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Being Fearless!

Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless.

~ Author Unknown.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address that, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

We all face fear. It’s just part of our world. Being fearless doesn’t imagine a world where fear doesn’t exist. No. Instead, being fearless means understanding what fear is to you, and how you can manage it so that it is not a stumbling block to your success.

Fear is only in our mind.

In the 16th century, French philosopher Michel de Montaigne said, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

How many of your fears have ever come true?

There is a study that revealed almost 85% of what people worry about never occurred. And with the 15 percent that did come true, 79% of the people discovered they could either handle the difficulty better than they expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97% of what you worry over is simply your fearful mind punishing you with assumptions, interpretations, limiting beliefs, exaggerations, and misperceptions.

So, what can we do? Here are 6 steps you can take to decrease your fear and increase your fearlessness:

  1. Notice your triggers. Become aware of when you experience feelings of fear. We all have triggers that remind us of our fears and failures. The best thing to do is to quickly Identify them. You may not be able to avoid the triggers, but you can choose how you react in the moment. What areas in your life are triggers for your fear? Where can you make a course correction today?
  2. Be present. There is a lot of discussion around the word “mindfulness” lately. Basically it means being present so you can fully experience what is right in front of you. As soon as you begin living in the past or worrying about the future, you’ve left the present. Remember, 85% of what we fear never happens. And you can handle 97% of what does come your way. That’s pretty good odds! So, simply focus on the moment at hand. What can you do right now? As Oprah says, “What is the next right choice?”
  3. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do this?” And then, my favorite question, “And then what?” Most people stop at the worst thing, so they become even more fearful and they retreat back to their comfort zone. Instead, write down some different ways you can deal with the worst case scenario. By asking “And then what?” you begin to think about how you can come out on the other side. You begin to see you may be capable of more than you thought.
  4. Mind Shift to Excitement. You know when you’re called on to give a speech and your heart is pumping like crazy, your palms are sweaty, and you have tunnel vision? You may call that fear, but people who are fearless see the exact same scenario as exciting. Your brain can’t tell the difference between real fear or perceived fear. It doesn’t know that your getting a promotion is a good thing, not something to be afraid of! And your body reacts the same way to good news that propels you out of your comfort zone the same as it does when you have bad news. Your body is ready for fight or flight whether you’re excited or fearful. The difference is in how you choose to interpret it. Will you react (fight or flight) or will you respond (consciously recognizing what is good and using that stumbling block as a stepping stone instead)? Reframe those triggers to look at the situation from a perspective of excitement instead of fearfulness.
  5. “No” is merely feedback. Being told “no” throws many of us into a state of fear or worry. Then our Inner Critics start up with the “I must be unworthy,” “I knew I wasn’t good enough,” and more soul-crushing thoughts. If you allow them, these thoughts can play into your fear. Instead, reframe again, and think about the “no” as feedback on how you handled the situation. Fearless people think through what they could do differently in order to find a new way to approach the situation or the other person. So ask yourself, “What could I do to make this ‘no’ a possibility?” Learn from the situations, seek feedback and input from others, determine how you might be able to get a different outcome the next time. Fearful people see “no” as a destination. Fearless people see “no” as an opportunity to learn something different.
  6. Celebrate the breakthrough and stay the course. When you are fearless in an area, a conversation, a problem you’re having – celebrate being bold. Acknowledge your fearlessness. You’ve taken a step toward a more fearless vs fearful living. That’s a beautiful step! Then stay the course. Keep up the good work. Know that you may slip back into a little fearfulness and that’s ok. Recognize the slip and determine how you want to build up the fearlessness again. When you focus on others your mind moves out of fearfulness. So volunteer somewhere, send a sick friend a funny card, see how you can help someone else and get your mind off your fear.

I have a mentor who says that we should fail every day. It’s not really about the failure at all. It’s about trying something you’re scared to do. The more you do that, the more you are building your fearlessness muscle, and the easier it is to bounce out of fearfulness when you find yourself there.

Are you ready to try being fearless? What’s one thing you’re going to do this week in which you could fail? And then what?

To our success!


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