A natural human emotion that can either help us harm us, fear slows us down and many times stops us from experiencing all that life has to offer, whether it’s in our careers or our personal lives. Can we overcome fear, seeing that it is part and parcel of our lives? Yes we can. We can put it in the back seat of our lives by being obsessed with facing what we fear.
Fear has stolen from us – stolen opportunities, money, joy and many other things. I used to be really afraid to get on Skype phone calls with people and all of this cost me: cost me interaction and clients. When we allow fear to have the front seat in our lives, it can get to a point where we are afraid of socializing and meeting people. How do we become so obsessed with overcoming this fear to avoid losing more than we already have?
For the most part, fear can be our friend. It is an emotion that is necessary for emergency situations. When a lion or a bear is coming at you in the woods, this is a genuine threat. When we feel the fear we are able to protect ourselves; by either fleeing or fighting back.
The problem, however, is that we do not face life-threatening situations every day. We have the fear response working in situations where it shouldn’t be allowed to work. Fear incites us to take action but at the wrong time. You need to create an upper brain level that will help you understand when you’re being overly sensitive to fear.
The first step in dealing with fear is remember that fear is a natural device — an evolutionary GIFT — designed to help humans survive. If a lion is about to eat us, we’d feel a rush of fear. But in this modern day and age, we don’t have to often worry about being eaten by a lion, or other sort of threats like that. So sometimes, the fear creeps up when it doesn’t have to. When there is no lion and no real threat, maybe it’s just something new, or maybe you feel something big is on the line (more on this) but there is no lion, and there is no reason to be paralyzingly afraid. Remember that your fear drive is there to help you, and it just might be over-firing in this instance. From there, you can become a bit more calm very quickly.
The second thing to consider is that in every situation, we face low stakes. Even Ariana Grande on the cover of her albums and magazines, her photo shoots are relatively low stakes. Millions of people look at her photos and even if there were some sort of mistake, it will all be forgotten within a short while. Surely, my Skype call is a low stake situation too. It’s just an opportunity where I get to know who I will do business with and things may or may not work out. The important thing is to make the call.
Every time you attempt to accomplish a task and you feel the fear, remind yourself that overcoming fear will not be a walk in the park. Embrace the nervousness and realize that at the end of the day, everything will be okay. The second time you overcome the fear, it’s going to be less scary. You’ll continue to be less and less nervous every time. This is desensitization; the emotional response diminishes after repeated exposure. And this can be desensitization to fear, scarcity or lack. We need to move from our mental spaces of awareness and be aware of the low stakes nature of things. This does not mean that things are insignificant but the point is, no one thing is completely defining.
When we start engaging in what we actively fear, we get the whole body involved. We need to constantly move through this cycle before we become desensitized. I once went on a vacation and didn’t take Skype calls for a while. When I came back from the vacation, I felt the same nervousness creeping back in. That’s when I realized that fear has a way of sneaking back in. The key, though, is in knowing how to work the cycle.
Please share your thoughts and feel free to ask any questions.