Fear is the single biggest thing that holds us back. Overcoming fear is an essential step in achieving our goals and dreams.
“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s one of most common reasons people procrastinate on taking action toward their goals. We fear failure, or rejection, or being embarrassed, or disappointing or angering other people, or getting hurt.
So we play it safe and avoid taking risks or trying new things. That’s why today, I’m going to provide you tips and strategies for overcoming fear and overcoming negative thoughts with ease.
Where Fear Comes From
The answer is that it comes from US – from our own minds and imagination. It’s important to remember that, as humans, we’ve evolved to the stage where almost all of our fears are now self-created.
We scare ourselves by imagining negative outcomes to any activities we pursue or experience. But just because we imagine these things happening, that doesn’t mean they WILL happen, or that they will be as painful as we think.
That’s why psychologists like to say that fear stands for “Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real.”
Because fear is all about what MIGHT happen – not what WILL happen.
The good news is, since we are the root source of our fears, that means we have the power to overcome fear.
Instead of allowing ourselves to imagine a worst-case scenario and be a victim of our fears, we can take control of our own minds and consciously decide to think positive thoughts and visualize a best-case scenario instead.
Here’s a simple exercise for overcoming fear – and show you how unfounded they really are.
Make a List of the Things You Are Afraid to Do
These are not things you are afraid of, such as spiders, but instead, the things you are afraid to do, such as skydiving.
Your list might include things such as: leaving my job, going back to school, talking to my spouse about our relationship, asking for a raise, and so on.
Once you have completed your list, restate each fear in the following format:
I want to ____, and I scare myself by imagining ____.
I want to start my own business, and I scare myself by imagining that I would go bankrupt and lose my house.
I want to talk to my husband about our relationship, and I scare myself by imagining that if he knew how I really felt and what I really wanted, he would leave me.
By completing this statement for all of the things we are afraid to do, you can see how you are the one creating your fears by imagining negative outcomes in the future.
Take More Control Over Fears
I want you to take the last part of that statement – the fearful outcome you imagined – and transform it into something positive.
“Instead of scaring myself by imagining that I will go bankrupt and lose my house, I will work hard to do whatever it takes to make my business a success.”
“Instead of scaring myself by imagining that my husband will leave me, I will work with him to cultivate greater love and intimacy in our relationship.”
Do you see how each of these statements flips the fear on its head and transforms it into a powerful positive vision?
I encourage you to try this for yourself – and transform all of your fears into empowering visions of success!
7 Strategies for Overcoming Fear
After you complete this exercise, you will still experience fear from time to time. It’s part of being human. But to help you in the process of overcoming fear faster, I have seven strategies to share with you today:
1. Become More Aware of Your Thoughts
Thoughts produce emotions – so if you want to change how you feel, change your thoughts. Whenever you feel fear, retrace your mental steps and observe what you were thinking.
What thoughts led to your feelings of fear? Once you identify them, it will be easier to resolve them.
2. Choose More Positive Thoughts
You can’t rid yourself of negative thoughts simply by not thinking them. The Law of Replacement dictates that you can’t replace something with nothing – you have to replace it with something else.
So when you notice yourself experiencing a negative, fear-producing thought, replace it with a positive thought instead – like the exercise I just showed you.
For example, if you want to become a best-selling author, be on the lookout for thoughts like, “What if publishers reject my manuscript?”
Instead, visualize what will happen when a publisher DOES accept your manuscript and agrees to bring your book to market.