7 Ways To Think Differently About Fear

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26th Feb 2016

5 min read

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How to use it to your advantage

If you are standing in front of a door that says “fear”, that is the door you must walk through to become successful.

As the old adage goes, success begins right outside your comfort zone. There is no fear in comfort. There is nothing driving you when there is security.

Where there is comfort, there is complacency. Complacency is the great counterforce to success.

To become abundantly successful, you must master fear, understand its true purpose, and use it to your greatest advantage. When you know fear and how to use it, you will actualise your success.

1. Fear as challenge

When you are unsure of your next steps in business, fear ignites and you may fall victim to believing you are placing your business in danger of failing.

Fear naturally creates the initial response of being inclined to avoid the challenge. Keep in mind, fear is a counter-intuitive emotion; when you want to step back, fear is urging you to move forward into the unknown.

Fear wants you to take it on, to compete with it. Success is about taking risks and making bold decisions.

If you let fear encapsulate you, it will suck you into a negative self-reinforcing quicksand because fear feeds upon itself. The more you let fear stop you, the bigger your fear becomes, and the more difficult it is to act.

If you really want something, but are afraid of all possible slip-ups which may happen along the way, fear is dictating and winning the competition. Learn to move faster than your fear.

2. Fear as motivation

In the pursuit of success, you cannot let any opponent in life or business make you feel so weak you become consumed with doubt, delaying movement forward. Most fears you have are made-up fears that aren’t real threats to your business.

Be open to the emotion of fear, let it settle and find your way back to rational thought. Once emotionally in control, use fear as your motivator and coach to push you through challenging situations.

As you prove fear wrong over and over again, you develop the character trait of confidence. Without fear, confidence cannot develop. You become confident through continually and successfully achieving things you never before thought you were capable of doing or achieving.

When used correctly, fear will drive you harder towards success compared to any other emotion.

3. Fear as curiosity

Fear does not show up without reason. Typically there is something you are afraid of.

In business, thoughts of failure or loss naturally cause you to do all you can to avoid these experiences.

However, avoidance serves nothing but a complete breakdown in your creativity, thereby generating mental blocks which impede success.

To avoid falling victim to fear, be curious about what you are afraid of. When you can mentally work through what you fear, you have the opportunity to answer for yourself what needs to be done to go about dispelling this negative state, and using its energy to your benefit.

4. Fear as guidance

Fear generates an automatic state of heightened arousal, forcing you to tune in and pay close attention when tackling challenges in life or business. Fear alerts you of when to be cautious and when you need to be bold in your decision-making.

Fear is a well-meaning ally, so listen to its voice. There are times fear will tell you “it is now or never”, and other times it will tell you “sleep on it, give it time.” These are your guideposts when negotiating and planning your next steps.

5. Fear as useful

Fear isn’t good nor bad; it is simply unpleasant. It doesn’t have to be any deeper than that. When you give fear the irrational power to paralyse you, it will stifle your progression.

Imagine if you treat fear the same as you treat any other emotion. In learning to do this, you would come to understand its usefulness and be more able to channel its power in a proactive manner.

You would come to see that fear is, perhaps, the most useful energy employed in the pursuit of your success.

As you associate fear with opportunity (a positive experience), this allows you to see fear’s unmistakable value of driving the evolution of yourself and your business. As you experience the joy of pushing beyond fear, you come to respect fear as the doorway to your increased success, happiness and fulfilment. For this reason, always remind yourself that everything you want stands on the other side of fear.

6. Fear as wisdom

Fear is closely tied to gut instinct. Although this emotion can be uncomfortable, it does provide the tough love you typically do not accept graciously from others. When your thoughts and emotions get the best of you, you are forced to listen.

To use fear effectively, filter through your emotional state in an effort to use this wisdom in intuiting the next steps outside your comfort zone.

When you learn to master fearful emotions, they become the most powerful wisdom teachers directing your business decisions.

It is essential for your personal development to do the things you fear you cannot. It is through this process you become experienced, wise, and unrestricted in your success.

7. Fear as a catalyst

Once you understand why you are afraid of something, fear is much easier to manage. It is normal to be afraid of being “too bold” or “too different” when it comes to chasing your dreams. Ensure you don’t stifle your greatness under the umbrella of social acceptance and fitting in.

Be authentic. In a competitive business world where everyone is trying to be someone else or keep up with the Joneses, be brave enough to be you. Nobody else has your individuality. Nobody else can do your part, so revel in your distinctiveness.

Transparency is a success magnet. The more authentic you are, and the less fearful you feel for being different, more opportunities will come your way. Allow yourself to take risks and be vulnerable. Learn to make something amazing out of the powerful emotion of apprehension.

Fear is a catalyst. Let it drive you to greatness.

Parting thoughts

As a human being, it is natural to feel fear. Fear is the great competitor and motivator in life and business. It is the drive within you which has the greatest chance of forcing you to move and change.

On a very primal level, fear protects you from danger, but the majority of fear you feel as a human being is the fear of what has not yet happened and of worst-case scenarios which are not likely to ever happen.

Repressed fear creates the unnatural state of chronic anxiety ripping away any chance of developing the growth you need to get you to the type of soaring success you deserve.

It is through each experience that you stop and look fear in the face that you open new doors to success.

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in California with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counselling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of ‘Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person’. This article was first published on Entrepreneur.com. Send us your feedback at editor@leaderonomics.com. For more How To articles, click here.

 
Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.

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