Fear has Two Meanings
“F.E.A.R. has two meanings -
Forget Everything and Run OR Face Everything and RISE.
The choice is yours!”
We all have fears! It’s natural. It’s how we interact with fear that dictates our growth, experiences, and success. The inherent danger of fear is not fear itself; rather, it’s fear’s ability to play with our emotions and challenge our perceptions, thereby, limiting us from achieving our true potential.
The good news is we can manage our fears. Remember, the goal is not to avoid feeling fear. The goal is to feel fear and choose to push through anyway. As with all emotions, there are tactics we can employ to manage fear.
Here are three of my favorite tactics - The ABC’s of Managing Fear.
Acknowledge: Don’t try to run away from your fears. It won’t help in the long run. Instead, identify the true source of the fear. We might say we fear competitions when in reality we fear losing, which we equate to failure and inadequacy. Keep digging until you get to the ultimate cause. Then, consider the facts not emotions; ask yourself if this is something to fear. Speaking truth to fears (i.e., if you lose you are not a failure) promotes rational thinking and diminishes the power of the underlying fear. Share those fears and thoughts with someone safe (your RISE mentor!) who will support you as you challenge and overcome your fears.
Breathe: Fear physically manifests itself in a variety of ways - increased heart rate, sweaty palms, butterflies in our stomach, etc. One of the quickest ways to manage these physical responses is through deep breathing. Breathing helps to calm the nervous system, removing you from “fight or flight” mode and into a more rational space so you can perform your best. One of my favorite breathing techniques is 4-7-8 breathing - inhale for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 8. Not only does this technique help calm you down but it also forces you to focus on something other than the emotions, feelings, and perceptions associated with the fear.
Control the Controllables: Fear can leave you feeling powerless and stuck; however, there are always things you can control. Identifying and categorizing specific controllable and uncontrollable factors of a given situation helps focus your efforts. Choose to control the controllables and set yourself up for success, by preparing to the best of your ability. Include visualization and positive self-talk (more on this in a future article) as part of your preparation, along with training hard, eating right, and recovering well. By redirecting the energy you spend worrying to proactively preparing for optimal performance, you’ll find yourself feeling more confident, productive, and in control.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to face your fears! But, I encourage you to persevere through so you can experience the confidence, freedom, and success on the other side of your fears.