Today I’d like to share an article that I have printed and
read through often in order to help encourage you to overcome your
fears. It is an Article that Leo Babauta posted in Zen Habits
and I love how it offers strategies, solutions and encouragement to
help you through your fears….
Fear of something bad happening in the future is one of the
things that make us human.
Animals might fear an immediate danger, that is happening
right now, but only we fear something that might happen,
that isn’t happening now, that isn’t even showing its ugly face at
This fear, some might say, is necessary … it stops us from
doing something stupid. But I’ve found most of these fears to be
unnecessary, to be baseless, to be holding us back from achieving
You might be letting all types of fears hold you back,
- being broke
- not being good enough
I think the last one — not being good enough — is actually at
the root of all the others. We fear we’ll fail because we’re not
good enough. We fear we’ll lose our relationships, that we’ll be
abandoned, that we’ll be rejected … because we’re not good enough.
We fear intimacy for the very same reason — we might get rejected
because we’re not good enough. Even the fear of success is based on
the worry that we’re not good enough.
Do you have this fear? That you’re not good enough? I have,
for most of my life, and I still have it today.
But here’s the thing: having the fear is natural.
Letting it stop you from going after your dreams is a
I did this, for well over a decade of my adult life. I let the
fear of not being good enough stop me from even trying, from even
daring to dream.
It turned out that my fears were baseless. I am good enough.
I’m not perfect, but who is?
When I was able to overcome this fear of not being good
enough, this fear of failure and rejection, and put myself out
there in the world, I succeeded. I found out that I was good
And I still have this same fear — I still worry that I’m not
good enough, that I’ll fail and flop on my face in front of 100,000
people … but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. Even the most
successful people — Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Paul McCartney, J.K.
Rowling, et al — they have this fear, even if they don’t show it.
But they don’t let it hold them back.
How can you do this? Let’s look into it.
“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of
failure.” – Sven Goran Eriksson
How to Beat Your Fears
There is no step-by-step program to beating your fears, but
here’s what I’ve learned, first-hand and from others.
- First, acknowledge your fear. This is a huge first step.
If you do just this today, you’ve done something great. Many of us
have these fears, but they are at the back of our mind, unnoticed,
unacknowledged, as we try to ignore them and pretend they’re not
there. But they are there. And they affect us, every day, all our
lives. So acknowledge the fear.
- Write it down. What’s your fear? Write it on a piece of
paper. Writing it down not only acknowledges that you have it —
bringing it out into the light — but it externalizes the fear. It
takes the fear from the dark lurking places in the back of your
mind, where it has power over you, out into the light of day,
outside of you, where you have power over the fear. Take control
over it by writing it down. It is now outside you. You can do
something about it. I personally like to crumple it up and stomp on
it, but you can do whatever you like. Post it on your fridge as a
reminder of your enemy.
- Feel the fear. You’ve acknowledged it, but you’re
still afraid of it. You’re reluctant to even have this fear,
perhaps even embarrassed about it. Well, no more. Recognize that
you’re not alone, that we ALL have these fears, that we all think
we might not be good enough. Yes, even the amazing Barack, the
amazing Jessica Alba, the amazing Al Pacino. They have the same
fears as you do. I sure do. Repeat after me: there’s nothing
wrong with having this fear. Now allow yourself to feel it.
Experience it fully. Bask in this fear. It isn’t as bad as you
think. It’s a part of you, but it doesn’t control you. “Feel the
fear & do it anyway.”
- Ask yourself: what’s the worst thing that can
happen? Often it’s not as bad as we think. Do you fear
failing in a new career? What would happen if you did? You’d get
another job. You’d move on. You’d live. Do you fear being rejected
by someone of the opposite sex? What would happen if you were?
You’d lick your wounds, you’d find someone else who is more suited
for you, you’d live. Do you fear being broke? What would happen if
you were? You’d cut back on your expenses, perhaps ask family or
friends to help you out for a little bit. You’d find a way to make
money. You’d live.
- Just do it. To repeat: feel the fear and do it
anyway. To beat the fear, you have to just do it. What works for me
is not thinking, just acting. Like when you want to jump off a
waterfalls into the pool below: don’t think about it. Just jump!
It’s an exhilarating feeling. I fear public speaking, but when I
get up and just do it, I feel great.
- Prepare yourself for battle. When you’re going to
take on an adversary, you prepare yourself. You arm yourself, and
have a battle plan, and train yourself. Do this in your battle
against your fear: arm yourself, have a battle plan, train
yourself. If you want to be a musician but you fear failure …
practice, practice, practice, then come up with a plan to succeed,
then get all the skills and info you need to implement the plan,
then practice some more. Then go out and implement the plan!
- Be in the moment. Fear of failure (and other
similar fears) are fears of the future. We get caught up in
worrying about what might happen. Instead, banish all
thoughts of the future. Banish even thoughts of past mistakes and
failures. Now focus on right now. Do something right now to beat
your fears, to pursue your dreams, and forget about
what might happen. Just do it, now, in the moment. When
you find yourself thinking about the past or future, bring yourself
back in the moment and focus on what you’re doing right at this
- Small steps. Conquering fear and pursuing a life
goal can be overwhelming, intimidating. So start small. Just take
one little baby step. Something you know you can do.
Something you’re sure to succeed at. Then feel good about that (see
below) and take another small baby step. Keep doing this, and soon
you’ll have conquered a mountain.
- Celebrate every success! Every single thing you do
right, celebrate! Even the smallest little thing. And use this
feeling of success, of victory, to propel yourself forward and take
the next step. Bill Gates describes a “spiral of success” that he
used to build Microsoft up from its early success of MS-DOS, to its
success with Windows and Word and Excel and Internet Explorer. Use
this idea of a spiral of success in your life — build upon each
success, use it as a stepping stone to the next victory.
“To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” – Bertrand
I hope you can find a way to spend some time and
truly identify, label and attack your fears head on. Find
support from those around you. Find the motivation you need
to chase your dreams even though you might fail. I
encourage you to do that and I applaud your willingness to