Have you ever taken a moment to reflect on just how much "fear" affects your decisions? Think about the last few times you were nervous, anxious, or confronted with a big decision. Did any of the following play a role when you think deep down?
- The fear of rejection, or what other people will think.
- The fear of failing, or - sometimes even harder - the fear of not 'dropping the ball' when you're succeeding.
- The fear of not making enough, having enough, or being enough.
The most incredible part about fear is it's not actually real. It's something we build up in our heads, based on pure assumption, and even though those assumptions can often be completely off, they can hold us back from some of the most interesting, fulfilling things in life.
Below are 5 ways to reframe your thinking so you can start taking fear out of the equation.
1. Before you even ask yourself, 'what's the worst that could happen' ask yourself, 'what's the best that could happen?'
Don't just weigh your decision based on how tolerable the worst case scenario is. Factor in just how much you have to gain. How could your entire life, from your career and relationships and down to how you feel every day, be different if you just told your fear to f*** off?
2. Then remind yourself, 'what's the 'worst that can happen?'
Then stop dwelling on it. Realistically even if you fail, you're going to end up much better off than your worst case scenario, so chop it in half to make it feel less daunting. And don't forget, even if things don't turn out as planned, it's never permanent. You can almost always go back to where you were. You almost always have other options. It's never all or nothing
3. Ask yourself, is your fear based on your values, or someone else's?
Are you afraid of disappointing someone else, or that you won't meet certain expectations society has defined for you? Don't try to keep up with the Joneses - they're the most miserable people in America. Take the time to define what you want, value and believe, and let that guide your decisions, rather than the fear of not living up to someone else's idea of what you should be doing.
4. Reframe fear and failure as good things
If you're afraid of something, you probably have a pretty clear sign that it's something that's going to help you grow. If you're failing, you're on the path to much bigger and better successes. The more you expose yourself to your fears and opportunities to fail, the smaller and easier they become. Do it often and not only will you find you exponentially increase your rate of growth, but you just might start to find it a little fun.
5. Remember the 50/50 principle
Finally, you might be asking yourself, isn't fear there for a reason and aren't you sometimes right? For argument's sake let's just say that 50% of the time, yes, your fear is right - you totally shouldn't have taken that leap, texted that person, or quit that job. But then 50% of the time you're wrong - by going for it you got the career, significant other, or opportunity of a lifetime. If it's 50/50 either way, would you rather go around feeling small, anxious and scared by the world all day, or calm, confident, and like the world is your goddamn oyster? It's all a matter of mindset at the end of the day. Choose the one you want.
This week challenge yourself to go just one week without fear. Make believe you were blessed at birth as one of those freaks without the gene to feel it and just notice even the smallest things that might be surfacing from an underlying fear. Discover what you would do differently.
Special thanks to our friend and National Fitness Day ambassador Shanna Tyler for hosting an amazing conversation around the topic of fear to inspire this piece. Check out some of her own uber-motivational thoughts and musings on her blog here!