4 Steps To Overcoming Fear
Lack of education, opportunity or desire; these are not what holds you back from achieving success, reaching your potential or creating significant impact in your work. The number one thing that holds you back is your silent struggle with confidence, self worth and faith in yourself.
I recently had the pleasure of working with a group of extraordinary women to help them plan for the next phase of their career. All these women were high achieving and had ticked off many of their personal career goals but when we looked at the barriers to stepping into their next big thing, primarily it was their confidence and belief in themselves that stood in the way.
Even though they had all achieved what we would generally class as success, they all talked about their struggle with their inner critic. Their career progress was being limited more by their “inner glass ceiling” than anything external holding them back.
Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of The Confidence Gap, support this idea. In their extensive research, they found that the more they searched for evidence of flourishing confidence in successful women, the more they found a distinct shortage even amongst highly acclaimed, accomplished women.
What this is really about … Is FEAR.
Fear that we are not good enough, of being too scared to step into the unknown and lacking faith that we already have it within us to achieve a new level of excellence and to follow our dreams.
From my own experience, I have battled fear on a regular basis. For example, it showed up when I published my first blog post, when I stepped onto the stage for the first time as a speaker at a conference and when I invested in my own learning and joined a mastermind program.
But what you have to recognise here, is that every time you allow the fear to hold you back, you give away your power to the things you are too afraid to do. The simple truth is, the only way to take that power back is to start to do the things that you are afraid of.
So you need to start speaking up in meetings despite the fear, take on opportunities even though they feel way outside your comfort zone and have the courage to have the difficult conversations. Little by little, you will overcome the fear that stands in your way and take your power back.
Here are 4 simple (but by no means easy) steps towards fearlessness.
- The antidote to fear is action. Every time you take even a small action that feels uncomfortable it is a step towards fearlessness. Overcoming fear is like anything in life … it takes practice. With each action, you are building your fearless muscle and rewiring your brain towards fearlessness.
- Take the opportunities as they arise. How often have you missed out on a magnificent opportunity because you hesitated out of fear? If an opportunity presents itself, step into the fear and take action to move forward. Have the “guts” to do what you know intuitively you should do.
- Practice Fearlessness. Becoming less fearful is just like anything else you want to become better at. If you want to become a better runner or better at speaking Spanish… you have to practice. As Robin Sharma (Author and leadership expert) has said “The quality of your performance reflects the caliber of your practice.” The more you practice stepping into and taking action in spite of the fear, the more fearless you will become.
- Keep a fearlessness journal. Every day record all the little wins and actions you have taken in spite of fear. By focusing on the little wins each day you will begin to condition your brain and your focus towards how strong, powerful and fearless you actually are.
Your fears will keep you small, limit your success and hold you back from the experiences and joy you really desire. But the truth is that very few of your fears are real! Somewhere along the way, we have fallen into the trap of believing that the safest way to live is to stay within our comfort zone… but, ultimately, all this will bring us is boredom and a life of mediocrity.
You have a choice … to allow your fear to steal your power and limit your experience of life or to stare fear in the face and have unwavering faith in your abilities, strength and resilience.
I know which I choose