Because you can employ the same process to deal with any fear no matter what you’re afraid of.
The first step is to determine exactly why you’re afraid. “I just feel scared…” is not an option. That answer means you’re either not really taking the time to analyze the problem or you have a legitimate pathological case of anxiety.
If you think you truly have an anxiety disorder- get professional help right now. This is a serious condition and not one to be trivialized.
Now let’s assume you don’t…have anxiety that is. Or, you may have ergasiophobia. If so, get over it and let’s get to work…
As I said, what is it, specifically, that you’re afraid of?
Fear of spiders, snakes, the end of the world and natural disasters show up on quite a few lists. For the time being you can just stay away from spiders and snakes. As far as the end of the world and natural disasters go- well, if you’re reading this those aren’t pressing problems right now.
Here are the Top 5 Fears I see consistently listed:
- Public speaking
- Humiliation or ridicule (looking or feeling stupid)
- Intimacy or commitment
“Courage is not the absence of fear. The absence of fear is stupidity.”
Courage is facing your fear and doing what needs to be done anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with you if you’re afraid from time to time. Fear is an innate natural human response to danger. Fear is a survival mechanism and we should appreciate it. What we don’t want is for fear to control us or keep us from doing what we need and want to do in life.
Assuming that you are not in a state of clinical anxiety, here’s what you do:
- Clearly identify exactly what your fear is…be specific
- Acknowledge your fear rather than retreating from it
- Design a way to expose yourself to a small dose of whatever it is you fear
- Repeat (Practice)
There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help. Find someone who has overcome the same fear and solicit their support. If you’re uncomfortable speaking in public; join Toastmasters. There is a peer or support group for nearly every fear and phobia imaginable.
You might also consider doing some work with a life coach or professional mentor; an impartial guide can relieve a lot of the pressure.
It’s sometimes helpful to identify or design a motivation that outweighs your fear. Let’s say you fear rejection, but you’ve got to make sales calls. If you allow your fear to keep you from making your calls, you may end up living in a cardboard box and drinking your dinner from a paper bag. Let that fear be greater than the fear of someone saying no once in awhile.
Courage is not an innate trait- it’s a characteristic you can develop.
You can train yourself to be more courageous and confident; courage and confidence go hand in hand. You do this by exposing yourself to ever increasing challenges and by standing your ground in the face of fear.
You build confidence through training and preparation. Preparation mitigates fear. You know you can act when you’re prepared. If you’re not prepared, you should be afraid! Be very afraid!
There are no shortcuts. The process is simple; not always easy. The way to increase courage is to face your fears. In doing so, you condition yourself to be even more courageous.
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