This is probably the biggest reason for people stopping themselves from being successful. It’s certainly one of my biggest failings. However, as I’ve said before, failures are things to learn from and then move on. I hear some of you saying “I’m not scared of anything” or “there is no fear but fear itself”, guess what I’ve heard them before but I find most people have fears. Some people have fear in their lives everyday and even the most successful people have fears too.
I’ve done lots of things that scare others
held spiders, held snakes, jumped from heights, flown on planes,extreme sports. These are obvious fears. Then we move on the the less obvious, fear of loss and fear of failure. Many of us have something or something in our lives that we want to keep or need and fear losing it (friends, family, possessions or even our lives) Fear of failure is either a fear of losing something or an emotional fear ( don’t want to look stupid or look like a failure) I’ve got you thinking now haven’t I?
You want a new life? You want a better life? Then something has to change. So why haven’t you changed it yet?
Yep, fear. You like being in your comfort zone, you may not like it much, but you know where everything is and how it works. “It’s just how things are” right? I spent years of my life in this way, I was unhappy for years until I faced my fears and took a chance. Everything you want in life rests outside your comfort zone. So how do you move out of your comfort zone?
Before we move on I want you to try something. I read this on line and it helps clarify some things in your head before you start. First draw two seperate circles big enough to write a few things in. In the first circle place all the things in your life that you value most. In the other circle write down all the things you want in your dream life. Got it? Good. Now look at the circles, if there are things that appear in both circles then you want to continue having them in the future and fear losing them. True. When you look at making changes you look at how they will affect these things. Next draw two more circle like the first ones somewhere else. In the first one write down what is stopping you going out and getting your dream life now. In the second one write down all the things you want to change for the better. Ok, let’s look at what we’ve got. The first circles represent your life now and the second two are the future you want. Your life now includes things you want to keep and also the things that are stopping you. The other two circles include the things you want to keep, changed things and nothing stopping you.
Now to the job of getting you from the first circles to the second ones. First the easy part, getting the things you want to keep. DONE! Congratulations you’ve already succeeded in getting these. Hang on how do we cross the gap from circle one to circle two? Most people decide to change their lives and then make the changes alone and fear that they will lose something if things don’t go the way they planned. The best way to get past this is to get them involved. If it is people you want to keep, have confidence in yourself and your ideas and tell them what you want to do. If they are on your side they will come with you when you make the leap across. If it is objects you could either buy them again if needed or give them to others to look after so they are not at risk any more. Solved. What’s left is a bit more tricky.
Good news you’ve already taken the first step by reading this. The first step is to decide to make a change. It’s all too easy to look at something and decide it’s too much hassle so why bother. You bother because otherwise you will remain where you are, unhappy or wishing things were better. We don’t want to take any of the things holding you back into your second circles. Most people write money, lack of opportunity, knowledge, time and after reading this some more may have added fear. Time is something I can help with. Check out my post on time here. Knowledge – it will take too long, right? Well check out this TED talk by Josh Kaufman and think again. In order to teach people you need to know more than them and be able to offer value. All you need is a bit more knowledge and the willingness to learn what you need to stay ahead.
Opportunity is usually to do with placement and observation. If you want to see opportunities in a certain area, make sure you go to places within it. If you want to cook, go where cooks are. If you want to teach talk to teachers. If you can’t go to conferences in person, view them on line and join forums from home. Then look for ways ro talk to the right people and ask the right questions and then your opportunities should be easier to see.
Money, there are lots of ways to get more but that will be for another post. Quick version though,
- work more
- work smarter – more money per hour (sell your talents)
- sell things you don’t use/need anymore
- get a loan
- sell things on line (affiliate marketing or products of your own)
- stock options (BEWARE you may also lose your money this way too)
- other events (bets, gifts, inheritance etc)
Lastly Fear, hopefully some of the fears you had have been reduced already, especially the fear of losing something or someone. The big fears like fear of spiders or snakes or heights etc are fears we have learned at some point. Many babies are born without fear because they don’t know what to be scared of yet. Our parents/guardians told us that things were dangerous and/or we found out for ourselves. If you burn yourself on something eg. an iron you will remember and you’ll most likely find a way to check if it is hot before you touch another iron again. This is a survivial mechanism, we need to learn some things to survive. We then pass on this knowledge to others to save having to learn them for themselves, especially useful for poisonous and other lethal things. We can also learn irrational fears too.
This may sound odd but I’m not asking you to become completely fearless. To be scared of things that could seriously hurt you or kill you could be useful, but don’t let fears rule your life. If you know the danger you can take precautions. Some people actually think fear is fun and actively chase it with more and more extreme sports and challenges.
Others fears can be reduced by facing them. If you are scared of spiders, reading about them, looking at pictures of them and even handling safe ones may help. If you face fears at a safer level they won’t be as scary any more. Here is a great TED talk about someone with stage fright and how he is now able to be a speaker at all. Sometimes if you face a fear enough and realise that it isn’t actually dangerous or doesn’t make you look bad (or you don’t care what others think any more) you may lose the fear altogether. I am a karaoke DJ ,and even though I have done it for years, I still get scared to sing my first song. Unfortunately I know that sometimes if I don’t sing first then nobody else will. So what do you do to face your fears?
First – understand your fear
What is it? What exactly do you fear? – for example if you are scared of heights, are you scared of the falling, helplessness/loss of control on the way down, or what will happen when you land? Sometimes when you fear something it is because you have been told that it is dangerous but don’t know why. Find out more about it. Say you were scared of snakes. You have been told that they are poisonous. Find out which ones are poisonous or can kill you then you will know which ones to be scared of and avoid. You could learn why they attack, do they need to be angered or threatened or attack to save their homes/young? Understanding ways that snakes are, in a lot of cases, safer than you thought should help.
An online business idea could be that you have been told that YouTube can be used to gain leads. You are scared of making videos. What your really scared of is usually; video of yourself, things to say, presentation or quality.
Second – change your fear
Is the fear something you can change? – in the above example one option was helplessness/loss of control. This could be something that affects you in other areas of your life too, areas you can change in more obvious ways. In the falling example would you be so scared if you had a parachute? You’re still falling after all. Think about it. Joe Kowan in the video used what he loved, writing and performing songs, to change his fear into something he liked doing.
For the YouTube example. Video of yourself – easy fixes include hiring someone else to be in the video, or using screen capture instead of the camera for your presentation. Things to say – make a script or powerpoint, it doesn’t have to be long, just interesting and valuable to the watcher in someway (worth watching). Presentation/Quality – once again you can hire someone or some equipment.
Third – face your fear
This is the one you dread the most, BUT if you face it and overcome it you will prove to yourself better than you thought and you’ll feel more confident about facing more challenges in the future. If your fear was loss of control and you know that you always burden yourself with too much work, try delegating tasks ( you can still oversee them or check to see if they have been done well after – if they are wrong tell the person what to do better next time) If it was snakes you could look at snakes in a safe environment, maybe even handle safe ones. Joe in the video felt better doing what he loved by singing his song and knowing that by the end of this song the audience will either like or at least be on his side for the rest of his time on stage. He still has stage fright but he doesn’t let it stop him.
The choice IS yours? What are you going to do about it? Make the brave choice, make the changes that you want in your life and be successful.
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