Success is on the other side of fear. But what fears do you have anyway? Can you pinpoint the moment a fear became your truth? In this blog I’ll cover how you can identify your fears and how to overcome them.
What is fear anyway?
The word fear is often misinterpreted. When I talk about fear, I’m not talking about “being afraid of something”. Fear, in the way that I mean it, is an emotional reaction to something your ego finds dangerous. Overcoming fear to succeed means acknowledging risk, but stepping out of your comfort zone anyway in order to grow.
There’s a difference in having arachnophobia and having a fear of rejection.
What types of fear do you (sub)consciously have?
Some fears are very prominent in our lives. Others live under the surface of our conscious mind. We may not be aware of them until we take a closer look at our behavior.
One of the fears that has come up for me in the last couple of weeks is fear of judgement. The recent changes in my business and incorporating spirituality into my coaching has led to some mixed reactions. I started to doubt myself and felt held back posting content about my new direction. What would people say and think of me? This manifested itself in me being less active on social media and not showing up the way I wanted to.
At first I thought it was procrastination or me being “busy”. But once I didn’t accept that as my answer, I dug deeper into the source – which led me to fear of judgement.
That just shows us there are many different fears we are unaware of. Here are just a few:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of vulnerability
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of not being good enough
- Fear of being alone/not being accepted
All of the fears above, are acquired fears. These fears are present in your life because you had a (negative) experience. The good news? You can overcome these fears by facing them!
Side note: these fears are different from appropriate fears – that’s usually your intuition telling you you’re in danger (like the fear of walking through a dark ally). These fears serve and protect you.
What fear looks like in the day-to-day
Unlike arachnophobia, you probably won’t acutely hyperventilate at the thought of judgement or rejection. You’ll feel a knot in your stomach, but you won’t run around the house crying, shivering and calling your dad to ask if he can remove the spider for you. (*this actually happens when I come in contact with an eight-legged individual).
So then, how do you know you have a fear of something?!
Since fears are very personal, I can best describe a few to you using real life examples.
Fear of failure: When you have a fear of failure, you could express that by overcompensating in work. You want things to be perfect all the time. You work over hours trying to prove yourself. You’re afraid that if you don’t do XYZ, the project won’t be perfect and you won’t succeed. This, in turn, can turn into perfectionism.
Fear of failure also manifests itself in not taking action. You stay in the same job, same position, same relationship because you are afraid of trying something new. You don’t trust yourself & the outcome, therefore you don’t take action.
Fear of rejection: When you have a fear of rejection, you might not feel comfortable approaching new people – whether that’s for dating or meeting new friends. Maybe you won’t apply for the job you want because you’re afraid of not getting it.
Fear of being alone, not being accepted: If you have a fear of being alone or not being accepted, you might be a people pleaser. You want people to like you and may jump through hoops to be accepted. Your intention to belong comes from your fear instead of truly wanting to connect with others. You could also show signs of being a serial dater.
There are many different ways fear shows up in your life. Try to figure out for yourself where you feel the most resistance in your life and what the underlying fear might be.
Where does this fear come from?
Since these fears are acquired, they stem from an experience. This experience can be anything from childhood trauma to something that happened later in life. Maybe your parents made a comment, someone left/abandoned you or maybe you were bullied. Whatever the reason, you interpreted the situation as bad/negative. You stored that in your brain & it became your story.
Go back to the moment(s) where this fear became a truth for you.
Forgive yourself for misinterpreting this situation. You handled the situation to the best of your abilities. You didn’t have the knowledge you have today. Acknowledge the feeling, give it a special place in your life, and heal yourself. This fear is a product of an experience you had. No more, no less.
How to overcome your biggest fears
Ok, now let’s get to work. There are ways to overcome your biggest fears. It’s a process that takes (daily) practice. If you want to overcome your fear for good, you’ll need to change some habits.
Step 1: We already covered step 1 – that’s identifying your fears and forgiving yourself for having them.
Step 2: Find out how the fear manifests in your life. How does it show up? Are you serial dating, job hopping, hiding, rebelling, being defensive, not speaking up? What happens in your day-to-day life that is a product of your fear?
Step 3: Let’s make a list of what having this fear is costing you. What are some thing you can’t do or achieve because of your fear? Name the things you are not doing or don’t have. This can be anything tangible like money, a healthy relationship or a job. But also think about bigger issues that it’s costing you like happiness, mental health or the ability to connect to others authentically.
Step 4: Now write down the “what ifs”. What if you didn’t have this fear? What would your life look like? What could you achieve? What are the possibilities? GO BIG on this one. Dream big!
Step 5: Ok, time to take action. Now that you have a clear vision of what it’s costing you and what your life could look like, you need to design daily action steps. What can you do today to move the needle forward? What task can you put on your to-do list today that is going to help you overcome your fear? For example: posting your opinion on Instagram 3x per week, journal once a day, take a walk every morning.
Don’t make these steps too small. The point is to feel the fear, but to do it anyway!
Step 6: No, we’re not done yet. Schedule in your to-do’s! It’s one thing to write down your action steps. But you also need to secure you actually do them. Make space in your daily routine for these action steps. And if you can, hire a coach to hold you accountable and keep you motivated.
When fears no longer hold you back…
I’ve noticed that by working through my own fears, I am more aligned with my purpose. I feel free. I do things because they are good for me. I don’t make excuses. I have more energy. I live MY life the way the universe has intended me to. I also see signs from my spirit guides everywhere – 11:11, 22:22, 22:11, white butterflies and the color yellow.
The process isn’t easy. It can cause some heavy emotions to come up. I believe the most important part is the healing (step 1). Everyone has fears. But not everyone confronts them, causing them to live a life of mediocrity. A life of pleasing others. A life of disconnect. I honor you for looking deeper into your fears. For being brave enough to look them in the eye!
I promise that life rewards you for your bravery.
Let me know how this process unfolds for you and what your journey looks like. I would love to hear your story.
Much love from my side of the screen! Namaste.