Self-Awareness 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
In this episode Willard follows up on last week's topic, "What Is Fear". By following this simple process you will learn how to overcome fear and live more of the life you desire.
Today, we're going to discuss how to overcome fear.
Last week we discussed what is fear. Tonight I want to talk about how to overcome fear. I can't tell you how many times I have spoken to people who tell me that they want to eliminate fear from their lives. They want to live life with no fear. And I have to say to them that the reality is, that is not going to happen. Fear is a part of our genetic makeup. There is also a school of thought that says that all fear is learned but in either case, fear is a tool. It serves a purpose and does prevent us from doing things that can be very dangerous, very harmful even to the point of life ending. So eliminating fear is probably not the best idea, but learning how to overcome fear when it is appropriate to do so is.
So let us look at how to overcome fear. The first thing is to decide that it is a fear you are ready to overcome. Sounds simple, but it is also a key distinction. After you have become aware of a fear and isolated it, meaning that you have identified it and used the skills we shared last week to understand where it is coming from; maybe you have recognized that you have a fear of intimacy. Then you looked at it that fear and asked yourself, "Is this fear of intimacy because of a bad relationship that I had in the past? Or is it because I don't know how to get to that level of intimacy with somebody?" That is the first step to overcoming it. When you look at fear from a new perspective you instantly lessen the power that fear has over you. You then have a decision you can make. Do you want to overcome that fear? Do you want to learn and grow? There are times that facing a specific fear is not going to help you grow, it is not going to help you improve your quality of life and it may not be worth your time and energy to face that fear. It may just be better to invest your time dealing with a different fear. But once you decide that this fear is definitely something that you need to overcome or that you will greatly benefit by overcoming, then its time to commit to taking the steps to overcome it. But be prepared, most of the time when we have a fear, we will start coming up with all sorts of excuses of why not to face it.
When this happens ask yourself this question, "If I do learn to overcome this fear, is it going to improve the quality of my life?" If the answer is "yes", face it. Take the steps you need to and face your fear. Make the decision that you are going to face it. Make the commitment. The difference between a decision and a commitment is how willing you are to take action. When you have committed, it moves you forward.
The sad part is that over time, many of us have gotten used to not keeping our commitments. We have over committed ourselves so many times and not followed through that it has weakened our ability to follow through on commitments. I've talked about in other episodes, that when we commit usually we are completely uncertain about our level of commitment. EP 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
A tool for how to overcome fear that I have learned over time that really helps me keep my commitments is what is called a "making a public commitment ". Making a commitment to others who you know will hold you accountable. It doesn't have to be standing in a room full of people, or shouting it from a rooftop. It can be finding one person that you trust and saying, "Hey Jerry, I plan on doing this. I'm committed to facing this fear. I'm committed to taking these steps and I know that you care about me as a friend. I'd like to ask you to hold me accountable and make sure that I do these things. Don't let me use excuses. Please hold me accountable." Find one person. Now for some of you who think that you need a lot of leverage, if you can, post it on your blog, tell everyone in your family, or announce it in a room full of people. I personally prefer to make sure that I find people who are going to support me in fulfilling that commitment when I do it. But there is definitely leverage also in knowing that someone may really get joy in embarrassing you if you don't follow through.
After you've made the commitment and you've found someone who's going to hold you accountable, the next part is for many people the hardest, but it’s also the magic pill. Take the first step.
Think about this, have you ever had an experience in the past, where something scared you to death? And then after you did it, you thought, "That was nothing. What was I making such a big deal out of?" After you take the first step, the second is much easier, the third, the fourth and moving to completion becomes so much easier after simply taking the first step. Fear is an imaginary wall that prevents us from taking that first step.
Again, you are not going to eliminate fear from your life. Actually a lot of times you will feel fear even when you've done the thing that you are scared of before. As an example every time that Jerry and I make the commitment that we are going to get together and film, about five to six hours before we're supposed to meet I start feeling fear build up. And I realize that it is a mixture of fears: I begin thinking, "Am I going to be able to deliver the material the way that I need to deliver it?" There is the fear when I start to think, "Do I even know the material that I want to deliver, and am I prepared enough?" There are long term fears of how people are going to accept it. Is it going to live up to the expectations that I have? Is it going to give you value? There are fears from the past, of times that I have gotten on stage and totally forgotten what I was going to say. I mean I have even forgotten the words to my own songs onstage.
By stacking all these fears on top of each other, there becomes this big mess of fears that gets stirred up. Sometimes that fear gets so bad that I actually want to call Jerry and cancel. I think about making up an excuse and rescheduling our shoot for another time. But by using the skills of how to overcome fear I push through and do what needs to be done. I know that I've made the commitment to Jerry that we're going to get together and film. I know that he has adjusted his schedule so we are able to get together. I know that I've made the commitment to you, the people who are watching these videos, that for this series you can expect that we are going to release a new episode every week. So I have definitely got leverage on myself to face that fear and follow through on what needs to be done. So, I take and deep breath and take the first logical step. I prepare for the shoot that night by going over the topics and getting my notes together.
It really is that simple. Fear; it's there and it is always going to be there. The trick is to use it as an adviser to help you move forward and achieve things that you want to achieve that will allow you to live the life you desire.
So quickly, the exercise for this week of how to overcome fear is:
If you've identified a fear from last week's episode, pick one of those. I suggested you pick five, but for this exercise on how to overcome fear just pick one that you are looking to overcome for now. Then decide... is this a fear that you need to face? Will your quality of life improve by facing this fear... by overcoming it? If the answer is "yes", then commit. Right now, make the commitment that you are going to do whatever it takes to overcome this fear. Then find at least one person who you know cares about you, who wants to support you in your growth and get them to hold you accountable.
Let's use an example that you have decided that you want to overcome your fear and get involved in a relationship. You have decided that your quality of life will definitely improve since you know how to overcome fear and find someone to date. So your commitment for this week is that you are going to ask at least one person out on a date. If you're adventurous, ask three, heck as five! But if you've been struggling, make the commitment to ask at least one. So after you have made that commitment, you're going to find that one person who is the kind of person who does want to support you, and you're going to say, "By this time next week, I want to check in with you, or if you haven't heard from me please check in with me and make sure that I ask someone out on a date this week." And after you've gotten that person who is going to hold you accountable, take the first step.
Now the first step does not have to be getting on the phone and calling somebody and asking them out. The first step can be isolating who it is you want to ask out. Is there someone that you know, who you have wanted to ask out that you have been too scared to approach? Write their name down. And if there is nobody that you have in your circle of friends that you have right now that you have that interest in, maybe your first step is to write down places that you could go and find a potential partner. What are places that you could go to where people have common interests, where you would find people who would be compatible? Could it be a bookstore? Could it be a church? Could it be a bar? Where is a place that you can go where you will find somebody that you'll align with?
Take the first step after you have made that commitment. As you progress to the second and third steps, maybe you will need to make another request of that person to hold you accountable to keep you moving forward. Again, this exercise is all about how to overcome fear. For the people who want a magic pill, here is the magic pill; take the first step.
Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:
Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: You Always Have Choices, It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Questions To Ask When You Overcome An Obstacle
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode