Two Step Process for Overcoming Fear

Fear comes in millions of different forms.

“What if I ask her out and she says no? It will be the most embarrassing thing of my life.”

“If I try as hard as I possibly can on this project and still fail, then that means I’m not good enough. I’d rather just put in minimal effort. If it works out great. If it doesn’t I can use the excuse that I didn’t try that hard.”

“What if I ask for a raise and I get fired instead?”

“I can’t let anyone know the real me. No one would understand me or accept me, and I can’t blame them. There are just parts of myself that I will keep hidden.”

“I can’t start a blog. There are so many blogs out there, why would anyone ever want to read mine? And they’ll probably think, ‘Who the hell does this guy think he is starting a blog?’”

Fear is what holds us back from reaching our goals and making our dreams a reality. It holds us back from connecting with loved ones and developing trust. It holds us back from anything that isn’t a sure thing.

Adee interviewed me on the Brute Strength Podcast this week, and one of the questions she asked was, “What advice do you have for anyone struggling with fear?” My answer:

  1. Think of all of the possible worst-case scenarios. Write it down, and write how likely each of them is to happen. My first time doing this was eye opening. I realized that even the worst-case scenarios weren’t that bad, and that the worst ones were extremely unlikely. That relieved the uncomfortable feeling significantly.
  2. Do whatever it is you’re afraid of on a Trial Period. One thing that makes things scarier than they need to be is by thinking of them as permanent. So try out a new hobby for a week and see how it goes.   Do that open mic night you’ve been wanting to do just once and see how it goes. Go back to school for a semester, and see how it goes. Very few things in life are forever. By doing things on a trial basis they lose a lot of their power over us, and we can take more risks.

Overcoming fear is a lifelong process. We can’t just do the work now and be comfortable for the rest of our lives. To live the richest, most fulfilling lives possible we must constantly be pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones. What is scary as hell now will be a piece of cake next year, and we will be on to something new.

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