Fear can be crippling. I’m not talking about phobias here, rather the fear of not being ‘good enough’, rejection, ridicule, failing or even the simple fear of an uncertain future when you have a family or loved ones to look after. Whether you are in a corporate job, or running your business and working hard to make it as an entrepreneur, this type of fear can leave even the best of us feeling like an anxious mess from time to time or even feeling paralysed or lost.
But the truth of the matter is, we don’t have time in this busy day and age to feel this way. Are you with me?
Using your fear to propel you to success
Well, what if I told you, you can use fear to propel you to success? Become, let’s say ‘fear-oacious’? This isn’t a new phenomenon, but definitely one that we need to hear and have explained to us when we aren’t in the best state of mind.
I mean, think about it, did you start the year feeling elated and pumped about everything you were going to achieve each month this year and when things haven’t quite panned out the way you’d hoped at the pace you’d hoped, you’re beating yourself up about it with negative self-talk. First, you’re not alone. Second, most of those who have a high fear of failure, also have unrelenting standards for themselves (yes there is a correlation), and in this case, you can use that to your advantage.
“Fear is your friend. Fear is an indicator. Sometimes it shows you what you shouldn’t do. [But] more often than not, it shows you exactly what you should do,” says Tim Ferris, author of the 4-Hour Workweek (and one of my favourite people to follow the work of because of his insights into the mind and productivity).
Needless to say, Tim uses fear as a propeller, and he’s not alone. JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books after an unsuccessful marriage used her fear of failure to get her act together and make her dream a reality, and Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, also uses fear as a driving motivator in his work to continue to excel.
You too, can thrive because of your fears
Here’s a suggestion. What if we treated our fears as arrows instead of obstacles and barriers? To do this, we need to first realise that our fears are often irrational. Most of our fear is our projection. Not much of it is actually happening in the moment.
When fear is a reoccurring theme in your life, and you know that it’s been a strong motivator as well as a hindrance, it’s probably important to make sense of where and when in your life this might have begun. (Feel free to get in touch if you want tips on how to uncover this and I can point you in the right direction). Once you’ve identified the source of your fear and anxiety, accept that from time to time you will fail. Failure is part of the process. Successful people will have you know that they failed lots of times and that process gave them huge insight into approaching the problem(s) at hand.
Fear helps us realise what’s important to us and often makes us more open to receiving help. It pushes us to focus on and solve problems. Fear exists for a reason and often it motivates us to realise how badly we want something to change.
Working through fear and anxiety takes strength, so congratulate yourself when you do.
Those easily affected by fear tend to either be stuck in their past or constantly thinking about the future, but to escape the constant cycle of fear, it’s crucial to stay in the present and there are methods to stay grounded and strategically work through your fear of failure to propel you to success.
One of these methods is to look back to the times you have overcome obstacles that you were once fearful about and remember and retain the feeling of success and triumph. Analyse how you were incorrect about certain assumptions that used to paralyse you. By doing this, you’ll find that new fears will be less intimidating and over time, your accomplishments will outweigh your anxieties and insecurities.
For those who prefer a more guided approach, you could consider Schema Therapy (a type of cognitive behavioural therapy often conducted by counsellors), or Time Line Therapy™ techniques with a which allow you to work at the unconscious level and release the effects of past negative experiences, which might be crippling you in the present. Of course, these are merely suggestions, but ones that could have a profound positive impact in you getting past your fears and using it to your advantage.
Use your fear instead of letting it control you
So whether your fear stems from the prospect of going broke, failing at your job, your business, your marriage, your relationship, or anything else, know that you can use your fear instead of letting it control you.
Feel the fear and seek a solution.