Fun fact: I am a big scaredy cat.
My friends and family can attest to this. I am prone to worry, anxiety, fear, and self-doubt. I have always said that the reason I started down the path of self-help is because I desperately need it to help me deal with the negativity floating around in my life.
When I was a little girl, I used to travel from my hometown of Waco, Texas to Brownsville, Texas, where my mom’s family is from. It’s about an 8 hour drive. There used to be a stretch of the trip where there weren’t any gas stations. You had to anticipate this portion of the trip and make sure you had enough gas to get you thru this part. Knowing this, I sat in the middle row of my grandmother’s minivan and constantly tried to peer over the driver’s seat to monitor the amount of gas we had in the tank. If we got below half a tank, I would freak out and exclaim, “We’ve got to get gas! We’ve got to get gas!” Even at four years old, I was overcome with the fear and worry that we would run out of gas on the highway and be stranded.
When people get to know me, they are often surprised by the fact that I am scared as much as I am. “LaTisha, you are so confident. You have it all together.”
Nah, boo. I’m just like everyone else.
I share this story with you because I know what it’s like to be paralyzed by fear, to not move forward with my life because of what could happen, and to suffer from insomnia because I can’t stop my mind from over analyzing and obsessing over the “what-ifs.”
Today I’m going to share with you the #1 secret to overcoming fear. Are you ready? You’re not gonna believe this:
The #1 secret to overcoming fear is to take action.
LaTisha, that’s it?
Honey Bunny, that’s it.
Sounds simple, right? Simple doesn’t mean easy, though. Your fears are powerful and have the ability to paralyze you, keep you small, and take the joy out of your life. They have a compelling narrative that seduces you into believing the worst about yourself and your situation. Fears are cunning and subversive.
So what does taking action look like? Great question. Here is my 6 step process to deal with fear:
1. Identify one fear.
Let’s say for example you are afraid that you will lose your job. Your boss has never reprimanded you and you get along great with your co-workers. Yet you can’t shake the feeling that any day now they are going to discover that you’re a fraud and give you the axe.
2. Brain dump your fear.
When you’re thinking about your fear, your thoughts have a very specific wording, tone, and word choice. When you find yourself going down the rabbit hole of fear, grab your journal and do the following:
Write down your thoughts, word for word. “I’m afraid I’m going to get canned because I’m not keeping up with all of my much younger and more computer savvy co-workers. They’re gonna get rid of me and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Write down all the reasons why your fear could come true or is coming true. “I saw how my supervisor didn’t invite me to the team meeting on Friday. They’re pushing me out. It’s only a matter of time.”
Write down how your life will be impacted by your fear coming true. “If they get rid of me, I’ll have to go on unemployment. Who’s gonna want to hire a 40 something year old when they could get a 20 something? I’ll have to go on welfare and I won’t be able to pay for Maddie’s tuition at private school.”
Write down how this fear is hi-jacking your life. “I am having a really hard time sleeping and can’t seem to concentrate at work when I really need to. I’ve got a lot of tension in my shoulders and there’s a sense of dread in my stomach. Sometimes I feel like I can’t catch my breath. I’m so stressed.”
3. Reflect back on your life and identify the root cause of your fear.
Perhaps when you were a child, your dad lost his job and had a really hard time finding a new one. He was depressed and started drinking. You spent a lot of your childhood in fear that your family would go hungry. Or perhaps you were fired early on in your career and it was a terrible experience that has haunted you ever since.
4. Brainstorm ways you can address your fear.
Brainstorm what you can do to overcome your fear. Perhaps it’s time for you to have a much needed sit-down with your supervisor so that you can get his/her real assessment of your work productivity. (S)he can give you tangible ways for you to improve your performance.
You can enroll in some online courses to sharpen up some of your existing skills or even help you branch out into a new field.
You can do yoga to help you expel all of the fearful energy residing in your body.
5. Table the unknown variables.
If there are things that you don’t know how to do, write them down and look for people who can help you. For example, let’s say you’re not sure how you would even file for unemployment, write it down and then set a time to research how to file a claim.
You can also work with a therapist or life coach to help you tackle the unknown and to think of ways to move forward in your life and your career.
6. Use the power of affirmations to change your way of thinking.
I’m a huge advocate of using affirmations to reprogram the mind. When you recite affirmations, you input positive, life affirming thoughts into your subconscious and you’re able to view your situation with fresh eyes. Recite “I work at a job that pays me well and I work with people who acknowledge my contribution. I love my job,” 100 times a day for 40 days straight and see how your life changes.
Honey Bunny, your time on earth is too precious to be bogged down and paralyzed with fear. Use the process that I’ve outlined above and start to take action to address your fear. You are resourceful, creative, and brilliant and you can figure out how to deal with whatever it is that has you stressed.
Now it’s your turn. Comment below and let me know what steps you take to deal with fear.
I’m cheering for you. Like you’re clearing out the cobwebs of your mind.
From the Front Row,
P/S Don't forget to download your FREE "How to Deal with Fear" Workbook HERE.