“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt said these words as a way to comfort a country devastated by a harsh depression. The meaning of Roosevelt’s statement is to face your fears and not be paralyzed by them.
Running towards your fears often requires you to step outside of your comfort zone. While change is a necessary part of life it is often difficult to come to terms with, especially when the change isn’t planned or wanted. But hiding from fear can be crippling and usually makes the situation worse. We may want to stick our heads in the sand and put off taking action. But doing nothing is a decision that carries consequences. Another tendency is to take action from a place of fear rather than from a place of possibility and strength. Actions taken out of fear typically lead to less creative thinking and tend to yield short-sighted results.
When you do approach situations you fear, you often find they are not as bad as first imagined. It helps to ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Our imaginations are almost always worse than the reality. Furthermore, you feel a much greater sense of accomplishment when you tackle your fears head on.
Most people have a fear of speaking in public. Setting yourself up to do just that can be a great start to running towards your fear. Contact a local business organization and ask if you can come and speak at an upcoming meeting. If you can get through your first scary presentation, you will find you have the tools needed to get through just about anything else that comes your way. (Fill out the form below to receive my tips on the 5 Common Speaking Mistakes.) Conquering one fear can also be a prelude to conquering others. It takes courage to break through fear and face that which you are afraid of. But, the rewards often outweigh any initial trepidation you might have.
One great way to push past your fear is to find others who have gone through what you are going through or are looking to do what you want to do. Forming support groups can be a simple and effective way to help the members work through the situation. The simple act of talking about it can often lead to taking the necessary action. If you stumble, the group can help you get back on track. Don’t forget about getting some coaching or training in your area of fear. It is an incredibly powerful way to learn the skills and gain the confidence you lack and to shorten you learning time.
Life is full of challenges. Refusing to face those challenges doesn’t make them go away. It only puts them off to deal with later. It’s rare that deferring them leads to a positive outcome. Confronting them will make you a stronger person and prevent situations from building to a point of being unmanageable. People will also see you as a leader when you step up to the plate and take charge of the situation. You will be an inspiration for those who come after you.