The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Your Fear- Including the 4 Main Fears that are Sabotaging You
When it comes to achieving any goal in life, why is it that some people seem to crush theirs while others lose motivation and momentum?
If you are struggling with a particular goal, you may not have set the right goal to begin with. Maybe you’re not clear on your true values. Sometimes you think you’re clear, but if your values have been learned through your culture and environment, they might not be aligned to your most authentic self. When your learned values and true core values are misaligned, this gets in the way of being truly confident and authentically fulfilled.
Or perhaps you’ve set the right goal but your dissatisfaction with your current reality doesn’t outweigh the dissatisfaction with the sacrifices required to achieve the goal.
In the above two scenarios, you just need to re-evaluate and adjust your goals… no bigee….
But, more often than not, the reason you don’t achieve your goals is because of fear.
So, how do we achieve our goals without letting fear stop us?
Well the answer is simple, but not easy, pretty much like anything worth fighting for. Keep reading for how to overcome your fear so you can conquer your goals!
My Ultimate Guide to Conquering Your Fear
Label Your Fear
Get in touch with where the fear is coming from, not just the feeling. For years I used to focus on how my fear manifested itself: anxiety, panic attacks, or on the flip side feeling depressed that I wasn’t facing my fear. Your fear will fall under one of the following categories*:
Fear of Dreaming
If this is your main fear, you might not have even set yourself challenging goals yet. You could be repeating the same behaviours from the past; simply focusing on surviving instead of what else might be possible. Often this is tied to your personal beliefs about yourself and your experiences.
Fear of Failure
This is when you’ve set goals but execution is what stops you. You might not even be aware when this fear is at play and be self-sabotaging without even realizing it. This could be tied to overestimating the risk involved and underestimating our own ability and resourcefulness.
Fear of Upsetting People
Once you start moving closer to achieving your goal, the change that it brings on starts becoming visible and may impact others. The fear of judgement, or making others upset is another fear that has the ability to stop you if you let it.
This brings out the cynic in us who tends to look at our organizations, family, culture and overall environment as the reason(s) they won’t achieve their goal. The deep beliefs about how others will perceive us are also a contributing factor.
This is when internally we are in crisis about what is important to us, or our values. So for example, if you have a goal that comes into conflict with a role that is important to you and you’ve heavily identified with, you may trick yourself into thinking you can only be successful at one thing. One example is thinking you can either be a good boss, or parent, but not both. It’s when there is a gap between who we are and who we think we are. This might show up to challenge us when we have scheduling conflicts, or guilt when we expand our focus beyond those closest to us.
*Classification of fears adapted from Dr. Marilyn Atkinson’s Inner Gremlins, Erickson Coaching International
Talk About Your Fear Openly
This is one I resisted for many years. We feel shame around fear, and our ego tells us to hide it. There are evolutionary reasons why this is. But, an amazing thing happens when we resist hiding and actually talk about our fear. We start to take away the fear’s power. When we are proactively becoming aware of and dealing with our fear, there is nothing left to be ashamed of. Even if you feel nervous or anxious, you start to embrace it as part of the process.
Hire a Coach
Hire a certified coach who can help you unravel the beliefs attached to your fears. Using neurolinguistic programming and understanding how to re-wire your thinking patterns after years of creating your current neural pathways and networks is not easy work, but it is so worth it and highly effective when working with someone who helps you deliberately create the shift. It’s also a lot easier when you are working with a professional whom you can trust so that you maximize your awareness and accountability. For more on what a coach can do to help you and how to find one that is the right fit for you, click here.
Take Action When Inspiration Strikes
You may have heard of the Book, The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. There is a reason why this works. If you take action before your old thinking patterns kick in, it’s easier to re-wire your thinking patterns and beliefs by shifting your habits.
I personally find this easiest when I feel inspired. Pay attention to when you feel inspired and simply take action before overthinking it. For most of the decisions we make in life, the longer we put it off, the more stress and anxiety it causes. Critical thinking is one of my strengths, and if it’s yours too – use those powers for good, not to hold you back. Only use them when the stakes are high and you have a lot to lose, or when safety is a big factor. Don’t use it to talk yourself out of doing the things worth doing.
One of my favourite quotes that reminds me to take action:
“Clarity comes from action, not the other way around” – Unknown
It’s easy to convince yourself you need to wait until you are “ready” or more sure of your path. The path will become clear as you walk it. And if you need to change directions or turn around, it’s ok. The key is to not stay stuck where you are.
Take Baby Steps
No one said you need to do it all at once. Beyoncé wasn’t created in a day, right? Progress, purpose, never perfection is my mantra. Always keep the bigger goal in mind and just start with the tiniest of steps to start building the momentum. It might seem slow at first, but once you get the momentum going and find your flow, you will be unstoppable. It gets easier, I promise.
Be Clear on Your Vision & Life’s Purpose
This really is one of the most important pieces. And I don’t just mean a general goal or ambition. Your vision for each main endeavour and entire life should be so clear, specific, and tangible that you can practically taste it. And guess what, if you’re asking yourself:
“What is my ideal lifestyle?”
“Is it even realistic?”
“Is it even possible?”
or any other questions that come up for you, see above paragraph about taking action. It’s ok if you adjust as you go, but you have to start somewhere and it needs to be tangible and time framed to motivate you to act.
Really, you want to focus on getting clear about the following as you work on your vision and purpose:
1. What are your core personal values (i.e. what brings you authentic happiness)?
2. What are some learned values that might distort your vision?
3. What problem(s) are you passionate about solving (both for yourself and the others)?
4. What do you want your legacy to be?
5. Who else needs to be part of your bigger vision?
6. Who do you need to become to achieve it (think beliefs, skills, mindset, etc.)?
Build a Support System
You do not have to face your fears alone. No matter what your fear is, people can relate to what you’re going through. Find people you trust to help keep you on track, be a sounding board, and to keep you accountable.
Side note: So many people will tell you that in order to achieve your goals, whether it’s advancing your career or your business, you need to network. I really hate the word “network” and I think it’s because traditional networking events are based around collecting contacts and many people go into networking situations with a high self-orientation (i.e. “what’s in it for me?”). I’m more about building real relationships built on honesty and trust. If you come to each relationship with, “what do I have to offer?” it will not only help you face your fear, it will be a game changer in terms of your personal and professional growth.
Remember Who You Are
When fear kicks in, it’s important to remember who you are. Remind yourself of what is important to you and why. Also, remind yourself of times in the past where you got through something in the face of fear. If fear is starting to win, it’s often because you’ve lost touch with all the elements of your identity that make you a badass. Use your strengths and resourcefulness to get through it. And re-motivate yourself by having your vision accessible and adapting it as you gain more clarity.
The earlier you let go of the elusive, enticing idea of perfection, the happier you will be. Like truly authentically happy. There is no such thing as failure unless you fail to start. Start embracing imperfection and stop comparing yourself to others. Most of the time when we compare, we aren’t even comparing apples to apples. The beginning of your journey will look nothing like the middle or end of someone else’s. Again, use your unique strengths and let go of everything else that isn’t serving you. Surround yourself with people who will help balance your weaknesses and above all - be kind to yourself. No one is perfect; again it’s all about progress.
So that’s my ultimate guide to kicking your fear in the butt. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. What is your main fear at the moment? How are you being proactive at making sure it won’t sabotage your dreams?
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