Friday, June 22, 2012

3 Steps to Move Past Your Fear

An integral part of being successful is continual growth. In order to succeed in your personal life and your professional life you have to stretch, learn and grow. Intellectually and emotionally. And in order to remain successful you have to keep stretching, learning and growing. You are either developing and enhancing your abilities, or you are slipping backwards. There is no status quo in life. It is always moving, things are always changing.

This need for constant growth can either motivate you or it can stop you in your tracks. The reason people get stopped is fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure. When you push forward you may stumble, but that stumble is part of the learning process. Successful people are constantly pushing themselves to get better. They realize it is the experiences they go through in life that teach them the most. I am an avid reader – but I know that book learning is only a part of my overall development. Just like you, I need to get out of the chair and embrace challenges.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to face your fear. When faced head on you will find that the reality is much less a problem than what you imagined in your mind. Your mind exploits and expands upon a fear. There is a part of your primitive brain that works very hard to keep you out of dangerous situations. You need to be aware of this and understand that a large portion of your fear is just your subconscious doing what it is programmed to do. Most of the fear is unfounded.

You can help move past this fear by doing a few things.

First – do the prep work. Athletes practice for months and years to compete at a high level. Investors research business fundamentals before laying there cash down. If you need to make a presentation (one of the most common fears of all) learn your subject forward and backward and then practice. In all these cases, by having done the background work you know you are well prepared.

Second – give yourself permission to fail. I know this sounds a little nuts, but by giving yourself permission you lessen the fear of it happening. The fear of embarrassment and of failure can lead physical and mental paralysis. When you tell yourself that it is okay to stumble you lessen the chance you will freeze if you do. Everyone makes mistakes – but the most successful people just keep on moving forward. They know it can happen but they do not let it dictate where they are going.

Third – Say yes to new experiences. Don’t let an automatic “no” come out of you mouth. If you are invited to an event that in the past you would not have attended - attend.
If you are asked to make a presentation that you normally would decline – accept it.
If you are asked to participate in a group activity – go for it.
Acknowledge the fact that your primitive brain is trying to keep your out of danger, but that these are not “dangerous” situations. 

Through these new experiences you will retrain your mind as to what is possible and you will find that a whole new world of opportunities opens up to you. Don’t let your primitive brain hold you back. You have too much to offer and share with the world. Let everyone around you benefit from their interaction with you. 

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