We are reluctant and afraid to change mainly because we like being in control of the circumstances in our lives. Change brings uncertainty and the unknown. It shakes our world and we no longer feel in control. So, we are afraid to change. We cling to negative thoughts. We feed our minds with past events. We convince ourselves that it won’t work, or we don’t have what it takes, or we have too much to lose, etc. Fear is the only true reason why we do NOT want to make a change. Good news is that we all have the ability to confront our fears. We just have to be willing to do so. Since you’re reading this article, you have already begun taking the first step. Don’t stop, keep going!
Here are 10 steps to help you along the way.
Step 1: Identify your fears
When you identify them instead of sweeping them under the rug, you’re preparing yourself to face them directly. Take out a piece of paper and write down your fears.
Step 2: Stand up to your fears
Tell them, “you’re not going to decide for me anymore.” Think of it as a schoolyard bully. A bully will always go after the kid he knows will not stand up to him. Why? Because that kid makes him look like a strong, confident person. He’s able to hide behind his weaknesses. What happens if that kid stands up to the bully, looks him in the eye and fights back? The bully will back away. Fear is a coward; it only bullies those weaker than him. Stand up to your fears and they will slowly walk away.
Step 3: Feel yourself while facing your fears!
Feeling is an amazing tool. How amazing would you feel if you went through with it? How does it make you feel to be missing out on something? I can tell you that feeling is so hard to get over. It will become easier to stand up to your fears than to have to go through that awful feeling of backing out.
Step 4: Communicate your fears
Talk about your dream to others (career change, learning a musical instrument, traveling, etc). Have you noticed that when you talk about something that’s bothering you, you suddenly feel like it has been lifted off your shoulders? Keeping it inside only makes it grow deeper. Talking about your dream makes it seem much easier to accomplish, making it feel like a reality. Furthermore, they will learn from your example, that it’s possible to do what you love and inspire them that it’s never too late.
Step 5: Re-set and re-arrange
Re-set your priorities and re-arrange your life. You may have to use your imagination and set a plan to move forward, but, never give up.
Step 6: What’s the worst case scenario that can happen?
Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? Write it down. Don’t just think about it. Write it down on a piece of paper. Usually we visualize the outcome a lot worse than it really is. We underestimate our inner ability and strength to exceed our limits. Fears come from our imagination to make things seem scarier than they really are.
Step 7: Do it now
Start with baby steps. Go at your own pace. Once you start facing your fears, you will feel them slowly disappearing. Taking action is a way to stand up to your fears (as discussed in step 2). As you begin taking action, you will realize that it wasn’t as bad as you imagined. You will begin to gain courage to confront all your fears this way.
Step 8: Re-define failure
Most of our fears come from the fear of failure. Tell yourself this very important, vital fact: The only way I will fail, is if I don’t do it! The actual act of taking action and making mistakes are NECESSARY STEPS towards reaching your goal. Once you understand this, you will break free from the fear of failure. Remember, an expert is someone who failed in every possible way before mastering his art, skill or knowledge.
Step 9: Do the thing that scares you the most
You will feel ALIVE. Now, obviously I’m not encouraging you to jump off a bridge. But, think of your first date, first kiss, or first interview. Although you were probably petrified, you still did it! You will build trust in yourself.
Step 10: See fear as a GOOD thing
I don’t believe that I will ever reach a point where I can say I’m not afraid to try anything, nor do I want to. Why? Simply because, fear is an indication that I haven’t stopped pushing myself to grow as a person. It’s normal to feel anxiety or fear when attempting to make a change and enter the unknown. Don’t beat yourself the minute you feel afraid and most importantly, don’t go back to hiding behind it. Feel your fear, let it surface, don’t pretend to be fearless and take control. By facing your fears, they will help you to prepare accordingly. Your fears will serve you to improve any skills you need to make that move. Get out there and practice. You’ll be prepared for any falls. Now, that you’re in control of your fear, you will keep moving forward towards your goal.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
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