We often let fear hold us back from accomplishing our big goals. I’d like to share with you 4 types of fear and some simple strategies to overcome fear.
Costa Rica is known for its picturesque landscape and for having some of the world’s most beautiful, lush forests. A few years ago when I visited this beautiful country, we decided to explore the forest-covered mountains by going on a zip lining adventure. While it was a fantastic idea, I had one problem in reality- I am afraid of heights!
It was a perfect day to zip line at Turu Ba Ri, a tropical park with amazing views. There were a total of eight cables that measure about 1.8 miles with 11 platforms and 2 hanging bridges.
Our group got some initial safety briefing, put on our zip line harness and headed to the first tower. Let me start by saying that the views were amazing and spectacular! We were about 200 feet above the ground and that’s when my anxiety started kicking in. As the members in my group were taking off, one by one, my heart started pumping faster and faster. I had to step aside and I refused to go. People around me offered a lot of support and confidence. I finally calmed myself down and took the first big leap of faith and took off. I have to say, it was the best experience in my life! We did a total of 8 zip lines that day and the last one was the most sensational! The cable is about 3,280 feet long and 360 feet above the ground. I was zooming at a speed of 55 mph on this cable and enjoyed the most beautiful views!
Had I not faced my fears and tried to overcome them, I would have missed out the experience and Costa Rica’s wonderful landscape from a different view point. I also learnt an important lesson that day- I am capable on working through and overcoming my fears.
In this blog, I would like to share the 4 common types of fears and some strategies on how to overcome fear.
Fear of Failure
This is a big thing for most of us. Failure is very personal. Oftentimes, we attach our self-worth to what we accomplish and achieve. When we do that, we tend to take failure very personally, causing a deep sense of shame. Research shows that people avoid failures so that they don’t feel ashamed. They’d rather not try than fail. This stems from having a fixed mindset. According to Carol Dweck, fixed mindset is this idea that abilities, talents and skills cannot be changed. In this mindset, failure is seen as a sign of not being smart or talented.
How to overcome fear of Failure?
- Embrace growth mindset! Coined by Carol Dweck, growth mindset focuses on our ability to learn any new skill by putting in the work and seeing failure as a stepping stone to learning and success.
- Give yourself permission to fail and learn from them.
- Prepare and favor action over perfection.
- Check out this blog on How to move from Failure to Success.
Fear of Judgement
Humans crave belonging and being a part of the community. We are often worried about doing something different due to other people’s opinions. Some of us don’t feel comfortable with public speaking because we worry what others might think of us. We don’t want to start a new business as we don’t want to be judged by others. The list goes on…Let me tell you something. People who have a tendency to judge, will judge you anyway, no matter what you do.
How to overcome fear of judgement?
- Spend time in finding your purpose and vision for life. Once you are crystal clear on what you want to accomplish and how you want to serve others, it will act as a powerful reminder of why you are doing what you are doing. Clarity of purpose will fill up your space so much that there will be no space for fear of judgement!
- Don’t worry about other people’s judgements. They are going to judge you anyway!
- Avoid negative self-talk and be mindful of your own judgement towards yourself and others. Remember, change starts with you!
Fear of Change
We are creatures of habit and often, we find it very difficult to change. For example if you always go to a specific store for groceries, try going to a different store and notice how you feel about just the thought of trying a different store. You might be worried that it might take you longer to shop as you haven’t been in that store before, you might be worried if you will
find everything you need, and you might be worried about the quality of products. We are very comfortable with status quo and anything that disrupts that status quo, can make it challenging for us to accept.
How to overcome fear of change?
- Be open to being comfortable with the uncomfortable.
- Acknowledge that change can be positive and will push us to challenge ourselves and in the long run, will lead to growth.
- Focus on what you can gain vs. what you might lose.
- Be in the present and avoid overthinking about the future.
Fear of the unknown
Fear of the unknown can be very nerve-raking. Our thoughts and actions are usually driven by our previous experiences. Having experience in a scenario or situation gives our brain some ammunition to predict our future outcomes based on our previous experience. When treading uncharted waters, it’s not possible to predict what the outcome will be and that puts us in a very uncomfortable mode. We fear the unknown because we are worried about the bad that might happen or what we might lose in that situation rather than focusing on what we might gain.
Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from experiencing a life greater than you have ever known
– Jeff McClung
How to overcome fear of change?
- Focus on the positive and think about what good might come out of a situation.
- Have a promotion mindset rather than a prevention mindset. According to Ryan Gottfredson, the author of Success Mindsets, promotion mindset helps us seek ways to make gains and wins rather than being stuck in a prevention mindset with a focus on avoiding problems.
- Practice gratitude and be grateful for everything you have in the present moment.
- Think about how the change can support in serving others.
Don’t let any of these fears hold you back! Actively work on conquering your fears one step at a time and transform yourself! What strategies have worked for you in the past? Would love to hear from you?