How to harness your fear and convert it into action

Everyone experiences fear regardless of how successful, old or smart they are. Some fear public speaking, meeting new people, starting a business, expressing their ideas, saying no, or taking the next step in their career. Here are a few truths—nothing is guaranteed no matter how much you’ve planned for it, there’s always going to be critics and failure is unavoidable.

According to an article in Entrepreneur.com, “you can overcome whatever obstacles are ahead of you that are causing you to fear moving forward. Fear is not a thing to worry over, but to know that failures are a certainty in life…you can choose to keep going forward toward your dreams and successes.”

Fear is uncomfortable. It keeps us up at night, makes our stomachs turn and our palms sweaty. The visceral reactions we experience will only go away if we confront it.

“Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.” Mark Twain

Successful people—those who achieve their goals— don’t let fear stop them. Instead, they embrace and harness its power to convert it into positive action. Here are five strategies to harness your fear into greatness:

  1. Stop the negative self-talk. Robert Tew’s nails it with his famous quote, “The biggest enemy you’ll ever face or deal with in life is yourself”. Don’t be cruel to yourself, play the victim card or feel sorry for yourself. If you don’t feel prepared, do something about it but at least, try for goodness sakes. Live in the moment and take it one step at a time. Don’t anticipate the future. The conditions may not be perfect but neither is life. Stop holding yourself back by waiting for that “perfect moment” because it doesn’t exist. Know your worth and shine.
  2. Don’t pay attention to the haters. If your friends, family or colleagues are giving you a hard time about one of your goals and are stoking your fears, forget them. Seriously. Walk away and do not listen to them. It doesn’t matter what they say because what you’re working towards has nothing to do with them. THIS IS FOR YOU. Focus on that. Those who do support you and provide words of encouragement should be valued. Keep them close and open up to them if you need some additional TLC.
  3. Just breathe… or lift weights or paint. Whatever activity makes you calm and helps you focus on something other than your fears, go out and do it. Instead of staying home and thinking of all the possible scenarios of how it can all go wrong, just get up and do something. Try some breathing techniques, power posing, working out or painting. It will help you to focus, be present, be happier through the release of endorphins and also boost your confidence.
  4. Control the controllable and let everything else go. A lot of our fears are completely out of our control. So why bother spending your energy and time worrying? There will be unexpected things that will happen. Focus on what is within your control and stop wasting energy on everything else. You can’t control other people’s responses or reactions. But you can surely control yours. Make sure all of the things that you do have control over is done to the best of your ability and know that you gave it your all.
  5. Do it! After all that positive self-talk, preparation and exercise it’s time to just do it. Some fears require more courage than others but you still have to face them. It will take all the willpower and discipline to stick it out but it’s worth it. Trust me. Otherwise, you will run the risk of never achieving or surpassing your potential. Give it all you’ve got! NOW GO!

“What if I fall? Oh, but darling, what if you fly?” Erin Hanson

It might not be easy or pleasant to confront your fears because with any change comes discomfort but you will build mental strength, resilience and confidence. The great news is the more you step out of your comfort zone the easier confronting your fears will become.

“Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” Michael Jordan

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