Summary: In this article, you’ll learn how to overcome fear and ultimately why befriending your fear is necessary if you want to create real and lasting wealth.
Introduction: How to overcome fear
If you want to create real wealth in your life, it’s not only about the numbers in your bank account. Living life on your own terms and doing work you love, traveling when and where you want, and fulfilling the vision you have of your life requires overcoming fear. Fear is a powerful emotion that can derail you from attaining real wealth and the life you deserve.
Here’s the deal though. Everyone feels fear. What separates successful people from the rest is that they don’t let fear hold them back. They move through it to the other side regardless of how uncomfortable or painful it is.
After working with more than 50,000 people over 20 years at RealWealth, something I’ve seen time and time again is that some people get clear on what real wealth means to them and take action while others have the vision, but are paralyzed by fear. There’s a fear of failure or fear of losing money or fear of embarrassment. If you feel stuck because of fear there are steps for how to overcome fear so you can have real wealth and your dream life.
Looking at Fear in a New Way
Fear is an emotion that triggers a sense of impending danger. Our nervous systems go wild and we start to tighten up. Our breath becomes shallow. Fear is felt throughout the body and is a very real emotion.
However, most of the time our fear is based on imagined threats, not real threats. From an evolutionary standpoint, fear was used as a way to protect us against predators in the wild. We’re no longer running from lions or bears but our fear is still getting triggered by other circumstances.
So when you’re starting to feel fear, you can ask yourself is this based on real or imagined danger? Is this life-threatening? In many cases, your imagination has created something to be fearful of despite not having any evidence.
You’ve probably been in a situation where fear crept up and you desperately tried to ignore it. You know that now is not the time to be scared so you try to push it down and act like it’s not there. But then it starts to grow and grow until the fear is all-consuming.
As the saying goes, “What you resist persists.” To overcome fear, acknowledge that emotion. Acknowledging it is there can help diffuse the situation and lessen the gravity of its pull. Aside from acknowledging fear is there, you want to become friends with your fear (yes, really but we’ll talk more about that later).
Remember, fear is like any other emotion that comes and goes. You want to be mindful of the emotion and observe it without any judgment. Being able to sit in discomfort with your fear and move through it will help you get to the other side and be happy and successful.
Review the evidence
As noted earlier, fear was a protective mechanism that helped us survive. Now many of our threats are perceived or imagined threats, not actual ones. When you are feeling fear, review the evidence.
Is there evidence that supports your fear? Is your fear based on facts or things that you worry might happen? This step is crucial to dismantling fear and helping you realize it’s simply your imagination at work.
Use your imagination to your advantage
When you are full of fear you start to imagine every horrible possible situation. Your mind can start spinning and you worry about the worst thing that could happen.
What if you could use your imagination to your advantage instead? Try to pause and think of the best outcome that could happen. Use your imagination to think of everything going right. Imagine yourself without any fear and succeeding and being happy. Our thoughts influence how we feel, so this exercise can help you shift your mindset.
Breathe through it
Fear triggers our fight or flight response and sends our nervous system into overdrive. When you feel that way, breathe through it. Take a deep breath and focus on a long exhale. Exhaling activates your parasympathetic nervous system which helps your nervous system relax.
Try overcoming fear activities
Fear is something we often feel when we are out of our comfort zone. It’s scary to be a beginner and put yourself out there. There is the fear of failure or embarrassment. But when you try new things, even when you’re fearful, you start to get used to it — and eventually, it’s not as scary.
Think of something that you used to do that filled you with dread but now is easy for you. There are certainly things in your life that you’ve overcome and now you don’t give them a second thought. Think of how you felt when you started a new job or began a new hobby.
By continuing to do new things and cultivate a ‘beginner’s mindset’ you can combat fear. Here are some overcoming fear activities:
- Public speaking
- Rock climbing
- Learning a new language
Getting out of your comfort zone regularly can help you befriend fear and grow in ways you didn’t believe possible.
How to overcome fear with the
4-step F-E-A-R formula
If you want to be happy and successful, you need to learn to manage your fear. Fear won’t magically go away, but if you can manage it well and work with it, you can reach the life you want.
In my book Extreme Success, I mention the 4-step process or how to overcome fear:
- F – Focus your attention on your intention
- E – Explore your fear
- A – Assess your options and your assets
- R – Respond with “Yes” or “No.”
It’s all about focusing on intention and exploring your fear. You can assess your options and strengths and commit to things 100 percent with a “yes” or “no”. Using this formula you can take the steps to overcome fear and reach your greatest potential.
And Most Importantly, Make Fear Your Friend
Fear can come in many different forms such as procrastination, resistance, avoidance, or even self-sabotage. Fear hijacks your intelligence and takes over. In order to reach extreme success and attain real wealth you need to make friends with your fear. You need to make fear your co-pilot instead of you being held hostage.
First you want to put your focus on your ultimate goal. What is your ultimate vision of your life? What does it look like? You want to put your attention there, which can redirect your fear to look at what you have to gain rather than what you have to lose. Focus your attention on your intention.
When fear hits, recognize it and remind yourself you’ve felt this before and have gotten through it. You can use that adrenaline rush to your advantage and move into action.
To befriend your fear, take several deep breaths and close your eyes. Imagine you’re having a conversation with fear. You want to tell your fear you won’t ignore it or push it away, you want to work together. Then ask your fear to represent itself somewhere in your body. You might feel it in your chest or stomach. Thank your fear for communicating with you.
After that remind the fear that you want to work together but you want to know what is required for you to reach your goals and why fear is getting in the way.
Your fear might say something like ,” Because you’ll lose everything!” or “You’ll fail and lose all credibility.”
Then think about those things happening, what next? Then you want to review the options you have with your fear, taking into account fear’s concerns. Identifying the real reason fear is there can help you make informed decisions and ensure your success, if you decide to befriend fear and work together by taking action.
Your fear is designed to protect you but oftentimes it goes overboard. Fear’s concerns are valid and you should take them into account. But those concerns should be addressed as part of your plan moving forward and not hold you back. That way you can overcome fear and work with it to go after your goals and achieve real wealth.