4 Steps To Overcoming Fear
Lack of education, lack of opportunity, lack of desire; these are not what hold us back from achieving success, reaching our potential or creating significant impact in our work. The number 1 thing that holds us back is our silent struggle with confidence, self worth and faith in ourselves.
I had the pleasure of working with a group of extraordinary women last week to help them to 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 their 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.
And 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 battle fear on a pretty regular basis. For example, it showed up when I published my first blog, 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 we have to recognise here, is that every time we allow the fear to hold us back, we give away our power to the things we 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 we are afraid of.
So we need to start speaking up in meetings despite the fear, take on opportunities even though they feel way outside our comfort zone and have the courage to have the difficult conversations. Little by little we will over come the fear that stands in our way and take our 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, 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 that you should do.
- Practiced Fearlessness. Becoming less fearful is just like anything ease 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.
The sad fact is that your fears will keep you small, limit your success and hold you back from the experiences and joy you really desire. The truth is that very few of our fears are real! Somewhere along the way we have fallen into the trap of believing that the safest way to live our lives is to stay within our comfort zone… but ultimately all this will bring us is boredom and a life of mediocrity.
We all have a choice … to allow our fear to steal our power and to limit our experience of life or to stare fear in the face and have unwavering faith in our own abilities, strength and resilience.
I know which I choose.