What If I Fail? But What If You Succeed!
Fear can be paralyzing. Fear of heights, fear of snakes, fear of public speaking, fear of the unknown, and especially fear of failure. These are just a few of many fears that hold us back from growth.
In Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.'s book Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway, she breaks fear down into three levels: 1) our exterior situations, 2) our inner state of mind or ego, and 3) the fear that keeps your stuck.
The first level, fear of exterior situations, consists of two types: fears requiring action and fears about what happens to us. Fears requiring action include making decisions, losing weight, making a mistake, and changing a career. Fears requiring what happens to us include aging, becoming disabled, change, and loss of financial security.
The second level reflects our sense of self and our ability to handle the world. Rejection, success, disapproval, and failure can affect almost every area of your life. As a result, you protect yourself by putting up walls and shutting out the world which becomes destructive.
Susan Jeffers describes level three as "I can't handle it!" meaning "at the end of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can't handle whatever life may bring you". For instance, I can't handle aging (level one) or I can't handle rejection (level two).
The Key To Facing Your Fear
The key to facing your fear is to develop more confidence in your ability to handle whatever comes your way. Seriously? That's it? In a nutshell, yes.
Why do we have so little trust in ourselves? Good question. Maybe because our brain is wired to focus on the negative. Some fears are healthy and instinctual such as being alert to danger. The fears that keep us stuck or holds us back from personal growth are destructive.
It doesn't matter if we know where our self-doubt comes from, we need to start where we are and take the appropriate action to deal with our fear.
Will My Fears Ever Go Away?
Short answer? No, but it will get better. The more confidence you gain in your ability to handle your fear then you won't have to work so hard to get rid of your fear.
The best way to deal with your fear of doing something is to just do it. Pushing through the feeling of fear is less frightening than succumbing to the feeling of helplessness.
In Todd Herman's book The Alter Ego Effect, he discusses how to create your heroic alter ego, similar to Clark Kent and Superman or Bruce Wayne and Batman. No, you don't have to wear a superhero costume but you can wear your lucky shirt or a favorite piece of jewelry. I love this concept and his examples of real life people in the book. He tells of one young man who was worried he looked too young for an important job interview so he wore a pair of glasses with clear glass and went into the interview with more more confidence.
Growing up as an identical twin, as well as an introvert, I never had to worry about making friends because I always had my best friend with me. After our marriages resulted in living in separate cities, I had to dig deep inside myself and pull out my alter ego Extrovert Laura at times.
Extrovert Laura was friendly and fun with a good sense of humor as opposed to Introvert Laura who was a homebody perfectly content taking Vitamin D tablets instead of spending 10 minutes a day outside in the sunshine.
When I began going to business networking events years ago, my pep talk consisted of telling myself go and have fun but if you can't find the location easily then you can drive back to the office. Being geographically challenged, it happened a couple of times. If I found the location then my next pep talk was "Nobody knows you as Introvert Laura so walk in as Confident Extrovert Laura and introduce yourself to the first person you make eye contact." The advantage of going to networking events is that most of the attendees love to talk about themselves and their business so all I had to do was make the first move of introducing myself. After going to other networking events around town, I recognized people I had previously met so it became easier to turn into Extrovert Laura and have enjoyable conversations.
Nothing To Lose, Something to Gain
If you're trying to feel your fear of moving on after adversity and are still stuck, ask yourself two questions:
- What will happen if I don't _________?
- What will happen if I do __________?
If your experienced a breakup or a divorce, what will happen if you don't move on with your life? What will happen if you do move on with your life? Which decision has a better impact on your life?
If your current employer laid off a group of people and may lay off more depending on the economy, what will happen if you don't look for options to fall back on? What will happen if you do look for options to move on? Which decision has a better impact on your life?
If your situation is uncertain or you experienced adversity, don't wait for life to decide your fate for you. Be proactive, consider your options and pivot when obstacles come your way. You will be able to confidently say "I can handle this!" because of your resilience to handle unexpected situations.
You can read my blog 4 Reasons Why Critical Thinking Leads to Better Decisions.
My Challenge To You
So now you know the key to facing your fears. Put on your superhero alter ego, hands on your hips, and shout "I can handle this!" Feel your fear, focus on the positive, and do it anyway.
I keep a list of obstacles I overcame of the years to remind me that I CAN do the hard things and I WILL continue to face my fear and do it anyway. Don't let the mind trap of self-doubt talk you out of feeling your fears and stopping. Read my blog 3 Tips To Avoid Overthinking and Take Action Now.
YOU are resilient and YOU are an overcomer. You CAN move on after adversity and experience positive growth!
What fear will you feel today and do it anyway?
Daily Mantra: Hunt the good stuff, find the humor, stay positive, and focus on your blessings. God can bring good out of every situation!