If we take fear out of the picture, the possibility for what we could achieve grows exponentially. Various faces of fear play an enormous role in keeping us from what we really want.
In an excellent article on fear, Brian Tracy talks about developing the courage to move past it.
When you develop the habit of courage and unshakable self-confidence, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for you. Just think—what would you dare to dream, or be, or do, if you weren’t afraid of anything in the whole world?
Fortunately, the habit of courage can be learned just as any other success skill is learned. To do so, we need to go to work systematically to diminish and eradicate our fears, while simultaneously building up the kind of courage that will enable us to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life unafraid.
As he sees it, you have to start by shining a light on what's behind those fears.
The starting point in overcoming fear and developing courage is, first of all, to look at the factors that predispose us toward being afraid.
As we know, the root source of fear is childhood conditioning that caused us to experience two types of fear: the fear of failure, which causes us to think, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t”; and the fear of rejection, which causes us to think, “I have to, I have to, I have to.”
He suggests that the first step in overcoming those fears is to look at the factors that cause them. Then...
Once we’ve recognized the factors that can cause fear, the second step in overcoming fear is to sit down and take the time to objectively identify, define and analyze your own personal fears. At the top of a clean sheet of paper, write the question, “What am I afraid of?”
Fessing up to your fears is a vital step, says Tracy.
...when you avoid the thing you fear, your fears grow until they begin to control every aspect of your life. And as your fears increase, your self-esteem, your self-confidence and your self-respect diminish accordingly.
Begin filling out your list of fears by writing down everything, major and minor, over which you experience any anxiety. The most common fears, of course, are the fear of failure and the fear of rejection.
Of course, the purpose of that isn't to get yourself wrapped around the axle obsessing about how many fears you have, it's to give you a starting point to dig into them.
Once you have made a list of every fear that you think may be affecting your thinking and your behavior, organize the items in order of importance. Which fear do you feel has the greatest impact on your thinking, or holds you back more than any other? Which fear would be number two? What would be your third fear? And so on. With regard to your predominant fear, write the answers to these three questions:
1. How does this fear hold me back in life? 2. How does this fear help me, or how has it helped me in the past? 3. What would be my pay-off for eliminating this fear?
To face and move through fear, says Tracy, you need courage.
You can begin the process of developing courage and eliminating fear by engaging in actions consistent with the behaviors of courage and self-confidence. Anything that you practice over and over eventually becomes a new habit.
He goes on to talk about three different kinds of courage:
* the courage to begin, to launch, to step out in faith
* the courage to endure, to persist, to stay at it once you have begun
* the courage to conquer worry—a form of negative goal-setting