Is Fear Stopping You from Achieving Your Goals?
Last week we acknowledged that there is A LOT of information that already exists on goal attainment. Anyone with an internet connection can (and should!) access this information for free and, if they wish, use it and start changing their lives for the better today.
Given that such a wealth of material abounds, what is it that is preventing more people from taking this knowledge and turning it into action?
Although this isn’t my idea (It’s Nietzsche’s) it’s certainly the one that rings the truest for me, and if left unaddressed is going to be a sure-fire way of ensuring that we stop dead in our tracks, in fact it can be so debilitating it can ensure that we don’t try at all, that we never get out of the starting blocks! So what causes ‘fear’ and more importantly what can be done about it?
What is Fear?
Fear used to be a good thing - it stopped our ancestors from becoming lunch on the savannah, for instance. Now that we are no longer at threat of becoming a snack for a prehistoric predator, how do we go about conquering our modern day demons that are preventing us from living the life we deserve?
The first thing is to identify what we are dealing with. Although there are many different types of fear, for our purposes they can be translated into two ‘core’ fears: I will never be enough (fear of failure) and I will never be loved (Fear of rejection).
Types of Fear and How They Stop Us From Achieving Our Goals
Although both of these are certainly going to be fear inducing, the first one, ‘I will never be enough’, is perhaps more relevant to discuss as a prohibitor to achieving our goals. It’s the word ’never’ here that is paralysing. If you feel you are ’never’ going to be able to achieve something then "what’s the point in starting in the first place?’’ And that’s a short step to "wouldn’t it be better, easier and more comfortable to just do nothing?" And then our rationalisation kicks in as to all of the reasons that you didn’t want to do whatever it is in the first place, "After all, things aren’t so bad the way they are… etc. etc…"
Practical Steps of How To Overcome Fear
So, what are some practical tips to help you face your fears, right-size them and put it back in its place?
- Fear and uncertainty can be beaten by authority. And that authority can be gained by knowledge and the training necessary to succeed. If you are aiming to run a marathon make sure that you know what a successful training plan looks like, how long you will need before the race to follow the training plan.
- Give fear the time it deserves. Spend some time writing down on paper the worst thing that could happen if your fears were to manifest - be specific. Next write down mitigating steps you could take at each step of the way to prevent this from happening. Finally, write what are some of the practical steps you could take to repair the damage should this go wrong.
- That said, don’t spend all your time focusing on fear. Make your controlling thoughts positive. Fear begets more fear and positivity reaps more success.
- Focus on solutions and live the 80/20 rule. Devote no more than 20% to the problem and the remaining 80% to focusing on solutions. As you focus on solving the problem, innovative solutions will begin to present themselves to you.
And remember, the words of Joseph Campbell: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”.
Intrigued? Find out more about how to overcome your fears and set yourself for succes with our goal planner The Main Thing here: