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Volume 6 Number 3   |   March 2016

What are you afraid of?

Too often our personal "driving force" isn't composed of our strengths and passions but rather of our fears. We are afraid to confront an issue; to start a conversation; to pick up the phone; to try something new. We are "driven" in another direction entirely, to procrastinate, make excuses, abandon a plan, endure a poor relationship.

As the same poles in a magnet repel, we are "repelled" in a different direction, antipodal to our intended goals. "Fight (our fears) or flight" results in flight. This makes us not only unsuccessful, but also uninteresting.

As with any problem, to remove it we must find the cause. And in this case the cause us almost always an ego problem, poor self-esteem, "baggage" being borne for no rational reason at all. We fear rejection, we fear a "loss," we fear ridicule, we fear "defeat," we fear fear itself. Our fears are, of course, irrational, because they create a far worse future than any pain in confronting the obstacles would actually produce.

Removing fear

We are counseled to "get back on the horse," because that's what eliminates future fears after you fell off a few minutes ago. We take the same approaches to fears of flying, public speaking, trying new foods, or writing.

  1. Take small steps. Call two prospects or referral sources a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Write a paragraph, not an article. Talk to a group of five people, not a room of 50. This isn't a case for total immersion: take things gradually, but immediately and consistently.
  2. Examine the cause of the cause. Why do you have these fears? Is it something you were told 30 years ago that wasn't even true then? Is it because of a single poor experience in the past? Is it because you've seen others failed who weren't skilled or properly prepared? Understand how ridiculous these are in terms of creating your future.
  3. Truly evaluate the consequences. No one is shooting at you. You won't die. You may not get business, someone even may hang up on you, but so what?! In the worst case you're far better off than having a disease or being in an accident. Create some proportionality.
  4. Obtain a good coach. Find someone who can give you the skills and modify the behaviors required. Don't commiserate with others who share your fears. Find support from someone who doesn't have them.

Removing fear

You'll lead a more rewarding, fulfilling, and happy life. You'll take on even more prudent risk in the future. You won't fear failure. And that's crucial.

Because if you aren't failing, then you just aren't trying.

© Alan Weiss 2016

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