Fear is a very powerful emotion that affects your mind and body.
Fear can create strong response signals in emergency situations, which is a good thing—particularly when we’re in danger (think: a bear is chasing you).
However, not all fear is good.
The fear that comes up when you’re afraid to go for the promotion, confront your sister in law, or start an online business isn’t serving you. This is a primitive response (the fear) meant to put your body into a warning that danger is ahead and you better run. You can see how useful that is when you’re under attack and how harmful the same emotion can be when you’re getting outside your comfort zone.
Fear can cripple you from doing something you’re supposed to do. For example, if you commit to speaking at your son’s school and on the day of the speech, you’re overcome by fear, you may be so paralyzed that you don’t go even though you committed to going.
If you’re unaware of how fear works, it can really halt you from living an extraordinary life. You won’t take risks, set goals, go for your biggest hopes and dreams. You’ll feel stuck. When you’re overcome by fear like this, it can start to take over your life and affect your health (you can manifest physical symptoms all from feeling the emotion of fear).
- Related: Failure And Rejection (podcast)
9 Ways To Get Over Fear
Because I think fear can get in the way of you living the most extraordinary life, I came up with 9 ways for you to get over your fear…
Tip 1: Identify your fears
To start, you need to identify exactly what you’re afraid of.
You can have fears and anxieties that you’re not even sure what they are. If you vaguely have a sense of fear that you don’t know how to articulate, get really specific with what it’s about.
I was coaching a Grow You member recently on the fear of not having enough time. She was feeling afraid and scared given her current priorities with work and being a mom. But she didn’t know what the fear was really about. The way she moved out of the fear was to identify what she was actually most afraid of (which happened to be missing out on a milestone moment from her daughter’s life). Once we got the specifics and the root cause of it (which happened to be a story she was telling herself about her own parents who missed out on a lot), we dismantled the fear and she moved through it.
So, this starts short term by getting clear about what you’re most afraid of. Go to “worst case scenario” and how you would handle a situation like that, knowing you’re 1000% capable and always solve your biggest challenges.
- How To Be Mindful Of Your Emotions (blog post)
- Processing Negative Emotions (podcast)
- 7 Tools To Manage Anxiety (free course)
Tip 2: Process the emotion of fear
Another important way to overcome your fear is to process the actual emotion of fear.
This means you don’t distract yourself from it. You don’t ignore it. You don’t avoid the thing you’re thinking about doing (i.e.: public speaking).
Instead, you say, “Hi fear. I see you there. I’ll allow you here but you’re not going to stop me from standing in front of 1,000 people and sharing what I have to teach. I got this—fear and all.”
Allowing (processing) fear means you’re totally okay with feeling the emotion in your body (you don’t push it away). This stops the fear from getting worse and turning into anxiety (or worse—a panic attack).
Tip 3: Don’t let fear stop you
The secret to overcoming fear is not that you’re going to be fear-less—it’s that you feel the fear and do it anyway.
You want fear in your life. If you hear a noise outside your home at 3am, you want to feel scared. You want to know to be afraid. You want to understand that there could be someone outside, so you call the police.
Fear is good when we really need it. It’s a survival emotion.
The big program is that 99% of the time we don’t need to be in survival mode. We’re in our suburban homes, with our families, and we’re afraid of our goals, our transitions, our futures… the unknown.
That’s what fear is about—it’s the emotion that comes up when your brain thinks “you may not survive this.” It could be a speech, it could be quitting your job, or it could be any other type of fear (like the fear of flying).
The way you truly overcome your fear is not by resisting it, ignoring it, or avoiding it. It’s by allowing it and not letting it stop you from taking the action you want to take.
- Related: Feeling Empowered (podcast)
Tip 4: Talk about your fears
Depending on the severity of your fears or if you have an anxiety disorder, you may want to seek out a support group, professional help, or other health professionals.
Often, our fears feel the hardest to come when they only exist between our two ears. Talking with someone about the fears that are in your mind can be the difference between overcoming them or not.
