Eleanor Roosevelt once said “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Easier said than done many people may think, regardless that it may bring them more money, joy, or peace of mind.
The bigger issue with fear is that we tend to give it a bigger platform in our minds than it may deserve. We think about what we need to do SO much that we become paralyzed to act. In essence, we may experience analysis paralysis. Anxiety and worry add to this and the thing we are facing becomes a much bigger mountain to climb.
One solution to overcome this would be to break it down into smaller pieces. By accomplishing one small piece, you can build confidence and if it fails, you can redirect without it causing too much hardship. An example may be that you are looking for a new job but you don’t like going to career transition meetings because you hate public speaking. When you speak to a group, you get very nervous, sweat, and feel the words are all come out jumbled. To counteract that, try speaking to one person in a different setting like a grocery store. Comment on someone’s outfit or the price of deli meat. Keep it short and smile. By doing this, you can learn to speak to strangers in a non-threatening environment. Build on this by talking to smaller groups of people like at a party. Also practice your elevator pitch a lot so that when you do need to stand up to tell people about yourself you are prepared.
Fear may lead to failure but if you don’t take risks in life, you will never grow as a person which is what life is all about. Many great failures ended up as successes. Michael Jordan was actually cut from his high school basketball team but went on to become one of the greatest sports legends. WD40, the lubricant, was named that because the first 39 formulas failed. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, had 12 publishing houses reject her first manuscript of the now multi-billion dollar series.
It is very difficult to get up and brush yourself off after you are told “no” but if you get over the fear of that word and believe in yourself, you will overcome. Yes, it is nice if others encourage and support you but the reality is that it is up to YOU to face the fear, acknowledge you may fail and take the risk which is worth doing. Go for it!