By Mark Creedon
3 steps to overcome fear
Fear is a powerful and primitive human emotion which is sadly an inevitable part of everyday life. It likes to rear its ugly head in both our personal and professional lives, often holding us back from reaching our full potential.
I think it’s safe to say, in the current environment of the global pandemic, fear is more prevalent than ever, acting as a block or preventative to stop us moving forwards. And it’s not just a fear of failure. Interestingly, the fear of success is almost just as debilitating.
We all know the feeling of fear, but the question is how do we recognise and deal with it?
According to Rhonda Britten, founder of The Fearless Living Institute, this unprecedented period in time presents an opportunity to do just that – to recognise fear and learn how to overcome it.
“The global pandemic is bringing fears to the surface that may not have been addressed,” she said, explaining that this unique time is compelling individuals to question how they live their life and what type of life they want.
“We’re more awake to fear than ever, and that is a gift. If you can recognise fear now, in the midst of it being so evident, then when life goes back to ‘normal’ you will be equipped with those tools. Now is the time to talk about fear, so that the pandemic doesn’t take us down, doesn’t make us feel weighted and plagued by anxiety,” she said.
Unfortunately you will never get rid of fear but you can understand it and understand how it works for you. You can do so by following three steps:
Step 1: Understand your fear response.
Procrastination, resentment, entitlement, worry, anger, guilt, these are all fear responses. Fear responses differ and are unique for every person. What is important to understand is that these limitations are not fear itself but a symptom of fear.
The trick is to identify those responses and engage with them. Rhonda suggests we make a list of all those feelings and own them because once identified, those fears hold less weight.
Step 2: Practice acknowledgment statements.
An acknowledgment statement differs from an affirmation in that an affirmation, for the most part, has you look outside yourself and identify things which can come to you, whereas an acknowledgment statement is acknowledging yourself for something you have achieved.
For example, if you usually make 100 complaints per day and today you made 99 complaints, you can acknowledge your improvement using a statement such as: “I acknowledge myself for only making 99 complaints today. That’s an improvement on yesterday.”
Step 3: Stretch, risk or die.
There are 4 zones for fear. Your ‘comfort’ zone represents where you are comfortable. A ‘stretch’ zone is everything beyond your ‘comfort’ zone that you know you can do, but haven’t. A ‘risk’ zone is everything you’re uncomfortable with and are unsure if you can do. Lastly, a ‘die’ zone is where you place everything you have decided you cannot and will not do.
Once you have gone through the process of understanding your fear responses, then acknowledging yourself as you move through and improve on those fear responses, your next focus is to challenge the boundaries of these four zones.
By remaining in your ‘comfort’ zone you are preventing personal development. Instead, Rhonda says you need to stretch and challenge these zones so that your ‘comfort’ zone includes something which you may usually consider in your ‘risk’ zone.
What then happens is that your ‘comfort’ zone expands to include things which would have previously been considered in your ‘risk’ zone, then eventually your ‘comfort’ zone could even include things which previously included things in your ‘die’ zone.
By categorising your fears into these four zones, stretching your tolerance and taking on risk you are able to increase the size of your ‘comfort’ zone and as a result, relabel your fears.
Because, as Rhonda herself says: “there is nothing wrong with you, it’s just fear.”
Following these three simple steps and by understanding, confronting and harnessing fear, we can all move past the things which are limiting us in our success in our personal and professional lives. By understanding what our fears are, why they are there and how to overcome them, it gives us the opportunity to move forward in the future as a stronger and more confident version of ourselves.
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
Sign up for the free Newsletter
For exclusive materials’ not found on the blog