Friday, February 1, 2013

Overcoming Fear

Do not let your fears choose your destiny. ~ Unknown

Fear is a fact of life for most of us...whether we fear things like snakes, spiders, sharks, heights, airplanes, clowns....... or things more abstract like failure, change, social environments,  public speaking or certain situations,  fear can be overcome to enhance our lives and make us more successful at work, at home and at play.

This article focuses on the fear that causes inaction, sets up failure and limits our belief in our self and what we believe we can accomplish in life.

What is fear, and what causes it?

Fear is defined as "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc..whether the threat is real or imagined." Synonyms include apprehension, dismay, dread, terror, fright and panic. (source  Basically, fear is a phobia.

Read the definition again...the part that sticks out to me is "real or imagined"  especially "imagined"....why is that?  Because many of our fears are just that...imagined! 

That being said, the reality is that the fear emotion (regardless if the cause is real or imagined) in our day to day lives is very real to those experiencing it, and as a result, our bodies react to it ...fear can trigger panic, anxiety, a desire to run away from it to avoid it.  Physically, fear can trigger a higher heart rate, sweating, and high adrenaline levels (Source:

So how does one determine whether the fear they are experiencing is real or imagined? How does one's reaction to the impending threat affect their decision making abilities and more importantly, how does someone turn this extremely strong emotion into an asset versus a liability?

To use fear as the friend it is, we must retrain and reprogram ourselves. We must persistently and convincingly tell ourselves that the fear is here–with its gift of energy and heightened awareness –so we can do our best and learn the most in the new situation.

Peter Williams

Fear limits our possibilities and opportunities in life because we want to stay in a "safe place"-- stay within our known surroundings where we are most comfortable and where no harm can come to us.

As a result, we may not take the risks associated with improving our lives, whether the fear relates to our recreation,our relationships or our careers.  Commiting to taking risks to do things that we are not comfortable doing shows courage,builds confidence,  makes us more productive, and expands our abilities and horizons in life.

"If you never ask, the answer is always "No"

Tackling fear and venturing into the unknown puts us in a heightened state of awareness and creates excitement.   When we do something that we initially had feared, there is substantial satisfaction because although initially we feared it, we decided the fear was not going to limit us, and we did whatever it was we were afraid of.......and survived it!   Not to say mistakes weren't made along the way, but the mistakes we make along the way teach us --they are definitely worth the experience!

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~Dale Carnegie

In order to grow we have to try new things--doing what we fear is exhilarating, builds courage, heightens our awareness and exposes us to new people, situations and experiences that otherwise we would never experience.

Don't limit what your can be by bowing to your fears.  Conquering our fears in life allows us to grow beyond what we ever imagined! 


The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~ E Hubbard