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9 steps to kicking fear in the face

I’ve been wanting to write about overcoming fear for years, without knowing it. Attending my first World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland, Oregon, with 2,800 others from around the world, proved to be the catalyst.

I don’t usually splice detachment, frustration, overwhelm, inspiration and euphoria into 3 days. (Well, except as described in …!) This adventure in Portland reminded me: fear can steal your zeal; fear can crush your curiosity; fear can kill your connections. What a waste.

I walked through every step listed below at WDS. I mostly stop at #8. This time, knowing I was with like minds, I took a chance on #9. Again. I’ve never been so glad to have been afraid. I hope this might help you too.

    1. Know everyone gets scared . Everyone. It’s never just you. Never.
    2. Understand there’s a spectrum upon which you experience fear: it manifests in barely-tapped thought patterns through to sledgehammering panic. It’s a shape-shifter.
    3. Spot fear by knowing how it affects you . When you’re afraid do you:
      • get angry
      • cry
      • shake/shiver
      • perspire excessively
      • feel nauseated
      • feel unable to make decisions
      • have a heightened need for control?
    4. Flip the approach—when you experience the sensations above is it actually because you’re afraid? (That is, it’s not just a hot day or you’re ill or sad.)
    5. Expose fear as a motivator. Are you stopping/starting/dismissing something because you are scared of:
      • rejection
      • embarrassment
      • vulnerability
      • judgement
      • loneliness?
    6. Admit to yourself you’re scared. There’s likely to be resistance because you don’t want to be someone who is afraid of… Remember, just because you’re fearful now, doesn’t mean it will always be the case.
    7. Do the largest thing you can to comfort yourself and take the smallest step towards what’s frightening you. Repeat. (Assuming, of course, your fear is not engendered by a genuinely life-threatening situation. In that case you might want to take that adrenalin and high-tail it out of there.)
    8. Learn how to comfort yourself when exposed to fear ; this is invaluable. Gently experiment. Practise holding the fear and the comfort together. Repeat.
    9. Admit to someone else you’re scared . Tell a person you trust about what’s happening and how they can help you. You’ll know more about both of you as a result. Wrong person? Try another next time. You might even find part of the fear is rooted in admitting you’re scared, revealing you’re not capable this moment/week/month. When you find the person who is calm and accepting and caring in the face of your fears, keep them close.

Photo credit: the folks at Armosa Studios — this is the stage of WDS , Portland, reflecting the ethos of living a remarkable life via an enhanced sense of community, adventure and service.

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