Fear is normal. Everyone deals with fear. But even though to be human is to know fear, it does not mean that we should let it overrun our lives. When it comes to leadership and success, fear is nothing more than something unknown to us. The only way to break through that proverbial wall is to stop thinking about what you fear and instead take action—now.
Here are three types of fear you may be familiar with:
Fear of the Unknown
The more we think about something unfamiliar to us, the more daunting it gets. Have you ever laid in bed with your thoughts on loop thinking about worst-case scenarios, those pesky “what ifs” that only get worse the more you think of them? Most of us can say we have been there, done that. Now think about a time when you were so nervous about doing something, whether it was making a sales call, giving that big presentation, or starting something new, and once it was over, you realized it wasn’t as scary as you had anticipated it to be. Chances are, we can all say that we have been there and done that as well. Next time you find yourself anticipating something in your life and your emotional reaction is fear, remind yourself of those times. If you have done it once, you can do it again. Remember—don’t let your thoughts create a monster out of reality.
Fear of Failure
It is important to be mindful of our thoughts. Once we open the door to the “what ifs” the next door to open is thinking about the different ways we may fail. The mind is a powerful thing—what you think about can powerfully affect you. The more you think about failing, the more you are setting yourself up to do just that. Instead, slam that door shut and think about all the ways things could go right. Flip the script and give yourself the chance to excel.
It is also important to stop associating failure with a negative experience. One of the most powerful teachers is failure. Although it is important to not dwell on the possibility of failure, it is also important to acknowledge that we will all fail several times in our lives. Find solace in knowing that even if you do fail, you will be better because of it. It will teach you a lesson that you will also be able to teach.
Fear of being an Imposter
Here is a secret. You know those people you look up to? Maybe it’s your mentor or someone you aspire to be in your industry. Even they may experience moments of something called imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is when you doubt your abilities and feel like a fraud. The more success you get under your belt, the easier it is to doubt if you’re actually qualified. This could happen if you are running your own business or if you are employed by someone else. It is also not only contained in our professional lives—it can creep up in our relationships and parenting. We likely find ourselves here if we’ve been lazy with our thought life. When we allow our thoughts to run wild and worry about the unknowns and potential failures, it is logical that the next place our thoughts go to is doubting our qualifications. If you find yourself experiencing this, it’s okay. Just remember, you are qualified—otherwise, you wouldn’t be where you are today. Take a deep breath and take those thoughts captive. The best thing you can do is get busy and cure that fear.
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” –Dale Carnegie