Fear is an ugly thing. Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Well, actually he said this,
“It is by going down into the abyss
that we recover the treasures of life.
Where you stumble,
there lies your treasure.
The very cave you are afraid to enter
turns out to be the source of
what you are looking for.
The damned thing in the cave
that was so dreaded
has become the center.
You find the jewel,
and it draws you off.”
But it tends to get paraphrased. We all have fear. Fear is just part of the human experience. Some of us have more than others, but we all experience it at one point or another. The big concern is making sure fear doesn’t keep us from finding our own success. But with some conscious thoughtfulness and shifting your mindset, you can turn the things you’re afraid of into your greatest accomplishments. But how?
Identify what your fears are
Now, the important thing to note here is there are healthy fears, and irrational fears. We’re never going to conquer all of our fears, but we can control how we manage them. For example, nothing scares me more than snakes, so I’ll never be able to perform like Britney Spears “I’m a Slave 4 U” circa 2001. But hopefully that’s not going to make me any less successful in life. Take some time to sit with yourself and really dig into what is holding you back. Therapy is a huge help with this, but I know it isn’t financially possible for everyone. To identify your fears, you have to first look at what you want to achieve and work backwards. For example, if you’re really hoping to get a promotion this year, start there. Then look at everything that could be holding you back from taking that next step. Are you afraid to put yourself out there because you’re afraid of being rejected for the position? Or is the reason you’re not getting promoted because someone else is more qualified? Maybe you’re afraid of taking a leap and leaving the company for something bigger and better. No matter what your goals are, you can trace the root of your fears back from them.
Indulge in positive self-talk
Next time you’re feeling that nasty little fear creep up, flip the conversation. Say, for example, your fear is that you’re not creative enough to be taken seriously. Instead, reframe that thought into a positive affirmation. “I’m growing in my creativity each day, all while having fun and living my best life every day.” Yes, it’s cheesy, but it really does work. Taking a negative thought and transforming it into a positive statement shifts your entire mentality and reframes your fear into confidence.
Map it out
If the fear you’re facing comes from making a big decision, try a trusty pros and cons list. What would happen if you chose to take a leap and conquer your fear rather than maintain the usual status quo. Chances are when you have it mapped out in front of you, it doesn’t look so scary after all.
Whenever you push yourself to think outside the box and take chances, reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or expensive. Find a way to reward yourself in a way that gives you positive momentum and encourages you to keep going. Positive reinforcement works much more efficiently than negative, so even with tiny rewards, you’ll find yourself craving the next big step.
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