Are you holding yourself back from doing meaningful work because of your fears? Fear, apprehension, and uncertainty can stop you from pursuing the things you really want. Maybe you're afraid to stand out. It's possible you're scared of failure. You may be fearful that if you make a decision, you may make the wrong ones, and you'll end up regretting them.
We all feel this way at some point in our lives. Most of the time, we're just afraid that we're never going to be good enough. Even if we want to push ourselves out of our comfort zone so we can pursue meaningful work, we find ourselves not being able to take another step towards the direction that we want to pursue.
When we're afraid, we tend to distract ourselves or procrastinate. We hide behind the things that bring us comfort like playing games, going shopping, watching movies, indulging in social media, or eating junk food. And then at the end of the day, we would feel terrible for failing to do anything about it.
If you want to know how you can face your fears and finally achieve your goals, here are some techniques that you can try.
We often imagine ourselves facing the worst-case scenario. For example, you're preparing for a public presentation, and you'd have to speak in front of many people. What immediately comes to mind is the thought that you'd make a mistake or that your mind would go blank while you're presenting in front of the crowd.
The time you spend thinking about worst-case scenarios, and the stress it puts you under is unnecessary. It's not going to help you at this point. In fact, it's only going to immobilize you because you're too afraid. You'll be too fearful of doing anything because you're already thinking about everything that could go wrong.
What you can do instead is to expose yourself little by little to the discomfort that you're anticipating. If making the presentation is daunting, start by making an outline. It will help you get your ideas out. Don't think that it's going to be the final version. Simply think of it as a draft, and you can always improve it. Celebrate your small victories; even completing this outline means that you're doing well.
Practice this exposure therapy every day. You can practice the presentation in front of your family or your trusted friends first. You can even do it in front of a mirror or a camera so you can watch yourself and how you'd look while you're talking in front of an audience. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment each time you memorize a new line or find a new way to improve your presentation. What's important is that you don't run away.
Recognize that you're afraid of something. Acknowledge the feeling, and yes, feel it. However, you should also be mindful of how you'd react to this feeling. You mustn't avoid it or try to escape the situation. The only way that you can conquer your fears is to face them.
Whenever you feel afraid, observe how you're reacting. What do you feel? You may feel like you're going to get sick, your stomach churns, or that it feels like you're going to faint. If you start to feel this way, you have to practice mindfulness and tell yourself to be calm. Tell yourself that "this is fear, but I'm going to be alright."
Don't punish yourself for being afraid of something. Instead, be kind and forgiving. Allow yourself to acknowledge what you're afraid of. It's not a sign of weakness but strength. You're in the process of facing your fears and conquering them. Remember that you have the power to keep yourself calm, so use it whenever you're starting to feel the panic.
Being afraid of something comes because we're afraid of failing. We don't like to fail because of thoughts like "what would my family and friends think?" or "everybody's going to see me as a failure." This is actually our ego talking. We're so afraid of how others are going to perceive us. We want to be the embodiment of success. It's where we've banked our confidence.
But if we can let go of our ego, we also let go of the fear of failing. We are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. We compete with our friends, siblings, officemates, and so on. You may not be aware of it, but you're doing it. And what happens next is that we try to outperform those people. When we fail, we think they're secretly laughing at us for even trying. Most of the time, they're too busy thinking about themselves and their own fears.
So, what can you do about this? Acknowledge that the world doesn't revolve around you. If you ever make a mistake during a presentation or you think you've failed at your business venture, don't think that the whole world is laughing at your misfortune. Remember that you're not the center of the universe. You will survive this, whatever it may be.
If you're thinking of pursuing a dream, go for it! Don't let your fears stop you. If you fail, get up and start over. There's no limit as to how many times you should try and fail and try again. For as long as you can feel that your heart is set out to pursue this dream, carry on, and don't let anything stop you.
The most successful managers know about the importance of employee motivation. Be your own manager, and motivate yourself to face your fears. Most often, what hinders you from achieving your goals is stuck there in your head. Everything you're afraid of is all in your mind. All the inner voices and doubts have no power over what you can genuinely do for yourself in this lifetime. So, if you ever feel afraid, remember to tell yourself that you acknowledge the feeling, but you're not going to let it control you.
If you can get rid of the fear, face it, conquer it, you are unstoppable. You have the power to pursue meaningful work and a life that's full of purpose.
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