Fear is like a powerful lion; it preys on us and attacks us with such ferocity that we never want to step forward into new territory. It prevents us from realising our dreams and cripples our potential. As Charles Stanley aptly puts it “Fear stifles out thinking and actions
It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather then risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.”
How can we transform this looming predator into our prey? Here are some tips that I believe we all can apply to make this transformation a reality:
Understand Your Limitations
The good thing about fear is that it allows us to see what we may not be strong at. However, we shouldn’t become consumed by our limitations since they do not negate the fact they our strengths give us the authority to step into new territory. For instance, I know that I am not good at marketing. I couldn’t sell a pen to save my life. Nevertheless, in order for me to become an entrepreneur I need to have confidence in myself and what I am offering so that I can approach people and obtain clients. I have to get beyond the voices in my head telling me that people will think I’m stupid or that the product makes no sense and just go out and do what I need to do.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about your fear. They can help you to overcome it by providing you with good advice or just being there when you need to make the next step. In the scenario I mentioned earlier, for example, my friends have shown me the immense business opportunity I have in my own community. They have opened my eyes to what the business prospects could be and although they can’t be with me to help me market the product, they have given me the confidence to move forward.
Believe in Yourself
Theodore Roosevelt once said “Believe in yourself and you are halfway there.” When you begin to have confidence in your abilities and ideas, fear no longer has control over you. This can be the beginning of many life changing experiences. However, you must be careful of being overconfident. We should embrace our strengths and believe in them but we should also understand our limitations. Understanding your limitations will prevent you from either becoming overwhelmed or disappointed later on. For instance, you may think that you are the best singer in the world and, against the advice of your friends and family, you decide to enter American Idol only to be brutally rejected by the judges. Clearly, your ability isn’t singing but maybe it is building beats or writing lyrics. That overconfidence could therefore be misplaced confidence which is why it is important for you to truly understand what your abilities really are and believe in them. It is also important for AT LEAST ONE other person to believe in your abilities as well. If everyone around you and even strangers you meet tell you point blank that what you’re trying to do isn’t for you then they are more than likely right.
When we are about to enter new seasons in our lives, change is inevitable. Don’t let the fear of change hold you back from amazing opportunities. In order to advance, change must happen. I have a friend who got an amazing opportunity to study in Europe for three years. He took the opportunity and has gained so much exposure and experience that he is able to get a job almost anywhere in the world. I can assure you that if I had been offered the same opportunity I would have rejected it because I would fear going into a new environment and leaving those I know behind. When the opportunities arise, don’t reject them because you fear change.
Understand That There May Be Rejection
There is always a 50/50 chance that you may not get the response you were hoping for. A classic example of this is the nice guy who is afraid to approach the girl he likes. Of course he is afraid that she will say she doesn’t feel the same and only views him as a friend, but she may also actually feel the same way he does. The fact of the matter is that he will never know unless he asks.
Another example is people who go on a job search. You may see a job that you really like and you have 90% of the qualifications for but you don’t apply because you believe the HR manager will just tear up your application since you only have 90% of the qualifications. How are you so certain that that’s what is going to happen? She may just look at your resume and be so impressed that she calls you for an interview. Take the 50/50 chance.
Fear is the thorn in our sides. Don’t allow it to pierce your dreams. Follow these tips and you will be amazed by the opportunities that present themselves.