Whether you join a specific support group for your particular fear (like a support group for people who are afraid of flying) or you join a general program that helps you overcome fears (like what we do inside Grow You, my personal development membership), you’re going to give yourself an extra boost by talking about what you fear.
A word of caution: be sure that the group you join is facilitated by some sort of professional leader so that you’re not just telling your fears to someone who (although well intended) will make it worse (i.e.: what happens a lot when we tell friends and family and they simply validate our fears).
- How To Overcome Perfectionism (blog post)
- When To Say Yes And When To Say No (podcast)
- Inspirational Weekly Email (free weekly email)
Tip 5: Consciously choose courage
While fear is a default, survival emotion that you’ll always have there is a way for you to choose other emotions (and you already do this every day).
You can choose another emotion to feel by thinking thoughts that create that emotion. Here, I suggest choosing courage. Courage can help you take action and do the thing you want to do.
For example, if you’re afraid of flying yet you want to fly, you may think the thought, “I’m afraid of flying but I’m going to be brave and fly anyway.” This thought will create courage for you.
Tip 6: Don’t expect courage to feel good
Even though courage is really useful, if you’re anything like me, it doesn’t feel good.
Courage feels bold and brave and all sorts of things that typically don’t feel light, peaceful, and happy.
And yet, it’s so very useful.
The next time you feel courage, notice how it feels in your body. Pay attention to what it feels like. Describe it in detail (is it hot, cold, open, closed, tight, high/low vibration, etc.). This will help you channel it more frequently (because you’ll know what you’re looking for).
- Related: How To Relax (podcast)
Tip 7: Celebrate and reward yourself when you use courage
Whenever you face your fears, CELEBRATE.
So often we don’t celebrate ourselves or our accomplishments. We do a big thing like use courage and overcome our fear, and then we go about our daily life without making a big deal about it.
I want you to stop that nonsense and have some fun with your progress. Celebrate the small little wins. Make a big deal. Feel proud of yourself! You are doing hard things my friend, and you deserve to be celebrated!
- How To Develop A Positive Mindset (blog post)
- Too Busy To Feel (podcast)
- 75 Journal Prompts For Self Discovery (freebie)
Tip 8: Talk to yourself more than you listen to yourself
One of the best long term mental health hacks that I have for you is to “talk to yourself more than you listen to yourself.”
I didn’t think of this brilliant line (I think it was a doctor who originally said it but I’m not positive), but I can explain it.
Your brain is constantly offering you thoughts, some of which are supportive and others of which are not. When your survival brain talks to you, you don’t have to believe it. You can talk back.
When your brain says, “I am SO scared to give that presentation” you can talk back to it and say, “yes, I know you’re scared and that’s okay. I got you. It’s okay to be scared. We’re in this together. Let’s do it.”
- How To Stop Comparing Yourself With Others (blog post)
- Masculine Energy Vs. Feminine Energy (podcast)
- Week Of Confidence (free training)
Tip 9: Understand your brain
Finally, a crucial step to overcoming your fears is understanding your brain. I’ve alluded to this throughout the post but it’s worth noting here as its own point.
Fear comes from your brain. That’s it. It never comes from outside of you (assuming you’re healthy and have a fully functioning brain, of course).
Your brain is wired to ensure your survival, and part of that is making sure you experience fear when your brain perceives your life to be in danger (again, useful when under attack and not useful when we’re at home fearing about confronting someone).
Knowing this gives you so much power. There’s nothing wrong with you. You just have a brain that wants to make sure you survive. That’s all.
- How To Improve Brain Health (blog post)
- Cleaning Out Your Brain (podcast)
- Grow You (virtual life coaching program)
A Final Note!
These nine tips are the start to helping you overcome your fears.
My approach (the approach above) uses thought work based on reprogramming your thinking to change your mindset. Ultimately, not only will you overcome your fears, but you’ll feel more confident—like you can take on the world.