they have learned to push through the inertia they feel. They take action, especially when they feel discomfort and fear.
The first step to overcoming fear is recognition. It’s becoming conscious of your fear. Recognition alone is not enough, however. You must be willing to act. You must be brave and you must be fearless anyway. You must recognize that fear is the biggest enemy of your success. It can be paralyzing. It can prevent you from venturing down new, exciting and profitable paths.
People who conquer their fears, take action. They have mastered the habit of stepping outside of their comfort zones. They use fear as indicator that they are heading in the right direction. They create and implement personal strategies that help them recognize and overcome fears every time they surface.
The simplest way to making overcoming fear a habit, is to make it a daily ritual. Some fears might seem insurmountable at the moment, but the key to staggering long-term results, is to break everything down into a series of small steps. That leads me to a strongly related, intermediate step. It’s important to make overcoming fear a part of your daily ritual. You have to make it a habit.
Step 2a: Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You
The number 1 way to overcome fear, in the short or long-term, is to face it head-on. Over and over and over again. Every time you face a fear it begins to lose power over you. Doing one thing every day that scares you, is the key to making habitual and consistent progress towards becoming fearless.
The key word you must remember when you are working to overcome fear is attack. When you attack your dreams, the world makes way. People who are bold, aggressive and more importantly, purposeful, get what they want. Doors always open for people who gain clarity. This same principle applies to your fears. As you attack them, they begin to dissipate. You begin to become fearless. You begin to conquer your fears and the stronghold they have over you.
Learning how to be fearless takes practice. It takes action. It takes a commitment to a life of bold and aggressive action. Conquering your fears is a continual process that might never end, but it will certainly become easier through consistent and relentless action.
Remember that fear loses its power every time you face it. Whether it’s a fear of failure, or a fear of success that has plagued you in the past, it doesn’t have to anymore. You can conquer your fears. You can overcome your fears. You can become fearless.
Do one thing every day that scares you. It’s that simple. Start small. Doing this will really help you realize how exaggerated your fears are. It help you realize that fear is not real. Everybody experiences it, but the people who do incredible things have found a way to overcome fear. They have shattered their fears, one at a time, on a quest to live fearlessly.
As you’re starting to notice, becoming a fearless version of yourself doesn’t mean you anxieties will vanish. It doesn’t mean you won’t experience fear, but equipped with the tools to recognize it and the courage to act when you are faced with it, will make all the difference in your life. Step 2 and 2a are basically the same, however the second part is the actionable item. I want you to pause a second to consider the following questions and how they relate to your life right now:
- What small step can you take today to overcome a fear in your personal life?
- How about your professional life – how can you overcome fear in that aspect of your life?
- What is a fear that has plagued you your entire life and what is a small baby step you can take this week to conquering that fear?
Step 3: Be Patient With Yourself
This point really can’t be stressed strongly enough and nobody is more guilty of being impatient than yours truly. Patience is not a strength of mine but it’s something that can be developed through practice. If you want to learn how to overcome fear you have to realize that you will have good days and bad days in your journey.
You will have days of remarkable progress and other days where it seems like you took 12 steps backwards. That’s ok. Embrace the process and realize that the results of not always reflective of the growth that is actually taking place internally. In other words, the results of your efforts might be delayed. That doesn’t mean they aren’t occurring because they are.
To conquer your fears and become fearless you have to fall flat on your face a few times. You have to experience some rejection and failure. Progress means sometimes having to take a couple steps backward. It’s all part of the process.
I’m here to tell you that you need not be so damn hard on yourself all the time. And trust me, nobody needs this advice more than me. I’m constantly pushing myself to speed up, triple my output and smash all of my fears every day. It just doesn’t work that way.
Overcoming fears that are deeply seeded takes time. It takes small, incremental a bite-sized actions in the direction of your vision. It takes facing your fears head-on and working with diligence on creating Relentless Forward Momentum. That includes being patient with yourself and your progress.
