09 Feb 10 Tips To Help You Manage Your Fears
Is fear keeping you from moving forward? Are you selling yourself short? If so, here’s how to conquer your fears.
The other day, my friend asked me if I was interested in an opportunity that arose in our fraternal organization. I quickly responded that I was not interested, and found myself giving several excuses why.
Later that evening, I reflected on our conversation and realized that my decision to not take advantage of that opportunity was based on a deep-seated fear of failure. When I thought about the reasons I gave for not participating-that I didn’t have the time, the interest, or the facility to do that task-I found that these reasons were probably not accurate.
I thought about my past experiences, and I realized that I could make the time, and work harder to overcome any obstacles if I wanted to. I have a history of working hard in similar circumstances, and not only have I succeeded, but I’ve excelled. I realized that my fear of failure, although I perceive it as a negative attribute, has served as a protective function in my life. It has not only kept me from taking on too much, but it has also helped me to reflect on situations that could be problematic, and has allowed me to take care of myself emotionally. However, from time to time, this fear needs to be managed or else it will develop into a destructive pattern that prevents me from reaching my full potential.
We all experience situations in which fear gets in the way of great opportunities. We make excuses, engage in negative self talk, and even doubt that we can rise to the challenge, sometimes, despite the fact that we have no evidence to support that premise.
I have pulled together 10 tips that have helped me conquer my fears that I would like to share with you.
10 Tips To Help You Manage Your Fears
1. Detail Out Your Fears
Take a sheet of paper and make 2 columns. On the left side write down each negative thought and belief that makes up your fearful or negative thinking
2. Change Negative to Positive
On the right hand side-rewrite each negative thought into a more accurate/positive self statement
3. Create Separate Positive Thought Notes
Create separate notes with each of these more realistic/positive thoughts
4. Put Positive Thought Statements s In a Visible Place
Post each of these notes in an area regularly visible to you
5. Read And Repeat
Read and repeat these positive notes and thoughts regularly
6. Nobody’s Perfect, Be Kind To Yourself
Remind yourself that nobody’s perfect and you are allowed to occasionally make mistakes
7. No Excuses
Take responsibility, no excuses, be honest with yourself
8. Find Gratitude
Remember to regularly find things that you are grateful for
9. Weigh the Pros and Cons
Realize there may be some protective function to negative thinking so find the protective function, but remember to separate that out and weigh the pros and cons of your options
10.Limit Negative Thinking
If you find yourself spending too much time on negative thinking limit your reflection to a specific amount of time, or time of day
Real Life Example
Here is an example to illustrate my point.
One of my clients was looking to improve her public speaking skills so she could be more confident, less fearful, and deal more with self doubt. When she came to me her negative thinking was affecting her ability to move forward in her career. She was turning down a number of opportunities at work, and when she did speak publicly, she felt it never went well.
When she first came to me, she used to say things like, “I don’t know this material as well as I should, I didn’t spend enough time working on this, ‘ or “I don’t know if I made it interesting enough, and what if they don’t like it?” These are all examples of negative thoughts.
She changed these statement to, “I know this material well as I have taught it a number of times. I am confident I can do this well and there is plenty of helpful and interesting material that people will enjoy and learn from.” Changing her negative statements into positive ones helped her reframe her situation, and gain the confidence she lacked.
Reinforcing Regularly Is Helpful
Throughout the day of her presentation she reinforced these thoughts by repeating positive self statements such as “I am doing really well, this is fun,’ “They seem to be enjoying the seminar, I am effective,’ and “I am confident about my ability to do this well.” By repeating these positive statements it became a reinforcer which helped her self-esteem, and self-confidence. It also left little room for the negative statements to arise.
Get Professional Help If You Need It
A negative situation can really be turned around with a little coaching.
If you are experiencing severe physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, shortness of breath, and/or fleeing the situation, I suggest that you speak with a mental health professional to be evaluated for an anxiety disorder. Most mental health professionals utilize the cognitive behavioral strategies mentioned above and can help you manage symptoms, and fear laden thoughts and feelings.
There are clearly advantages of dealing with fears if you want to move forward in your job, career or personal life and grow as a person. Using these tips can improve your self-esteem, self-confidence, and help you live a life from a place of possibility. Without fear, you can make the most of opportunities that may arise.
If you’d like help in this journey click on this New Clients link and let’s get started with coaching!