It finally hits you. Fear. “False evidence appearing real” comes at you from every angle except that nothing about anything you feel seems false. I’ve lived it. You’ve lived it. We all have. That crippling sensation you feel in the pit of your stomach every time you think about finally tackling something that has held you back for so long. The crazy thing about the human mind is that it can think of a million reasons why you should not go after something, when the one reason why you should is actually stronger.
Chatting with a friend of mine who is new to the UAE, and has been trying to get her driving license notwithstanding that she is already licensed in her country of origin, was really telling. She knows how to drive. She’s been driving since she was 18 and is now in her mid-30s. But that one incident she had during her driving lessons where a huge haulage truck cut her off at a traffic circle has her convinced that she is better of cabbing her way around the city for the rest of her season in the UAE. Me being in chronic calculation mode, got to breaking down what her current costs are for not completing her licensing process. A moment of vulnerable chatter reminded me of the crippling effect of fear. It’s real, but must be overcome if one has any hopes of moving ahead from life’s pit-stops and sandpits. With that being said, I’ll go ahead and fill you in on my 5 top tips for kicking fear where it needs to be, and getting started on that thing you’ve been contemplating for so long:
1. Acknowledge, accept, address. A lot of people don’t want to acknowledge their fears because they believe in doing so, it’s accepting defeat. WRONG. You cannot fix something you are not willing to recognize and accept for what it is. Ignoring how you feel will not fix the problem. Be okay with the fact that you are fearful so you can begin working through how you can actually overcome your fear.
2. Think things through for a minute. Swift action isn’t always the cure. Part of addressing your fear lies in processing what caused it. In the case of my friend, she had had a traffic accident before, and so when the haulage truck fiasco happened, she had a momentary flashback of the car wreck she survived. What I’m getting at is fear has its triggers such as trauma, previous seasons of crises such as illness, severe lack or perceived failures. Think through what triggered your present fears and begin reliving what it took to move from that space – if you’ve had overcome the same fear before. Then push through with your findings. Activating a plan with a clear mind always gets you further down the road than going at it without a thought.
3. Knowledge goes a long way. What if you are afraid of not knowing? You could be applying for your next career move but shying away from opportunities you could be a good fit for because the title seems way outside your scope of knowledge. Limited understanding is one of the main reasons why a lot of people struggle to conquer their fears. Simply put, you are afraid to venture outside your comfort zone because there’s a lot of stuff you don’t know on the other side of your decision. But how does one learn without taking a chance? How do you grow if you remain content with not moving?
4. Find a fearless tribe. Listen, if you want to conquer fear or just get some wits about yourself, you will need to move with people that will challenge you to be the best version of yourself and, who are seasoned in conquering the particular area you are battling with. A baker can’t help you with your fear of dabbling with the stock market unless he or she trades. What I’m getting at is that social groups with shared interests go a long way with encouraging you to fight through your fear. I am a living testimony of connecting with different groups; each of which play an active role in teaching me something new, standing with me in seasons I need to take a new leap of faith or simply cheering me on from the sidelines. The operative word here is that they too are “fearless” – and not lurking around you to support you in your inability to move forward.
5. Visualise the overcomer in you. Now friends, no effort you will ever make will count for anything if you don’t actually see yourself on the other side of your fears. That’s right. If you don’t see it its highly unlikely that you will achieve it – unless “luck” is your middle name and the heavens are chronically smiling down on you. Even if that were the case, some work put in on your “belief-barometer” will go a long way. Whether you need to watch a couple of Youtube videos of people who have conquered the same fears you have or need to attend a few workshops on the same subject, the ultimate victory really lies in your seeing yourself having conquered your challenge.
Whether you define fear by one of the many acronyms that are out there – “false evidence appearing real” or something a little more inspirational like “face everything and rise” – critical to a change is acknowledgement of where you are and what you need to do to get to your next best. Only winners admit the constant nature of change and put every effort forward to ensure that fear doesn’t become their Achilles heel.