This can often times be the biggest fear for people to overcome. The fear of seemingly not doing enough. But, your greatest work, especially in creative endeavors, is most often done in a state of effortlessness. It’s at a point where you have a crystal-clear vision of where you are headed, yet you are still appreciative of exactly where you are at. You are full of gratitude for your present environment, you are thankful for the fears you have overcome and you are confident of the fears you still have to overcome.
Take a minute to deeply contemplate the relationship you have with yourself. What stories are you telling yourself about your progress, your fears and your future? Let the following questions be your guide:
- In what area of your life are expecting great progress, yet not really achieving it?
- Is there any fear associated with your progress that might be holding you back?
- What are you most proud of over the past few months?
- What did you overcome to create such a proud moment?
- What can you start doing each day to develop more patience with yourself and your progress?
- How will this help you overcome fear and become fearless?
One thing I love to remind myself is that the goal is progress, not perfection. In every area of your life. If you are always chasing perfection, you are always going to be disappointed. But, if you simply focus on progress, you will look up one day astonished with the number of victories you have stacked up. Every great champion recognizes that the key to success consistent progress. That’s it.
The steps I’ve outlined in this post are my gift to you. Let’s review:
Step 1: Recognize that fear is not real.
Stop giving fear power over you. 99.4% of the time it is a product of your imagination (based on no empirical data by the way. Come on though, I used “ish” in the title. Cut me some slack). Fear is (most often) a figment of your imagination and it’s almost always exaggerated. Recognize that. Simply taking an objective look at the things that create “fear” within you, will do wonders for helping you move past them.
Step 2: Be Brave and Be Fearless Anyway
Courage is frequently rewarded. People who are bold and aggressive in the face of their fears usually achieve favorable results. When you do recognize your fears, it’s crucial that you strip them of their power by TAKING ACTION. If you recognize your fears and do nothing about it, I can’t help you. You have to be willing to attack your goals, attack your dreams and attack your fears. Without action you will continue to be consumed by irrational exaggerations and you will never achieve your full potential. (Mic drop).
Step 2a: Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You
This is a lot like step 2, however this breaks a sort of ambiguous piece of advice into a measurable and controllable daily habit. If you ever read my first book, Relentless Forward Momentum, you know how obsessed I am with creating and mastering daily habits that are both manageable and controllable. This is something I call “process-izing” and it’s absolutely, definitely, not a real word. But, I’m not in a high school English class being graded on my work anymore, am I!?!? (I’m just kidding Mr. Weikle)
Step 3: Be Patient With Yourself
Progress is sometimes slow. Learn to embrace the slowness. Don’t demand perfection of yourself. Perfection is simply a form of procrastination. Chase little incremental bits of progress. Face small fears, then face larger ones. Keep doing this until overcoming fears becomes a habits. That’s truly the goal. Once something becomes a habit, you don’t even have to think about it any longer. Once you have developed the habits of facing and conquering your fears, one at a time, you will become the person who does this their entire life. That’s really the goal. Like I said though, being impatient and expecting immediate results will be counter-productive. It will hinder you in the long-term.
Life is all a matter of perspective and when you change your perspective. You change the world around you. It sounds cliché, but it’s absolute #truth. (yup, that’s a hashtag). Your perspective has the ability to change your life for the better. When you change your perspective to one of gratitude and appreciation, the world of possibility will open up for you. Focus on what you are grateful for and focus on being patient. There is no greater exercise of faith than patience. It’s a level of self-confidence that very few people ever achieve. But, you can be one of them!
As you can see, overcoming fear and becoming fearless is pretty simple. I’ve laid out 3-ish simple steps to help you along the way. Revisit this anytime you need. It’s here as a resource for you. Of course you’ll experience tough days and of course there will be days where your progress seems non-existent. Embrace the tough days. Embrace the change the taking place. Embrace who you are becoming.
My parting words are simply this:
Believing that you are on the right path, means that you are.
Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt. ]