We all experience fear. It keeps us from moving ahead. It even keeps us from improving our lives, improving our business, and improving our relationships. Probably 99% of our fears will never come true.
Here’s a plan to kill your fears – with a technique you probably never considered. First, identify your fears. The easiest fears to identify are the ones that keep us from making changes we know we should make. Whenever you find yourself saying “I know I should . . .” – that’s a fear in disguise. Why aren’t you doing the thing you know you should? Fear of rejection, fear of losing money, fear of making the wrong decision, fear of looking stupid. Fear of something else?
Second, pick one one fear (the biggest) and write down all the things that will be possible when this fear is gone. For example, you’ll know how someone really feels. You’ll actually make more money. You’ll be able to move to the next level. You’l stop wasting time and move ahead. And so forth.
Third, embrace your fear – mentally. Here’s what I mean. Set aside 30 minutes to analyze your fear. Where did it come from? Who influenced it? How big is it? How long have you had it? What are its limits? How far does it extend? In other words, examine every detail you can think of – and write these down.
The next day, take 15 minutes to analyze this same fear. If it’s true, What’s the worst that can happen? Have you seen this happen to someone else? What was the outcome? What’s the most likely outcome (compared to the worst)? How bad would that be? And so forth.
Continue this practice for 15 minutes every day. Two things will happen. First, you will suffocate the fear by giving it too much attention. You will analyze every detail until you’re bored with it!. You’ll be comfortable with it. You’ll know its boundaries and its strength. And you’ll eventually stop identifying it as a fear. It will simply be a “possibility” instead of a fear.
The second thing that will happen when you sit down for your daily 15 minute dose of facing your fear is that you will literally put it in its place. Its place is that 15 minute slot. That’s where it gets Attention: Not the rest of your days or nights.
I was involved in a wonderful exercise at a recent professional conference. The publisher of an industry magazine was examining an article they’d published seven years before. The goal was to provide an introspective look at how well they’d done at predicting the future.
As they went through each prediction, the same theme came up over and over: We worried about the wrong things. The big challenges we identified turned out to be minor bumps in the road. And the major events that affected the whole industry were completely unexpected.
This same pattern is true in our personal lives. We worry a lot about stuff that never happens. And we don’t worry at all about the things that end up being the most important in hindsight.
If fears keep you from advancing, I recommend you create a worry journal. For every big fear that holds you back, spend time analyzing it until you’ve analyzed it to death – literally.
Most fear is not based in true observations or experiences. It’s just our busy minds speculating about possibilities. But what we tend to do is to try to NOT think about the fear. So it pops up and we push it aside. We look for something else to do, something else to think about. In other words, we never fully examine the fear and put it in its place.
Try it. Post your results here.