FearFear is a fact.  We all experience it.  When I talk about fears, I’m not referring to the phobias that people have or the adrenaline that explodes through our body when our safety is suddenly threatened.  The first needs clinical help, and the second recedes as the danger passes.

I’m talking about those fears that keep you stuck in some area of your life – where you cheat yourself and the people who will benefit from your gifts.

We might regret the past, but we don’t fear it.  The present isn’t what we fear either.  What we are anxious about and fear (these are closely related), is the future.  And since it hasn’t arrived, it is not real.  It’s also true that most of the things we fear will not come to pass.

We all fear shark attacks even though they are extremely rare. The fact is that the danger we feel has a disproportionate relevance to our lives. And most of our fears fall into this category.

Yet fear persists.  It distorts our ability to make decisions.  It impacts our relationships, our health, our work, and our spirituality.  In short, it prevents us from experiencing the “good life”.  The more we buy into its control, the more we forget about our strengths, brilliance, and resilience.

Our fears can become the barrier to the life we truly want.  Do you fear rejection, going broke, living alone?  Who hasn’t had these fear-filled thoughts at some point?  The problem is when they are isolated, amplified, and take control.  When that happens, you have bought into the illusion.  The side effects are a speeding heart and sleepless nights.

Here are 5 ways to overcome your fears and take back control.

  1. Be specific about your fears. Is it fear of loss, failure, risk, change, or even success?  Hiding them gives them energy.  Bring them out into the light of day and you decrease their power.  By identifying them you begin to take back control.  Rather than being haunted by them you are now dealing with them.
  2. Change your perception. Listen to the stories you tell yourself about your intelligence and strengths.  Your self-worth is just that – worth you ascribe to yourself.  You can expect the best or the worst, so why not expect the best.  Habits take work. So you’ll need to put effort into this. Your thinking will snowball in the direction you choose.
  3. Applaud the success of your friends. Thoughts of envy and negativity toward others are energy vampires. (Facebook users, beware).  Be happy for people who get what you want.  Their victories have nothing to do with yours. They also blind you to the fact that others have their own fears.  Negative projections diffuse the focus you need to create your own victories.
  4. Create space for gratitude. What’s going on in your life that you appreciate?  Fill your mind with that.  Be grateful for the love you give and receive. Stop to acknowledge your strengths, determination, accomplishments, and uniqueness.  The appreciation becomes a positive image of your future successes.  Since you will be thankful for them eventually, why not be thankful for them now?  By doing this you build a positive image, and that’s much closer to reality than your fears.
  5. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. We all have a built in system that makes change difficult. These boundaries can be described as our “comfort zone”.

Sometimes our fears are simply our natural tendency to stay in our comfort zones.  It keeps us stuck.  The greater the change, the greater the intensity of resistance.  It’s a part of life.

Life is about taking risks.  At times that can scare the daylights out of you. Shark Attack! Confront it head on and see what happens.   We weaken fear by becoming stronger.  Doing the thing we thought we couldn’t do awakens the warrior in each of us.

These 5 principles will empower you to understand your fears and choose how you respond to them. They will help you create space in your life for greater meaning and purpose.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” – Francis Chan

How do you deal with your fears? We’d love to hear from you.