Have you ever had such a desire to do something that you could literally visualize the amazing end result?
The problem… Everything within you wanted to do that thing, but something kept you from it.
In order to get to that end result, you would have to step outside of your comfort zone, and that means facing the fear keeping you from accomplishing your goals.
Don’t worry, I get it. Fear can be a paralyzing foe.
In fact, I used to live in constant fear of just about everything, but especially of trying new things and going after what I wanted.
It was the whole, “stepping outside my comfort zone” that had me stuck. Chances are, it’s holding you back too.
There are so many things we can be afraid of… The fear of failing, the fear of being embarrassed if something didn’t turn out the way we said we wanted it to (which btw is totally different than the fear of failure), the fear of actually accomplishing the thing we said we wanted to and then not knowing what to do next, and the fear of being in a situation we were originally afraid of.
The list goes on and it all has one thing in common; it holds us back.
I used to live my life this way. I hated it, and yet, I couldn’t get past it.
As a teenager, I used to watch that movie with Hilary Duff, The Cinderella Story. It’s on my list of “classic” go-tos nowadays but I used to watch this movie over and over.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty much your classic Cinderella story with a modern twist. Duff’s character is ruled by a nasty step-mom she never stands up to and somewhere along the way, she decides to take life into her own hands and face the fear in her way of freedom.
I think as a teenager I watched this movie so much because it spoke to me. I didn’t realize it then, but, looking back, I really appreciated the message it sent.
After college, Josh and I got married and as it turns out, he’s the skydiving, rollercoaster loving, jump off a cliff type. The old saying holds true, as we are complete opposites.
Seriously though, as a kid l was afraid to leave my front yard, but somehow I ended up with this guy.
We’ve managed to find a middle ground in our daily activities, but being with him has certainly forced me to learn how to overcome fears.
In fact, it turns out that there’s a bit of a method to it.
It’s a method that works every time to help me in overcoming the fears that keep me from accomplishing my goals in life.
Today I wanted to share my go to quick mental process with you!
How to Overcome the Fear Keeping You from Accomplishing Your Goals
1) Pinpoint the Root of Your Fear
At some point between high school and now, I realized that the majority of the time I was afraid of something, I didn’t even know what it was. Not truly.
I started asking myself, why am I afraid or nervous about this?
Often the reason was because of something that happened in the past or the idea of being embarrassed.
In fact, I found that personally, the fear of embarrassing myself was the leading thing that held me back from wanting to accomplish something.
Next time you want to do something but feel nervous, ask yourself “why?”. Your answer may surprise you. Mine often surprised me.
2) Map Out What the Worst is That Will Happen
The second thing I started doing was asking myself “what is the absolute worst thing that would happen if this doesn’t go well?”
Again, more often than not, I realized the answer was that I would be embarrassed… or that I might fail, which is a form of embarrassment. But in reality, failure is a part of life. It is going to happen. So I changed my mindset to seeing “failure” as lessons that taught me something to put me further ahead.
Whatever the reason, the problem with our answers is that they are most often excuses.
Why should I care if I embarrass myself in front of strangers I will never ever see again?
So what if I do fail? Will I lose everything?
I started mapping out worst case scenario scenes and then taking a step back to put some perspective on how terrible the outcome would actually be.
If I weighed the risk and it really isn’t going to be good, then I rest easy and at peace knowing I’m making a wise decision. Then it’s wisdom that’s keeping me from doing something instead of fear holding me back.
3) Create a Plan to Overcome
Next, I create a plan to overcome in one of two directions: if it was just fear holding me back, I create a plan to work past those things. If it turns out to not be the wisest choice, I create a new plan to move forward towards my goals.
Either way, I set up three big milestones I need to do to achieve the end goal and work backwards from there.
So that it kind of looks like this:
You have your end goal and three milestones that if you accomplished each of those three things you would accomplish your goal.
Then break the three milestones down into three steps so that if you did those three steps, your milestone would be accomplished. You start at step one under the first milestone.
Then I brainstorm potential barriers and how to overcome those things and viola! You’ve got a roadmap to help you with accomplishing your goals and a game plan for beating obstacles.
4) Baby Steps to Accomplishing Your Goals
I think it’s important to note that just because you have identified the root cause of your fears, doesn’t always mean that it will disperse your fear.
Sometimes there are just really big things in our lives that feel so real and scary and that’s just how it is.
I was dealing with this once and I called my mom and I’ll never forget that conversation. I asked her what to do if I was afraid and she said the simplest words to me that rang through me like a clanging cymbal. She said, “then you do it afraid”.
Maybe that doesn’t resonate with you as it did with me, but it was an awakening phrase for me.
I had literally never considered doing something that I was afraid of. I had always just given up. If I started to feel nervous, I would just turn around and leave that thing behind. Never reaching for my goals.
Sometimes it was over the littlest things too. One time in summer camp, I managed to climb to the top of the zip line but when I got to the top, the idea of actually zipping down, scared me so much, they had to lower me back down the pole.
Talk about giving up… I would like to note, I overcame the fear in college and finally did it! Now, this seems silly, but that felt like a huge thing for me at the time.
Basically what I’m saying is, these things don’t even have to be major goals. I use this method for lots of little things too.
You don’t have to make some giant leap of faith to show that you have the courage to accomplish your goals. Baby steps are perfectly acceptable!
The point is not to shock yourself. It’s just to keep moving forward towards your goals. One baby step at a time…
So there you have it, my quick go to mental process for overcoming the fears that hold me back from accomplishing my goals.
Being able to write everything down and get things out of your head and onto paper can make a world of difference. You now have the tools to get started on your own process of beating back your fears to finally level up your life!
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Hi Josh and Allison, thanks for writing this!
It’s really helpful and detailed. One thing I fear (I know it’s irrational) is ghosts. How can I deal with that? Thanks!
Have you figured out what the root cause of your fear is yet? Once you pinpoint that, you can start to create a plan for avoiding or stopping the trigger that sparks your fear.