By Lauren Jawno, Elite High Performance Coach
What are you most fearful of? What scares you the most? Leaving the job you hate? Ending a relationship? Starting a relationship? Public speaking? Changing careers?
For me it’s heights! And yes, that is ME in the photo at the top of a 30-foot swaying tree where I had a 3-minute time limit to get to the top! So can we overcome fear? Yes! Does this mean I have no fear of heights? No! But I’m certainly a lot less fearful of heights than I was before this!
The truth is we all have fears! The important question is what you do with them. Do you let them hold you hostage, limiting your full potential and experience of life or do you face them head on and rise to the challenge – becoming a stronger, more confident person in the process? Unfortunately, for most it is the former.
But this month’s book review and insights can help you make the switch! In her book ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’, Susan Jeffers explains what fear is and gives some solid strategies to overcome it!
So let’s dive right in because taking action is key to overcoming fear.
Fear essentially exists to alert us of immediate physical danger. If for example a wild lion were approaching you, fear would alert you to the danger and prompt you to either flee or prepare to fight. So in a situation like this the role of fear is to protect you from harm.
On the other hand, if for example your fear of strangers holds you back from attending social gatherings then that fear isn’t protecting you but is instead an obstacle to living your life, as you’d truly like – in this case, maybe as an actively social person.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, fear is mostly holding people back as opposed to alerting them of immediate danger.
According to Susan Jeffers. All fear is rooted in in one major underlying fear – namely that ultimately what we really all fear is that we won’t be able to cope with the challenges life brings. This is the fear that all others arise from.
Knowing this and then trusting in your ability to deal with any challenges that life may present will allow you to overcome every fear. Remember, people are not fearless. They just confront and push through their fears.
Why is this so important? Because if you want to experience new things in life, which you are ultimately wired for then you cannot avoid fear because fear is a reflex that’s triggered when you’re faced with unfamiliar experiences. So ridding your life of fear is an impossible task but with experience it’s possible to overcome certain fears by being self-determined and confronting and acting on them. And as you push through your fears you will also gain greater self-confidence and empower yourself, believing that you can cope and that you’re resourceful and intelligent and you’ll figure it out. But not taking action can result in you thinking of yourself as a victim of your environments with a lack of control over your life.
Here are 7 specific ways Susan Jeffers suggests you take action and push through your fears:
1. Expand your comfort zone
This will change your perspective on what you’re capable of so do something that feels uncomfortable every day – it will show you that you can handle the situation so the next time you wont feel so uncomfortable. And if by any chance it backfires you can feel confident in that you tried and you survived. The more unfamiliar and frightening things you try the more confidence you’ll acquire.
2. Take full responsibility for your life
Take action for what you want and don’t let fear hold you back. Also watch the language you use as it has a powerful effect on your subconscious, which tends to register whatever it “hears” rather than the actual truth of the situation. Your happiness in life and all you have is a direct result of the choices you’ve made and are willing to make. So if you for example if you are unhappy in your job – don’t blame the job! Either make a decision to quit or find the positive in the situation. Accept the challenges presented to you as opportunities to learn and grow and remember only you can decide how you will feel in the process.
3. Learn how to truly give
See the world and your life as abundant by seeing all that is good in your life including even the smallest of gestures like a stranger smiling at you. By seeing all you do have and practicing giving you can remove the fear of scarcity and truly be able to give without fear of not having enough. You will see that that giving does not mean you will have less.
4. Shape your own reality by being positive
We worry so much about what could go wrong yet studies show that only 10% of what we worry about actually happens. So adopting a positive outlook of what may happen is actually a more realistic perspective to live by. A positive attitude also empowers you to create a positive reality. Even using positive words makes you feel stronger. This definitely requires commitment and practice and also does not mean that you are denying the reality that challenged do come up. What this does do is give you strength and confidence to deal with them.
5. Surround yourself with strong and supportive people
The people you spend most of your time with have a direct impact on who you are. Be open and wiling to let go of negative relationships and be equally willing to seek out and bring into your life new people who inspire and support you.
6. See every choice as a positive one
A major fear people have is about making the wrong decision. Should I end this relationship or continue trying to improve it? Should I take that new job or keep looking for something better? The fear of making a wrong decision often results in no decision being made. But the reason fear have so much fear around making decision is that they are considering the decision making from a negative perspective and are focusing on everything that could go wrong. But if you accept that there are no wrong decisions just opportunities to learn and grow you will see you cannot lose. This will help eliminate the fear of making decisions. And as mentioned about, if there are any negative experiences you will that you handled and you survived.
7. Commit to being less fearful in every area of your life
How? Fill life with many different activities that you’re fully engaged with and committed to. That way you won’t be as afraid of losing just one of them. For instance, if what’s important to you are your family, friends, hobbies and work, be fully committed to all of them. This will create a strong, safe structure for your life, so the idea of losing just one of these will not cause such fear.
Now that you understand fear better you can get it handled! Go out into the world and reach your goals and follow your dreams. Focus on what you will gain, see how challenges will help you grow and all the potential positive outcomes. Overcome the negativity that holds you back by being active and committed to action and trusting in your ability to cope with whatever life brings you.
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ABOUT THE COACH
Lauren Jawno is one of less than 300 elite internationally Certified High Performance Coaches™ in the world.
She's built a thriving practice around living a whole and high performance life – based on relevant, cutting-edge research and information. I love to coach my clients to success, to achieve the life they truly want, through programs which not only match their goals and personalities but also educate and empower them to reach their highest potential, to be high performers.
A highly sought after keynote speaker for hundreds of public and private events across North America and the UK, Lauren is also the author of Change4Good - The Ten Essentials for Food, Fitness and the Good Life.