Six Steps to Facing Your Fears
Because the only way to create a life of growth and significance is by taking risks.
To try is to risk failure. To love is to risk loss. To dream is to risk disappointment. To run is to risk falling. To grow is to risk pain. To live is to risk dying. And to risk nothing is to risk everything. Only by facing our fears and learning to take risks can we create lives full of growth and significance.
Here are six steps to help us face our fears.
1. Don’t settle for comfort; keep moving. You can’t grow if you remain standing in the exact same place where you stood yesterday. Many of us cling to old ideas, habits and beliefs because they make us feel safe, but they also keep us from growing. Don’t settle for comfort when what you really want is progress. You can’t grasp new opportunities while holding onto all of the trappings of the life you currently have. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” John D. Rockefeller
“Do the thing we fear and death of fear is certain.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
2. Burn your bridge. In 1519, Captain Hernan Cortes landed in Veracruz to begin conquering the New World. Upon their arrival on shore he gave his men the order to burn their boats. Captain Cortes understood that retreat is easy when you have an option. If you want to accomplish something, don’t give yourself a plan B. If you want to take the island, burn your boats. Turn your “shoulds” into “musts.” When you’re 100 % committed, you push past your excuses and either find a way or make a way.
3. Take one step. Instead of moving away from what you fear, train yourself to go towards it. If you don’t know what your next steps should be, study the path of people who have succeeded in accomplishing the goal that you are pursuing. Success leaves clues, but the one thing that every successful person has done is jumped before they were totally ready. “Every successful person has had to jump. You cannot just exist in this life. You have got to try to live. If you are waking up thinking there has got to be more to your life than there is, man believe that it is. But to get to that life, you’re gonna have to jump.” Steve Harvey
4. Take action with an abundance mentality. Don’t get stuck in a scarcity framework in which the more you give, the more you lose. To bring abundance into your life you need to believe that the more you give, the greater you become. The more generous acts you perform the more you invite blessing and limitlessness into your life. Keep asking yourself how you can add value to the lives of those around you and then take action to give.
5. Remember that you have done this before. You have climbed on a bike before you knew how to ride it. You have walked into a new place without knowing anyone. You have accomplished feats that you didn’t know how you would afford or finish. Reflect on these times when you faced a fear and acted courageously despite your fear.
6. Let go of past failures. Don’t dwell on past mistakes. Interrupt the story that you keep telling yourself based on yesterday’s challenges. You are not your past; you are not even your future. You are who you choose to be right now.
“All the world is a narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to fear at all.” Rav Nachman of Breslov