Fear is a natural and expected emotion to feel when faced with the unknown.
It’s a way for your brain to give you a warning that “Hey! Something isn’t right! This could potentially hurt us!”
But there’s a small problem with that.
That sense of something not being right or too different also pings when faced with new things that could benefit us.
You might be terrified to get up in front of a group of people to give a presentation, but that is a skill you need to work on because it’s required for work or school. Being comfortable enough to speak in front of others is a valuable skill to have.
Another good example is self-improvement. Improving oneself and doing new things is not always filled with cheerleaders and good vibes. A person who wants to improve the negative parts of themselves needs to rip open some ugly, dark places. They may be afraid to see what’s buried in those places. They may also be afraid of changing or the person that they might become later.
Fear is perfectly normal and reasonable, but that doesn’t mean you have to heed its warning and retreat from whatever is causing it. If you want to grow, change, or have new experiences in life, you’re going to have to get used to being uncomfortable and plowing your way through fear.
Here are our top ten tips on how to be fearless.
1. Collect inspirational materials and people.
Not literally, of course. Reading inspirational books and looking at people who have accomplished similar goals as you is a great way to find your courage.
There is plenty of that kind of information floating around on the internet and in self-help circles.
Look for the things that resonate with you or match up with what you’re trying to accomplish if you can find them.
If you can’t, there are people from all walks of life working hard to make the world a better place. Look to them and see what they are doing for your inspiration when you need it.
2. Analyze your fear through objectivity.
Fear is an emotional response to discomfort and the unknown. The problem is that we may feel emotions that don’t accurately reflect the reality of what we’re experiencing.
Your brain may just be lying to you. You may be able to overcome the fear and discomfort you’re experiencing by analyzing what you’re feeling and looking for the underlying reason of, “Why do I feel this way?”
By identifying that, you may exert some power and control over it instead of being manipulated by it.
3. Release control of the outcome.
Anticipation may be at the root of your fear. For example, let’s say you have some big, important meeting coming up where you need to give a presentation before your company’s CEO.
That’s a big deal, and it’s important to get it right; otherwise, it may negatively affect your career.
But, here’s the problem. All of the anxiety and fear about that situation doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t matter how much work you put in, how much you plan, how many details you put into the presentation to demonstrate competence; you have limited control over what the outcome of that presentation is going to be.
You can do everything brilliantly and fall flat because the CEO is just in a bad mood and isn’t fair. The outcome is often beyond our control. All you can control is how much effort you put into the thing that you are doing.
4. Failure is not to be feared.
Do you fear failure? Many people do because they don’t view failure in the right way.
People often look at the end product of a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and think, “Wow, if only I could do that! They must be so talented!”
While talent certainly helps, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do the work to hone it into something refined and valuable.
And to do that, you have to fail at things. You have to be okay with knowing you’re not going to be great or even good for a long time.
Many people view failure as the end of a thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Failure can be a valuable learning experience that teaches you what doesn’t work so that you can try something else.
Successful people try and fail, then try and fail some more. Eventually, they learn what works through their failures.
View failure not as an end but as just one step on the road to success.
5. Share your fears with a trusted friend.
Sometimes fear is just wrapped up in our minds and thoughts. Airing it out can help us pull the fear out of a new or uncomfortable situation.
You can try talking about the fear with a trusted friend, therapist, or someone who is looking to do the thing that you want to do.
They may be able to provide additional support, help, or context that alleviates that fear. You may find that expressing your fear takes some of the weight out of it because you are no longer agonizing over it silently.
6. Embrace discomfort as a challenge to be overcome.
Embrace your fear. Know that plowing through your fear and dominating it will help you harden up your internal resolve to face the other fears you will experience in your life.
Because those fears will come, sooner or later.
Instead of cowering or giving fear the side-eye, laugh at it. It can be funny if you let it. All this trepidation and discomfort; and for what? For your brain to try to sabotage your progress, pull you off course, keep you from what you really want out of life?
Nah. Don’t let that happen. That’s just a waste of valuable time and life.
7. Reframe your fear through a different perspective.
There’s a common sentiment in self-improvement circles that you shouldn’t compare yourself or your life to anyone else; that you’re not in competition. This is mostly true.
However, sometimes it’s valuable to use comparison as a tool to recontextualize your fear into something smaller and more manageable.
So what if you screw up a few minutes of the presentation? Yeah, it’ll be bad at the time, and it could negatively affect your career… OR people might not think anything about it.
They might not think anything about it because they understand it can be uncomfortable to give a presentation, and sometimes mistakes happen. And even if you make this one small mistake now, you have all of the other work you’ve put in to prove your capability.
8. Reframe your fear through gratitude.
Gratitude is a powerful tool for creating a happy, peaceful life. It helps shift your focus to circumstances you can control and regularly benefit you, rather than working against you.
You can think about all of the ways that everything can go wrong and potentially harm you, or you can focus on being grateful for having the opportunity and the chance to see what happens.
Those two different lines of thinking can’t coexist together. If you feed the negative, you get negative. But if you can replace that negative with positive, or even just neutral, you can shift your emotions into a more positive space.
9. Contemplate the worst-case scenarios.
There are times when our fears are rational and grounded. Other times, they may not be so grounded. You can explore this and defuse your fear by contemplating the worst-case scenarios of everything going completely wrong.
You can even make plans for them, so if you do get blindsided and things do go poorly, then you’re already prepared to deal with them.
Even if you don’t have a plan, you’re emotionally in the right place to put in the work to create a new outcome or find a new opportunity.
In many cases, you’ll find that even the worst-case scenarios aren’t that bad. So long as you’re not dead or losing limbs, it’ll probably be alright.
10. Do it while being afraid.
Guess what? People who don’t appear to be afraid are still regularly afraid.
The difference between them and the people who choose not to take risks because they are afraid is just one choice:
They choose to take action whether or not they feel afraid. They’ve analyzed the risks and realize that they need to do the thing instead of backing away from it.
And that is a choice that you can make too. Don’t shirk away from the fear; go straight through it.
You’ll find that fear does not have to be a detriment. There will be plenty of times where doing the thing that makes you uncomfortable has the greatest payoff. You’ll only get those things and accomplish those goals by allowing yourself to be afraid and choosing to take action.
That’s what courage is all about.
You may also like:
- 5 Tips To Help You Stop Living In Fear
- How To Overcome Your Fear Of The Unknown: 5 Critical Steps
- How To Overcome The Fear Of Change And Confidently Face New Challenges
- The Real Reason You Have A Fear Of Failure (And What To Do About It)
- How To Overcome Your Fear Of Success: A No Bullsh*t 4-Step Approach
- 15 Truths To Help You Overcome Your Fear Of Being Judged
- How To Stop Catastrophizing About Events In Your Life