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31st October, 2018
Fear is normal, fear is healthy, fear is important. Fear stops us swimming in shark infested waters, jumping from height and eating mouldy food. However, fear can also hold us back from stepping out, dreaming big and growing as people.
The Dictionary defines fear as “An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, or harm.”
Psychology Today have gone with “…an emotional response induced by a perceived threat, which causes a change in brain and organ function, as well as in behaviour.”
Those of you who prefer to take your life lessons from Instagram may be familiar with the clever anagram “Forget Everything And Run” and it’s more positive sibling “Face Everything And Rise”. If only fear were so easy to repurpose in real life.
We’re here to show you just how simple it can be! You see, being fearless does not mean eliminating fear; being fearless means knowing how to leverage fear, and the tips below should help you to do just that.
Fear is there to keep us safe, it’s there to inform our actions and keep us moving in a secure direction. Ignoring fear will only lead to stress and anxiety as you force yourself in to situations against the guidance of your lizard brain.
Take the time to identify what you are actually afraid of; often a crippling fear boils down to nothing more than over analysis or change. Name your fear, say it aloud, share it with friends –acknowledge and accept your fear, watch it shrink as you do so.
The scariest thing known to man? The unknown.
Our brilliant minds love nothing more than to know everything and be in control, as such, we get a little spooked when we’re caught off guard or find ourselves trying something new, without instruction or clear end point.
If your fear is coming from a lack of information, get searching! Find the facts, skim the stats and indulge in the success stories. Use education to avoid speculation.
Most of our personal fears are based around how we will perform in a situation, rather than actually being scared of the situation itself.
The best way to nail any performance? Practice, practice, practice.
Learn your lines by rehearsing your answers to common interview questions. Prepare for your presentation by researching the business and role you’re applying for. Do a few practice runs of your video application before you go for the final cut.
These exercises will provide the groundwork for success; getting acquainted with the situation – even in a role play environment – will allow you to feel more comfortable during the real deal.
Your mind is a powerful thing. Your mind can convince your body of a competency it has yet to confirm. Visualisation is a powerful technique used by athletes and CEOs alike – imagining successful completion of a task will not only create positive connections and optimism towards said task, but will also encourage the body to follow these pictured motions.
Similarly, focusing on your motivation can lead to increased confidence, optimism and determination – all of which are antidotes to fear. Do not allow yourself to lose sight of your “why”, regularly ask yourself why am I doing this? Why does this matter? Then repurpose your fear as a tool to support those goals.
Focusing on your “why” will also help to keep things in perspective. Fears are inflatable; give them enough air and they will expand beyond their place and eclipse the larger goal – by zooming in on the “why”, you release the valve leaving you able to see the bigger picture.
There’s no such thing as failure. Either you’re winning, or you’re learning.
Tackling fears is a brave and challenging process. Stay proud, stay positive and embrace the growth.
That’s it! Five simple steps to harnessing your fear for good.
Don’t forget, this isn’t a cure, you’ll still be feeling a little frightened but, whether you’re interviewing for your dream job, tackling public speaking or heading in to ask for a raise – these tips should help you to feel the fear and do it anyway.
How have you successfully overcome fear in your career? Let us know in the comments below.