Before you even think about overcoming your fears, acknowledging and confronting them is a necessary first step. You start off by recognizing your fear. If you have several types of fears, then you can rank them according to intensity. That way, you will recognize which fear needs immediate attention.
The best way to get yourself to confront your fears is to acknowledge them rather than beating yourself up. Get a focus on what you can achieve once you have let go of them. Whether it’s regaining control over your life or improving your own self-image, losing that fear will help boost your confidence about yourself and the world so you can become a better individual.
The most effective means to overcoming your fears is to change your perspective and behaviour towards them. The first step is acknowledging your fear so that you can confront it. Then take an honest look and assessment of the situation. This reality check is the first step to eliminating fear.
When you encounter a stimulus that might trigger the feeling of fear, think of ways to release tension and keep yourself in a relaxed state. This is important since once you have acknowledged fear, it can quickly consume and overtake you. If possible, tap the help of others, whether it be your coach, therapist, friends, or family, to provide support in conquering your fears. When you share them, the shame of feeling fear reduces.
Now you can tackle the real problem, i.e. the situation causing the fear.
The following is a quick rant to challenge a myth around FEAR
My client John was feeling frustrated because of what he described as an irrational fear of losing his business. His company is struggling, and he has, in his words, about three months before he’ll have to “pull the plug.” Upon further discussion, it transpired, he’s lost his biggest client and has racked up huge personal debts and signed guarantees to pay business expenses.
His use of the word “irrational” struck me. I asked him why he’d used it. His response was that he was at a seminar when Fear was used as an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real and that all fear was irrational.
I asked him to consider for a moment that this might be an unhelpful stance. Was it true that his business and his personal finances were under threat, and was it true that if he didn’t find a solution, and quickly, he and his business would suffer serious consequences? He, of course, agreed.
I suggested there was nothing false about the evidence. Perhaps the response to it was questionable?
The first thing we must do when faced with a serious situation is to assess exactly where we are. In short, a reality check. Then we must look for a strategy or alternative solution. In John’s case, he hadn’t even approached the Bank or had a discussion with his accountant, Financial Adviser or anyone. Why? Because he was ashamed of what he saw as his failure.
John had become frozen by the ‘F’ word Fear. Instead of trying to convince himself that his fear was irrational, he would have done better to have looked the fear in the eye and to have decided fear would not defeat him and would seek help and advice to find a solution.
False evidence appearing real might be a clever acronym, but fear is real. It’s our response to the fear that will define the outcome. Even Superheroes take time out in a telephone box to re-assess and go again.
Rant over, but I will look at specific strategies in future posts.