With the current economic situation being so volatile, many of us may be feeling fear about the future, perhaps for the first time. You may very well be wondering, “Is my job safe? Will I be laid off tomorrow? Will my company go under? How will I pay my bills? Perhaps, even more depressing, you may feel that your dreams for a better life have been dashed.
Regardless of the economic climate, though, there are still plenty of opportunities available for anyone who wants to reach out and grab them. Even losing your job, as scary as that is, could open up the door to new and better possibilities for you. Logically we know this is possible, but we still worry, don’t we?
It could be your fears – not the recession – that is really stopping you from pursuing your dreams, but your mind is telling you to use the recession as an excuse!
Are these types of fears paralyzing you into passive inaction?
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of failure
- Fear of change
- Fear of lack of support
- Fear of the worst case scenario
- Fear of success
Look inside you. What’s really stopping you? Are your fears holding you back? The good news is that you can learn to transform those fears into an unstoppable positive force!
In this series of articles, we’ll examine each of these types of fears and look at how they could be affecting you. You’ll learn what causes your fears and exactly what you can do about it. You’ll also find specific action steps you can take to overcome your fears so you can live the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Are Your Fears Real?
A wise man once said that FEAR means False Evidence Appearing Real. In fact, the vast majority of our fears never come to pass. Experts have estimated that 90% of our fears are about things that will never happen! This means we waste an awful lot of time and energy worrying about things that don’t matter!
There’s a great portion of our life wasted on worrying. There’s all the time and energy we spend worrying about things we know we can’t do anything about, plus all the wasted effort worrying instead of taking action to overcome solvable problems – but all of this gets us nowhere!
Now back to the question: Are your fears real? Yes. You may fear something that isn’t real, but the fear itself is very real and extremely powerful. Your fear can take the wind out of your sails faster than any challenge. Fear can stop you in your tracks. Fear can suck away your confidence and destroy your hopes and dreams.
But fear can be harnessed and transformed into the strongest motivator!
The Fear Effect
Even though fear is felt in your mind, it causes a physical reaction in your body. The “fight or flight” reaction to your fear can:
- Pump adrenaline into your body
- Speed up your heartbeat
- Make your breathing shallow and quick
- Make you sweat
- Cause a panic attack
At times, fear can save your life if the danger is real. But in most cases, the danger doesn’t exist. It does exist, however, in your mind, so you suffer the consequences of your fear anyway. It can cause anything from stress and anxiety to heart attacks.
Do You Choose Fear?
Can you imagine the great strides you could make if fear weren’t an option – if you spent all that time and energy on moving forward toward your goals instead of sitting around worrying about the bumps in the road?
Are you letting fear control your life? How much time do you spend conjuring up doom and gloom with the “What ifs?” You can make the choice to eliminate this self-defeating habit and take action every day to reduce your fears.
You must acknowledge that your fears are real and realize that it’s playing havoc with your life every time fear raises its ugly head. As humans, we all have fears of some kind, but we also have the power to change how we allow fear to affect our life. With purposeful action comes success!
What Causes Fear?
Analyzing what caused your fear in the first place can go a long way toward helping you overcome it. After all, somewhere along the way you developed the fear, and then your mind found ways to validate and strengthen it.
Here are some of the most common reasons for fear:
Even experiences you’ve long since forgotten can be the cause of many fears. Those experiences are still stored in your subconscious and can affect the way you think and feel about current experiences.
- For example, if a dog had bitten you as a child, you might be afraid of dogs to this day. Even though many dogs wouldn’t hurt a fly, whenever you see another dog your subconscious reminds you to be wary, and these thoughts then further validate the fear.
- Perhaps someone called you stupid at school. To this day, even though you may have a high IQ, you feel that you aren’t smart and fear that others will think your ideas are silly. Every time you make a mistake, you validate to yourself that you’re ‘stupid,’ which reinforces your fear.
- If you’re a creative and artistic person who doesn’t trust your own instincts, it may be because of one insulting comment a teacher made years prior. It can affect your entire life, even if you know now that the teacher was wrong.
Many of the things you see and hear about today could be the cause of many fears.
- If your brother lost his job and it caused an upheaval in his life, this could be fueling fears during the current recession.
- Seeing the failures of others might have ingrained fears into you about never being able to succeed, no matter how much you want it.
- In the same way, seeing great success from your friends or colleagues might also stir up fears within you. You might feel the pressure to compete for fear of failure.
Throughout your life, you’ve learned things from others. Many times these things aren’t based on facts and may even prove to be incorrect. They could have been only opinions, but you learned them as truths, and they cause fears that keep you from pursuing your dreams.
- For example, you may fear success because you grew up believing that all rich people are greedy snobs. Every time you met a greedy rich person, it validated this belief. Your fear of becoming a greedy snob overcomes your desire for financial freedom.
- You might even believe that money is the root of all evil and that you’ll be doomed to hell if you have any kind of financial success. Naturally, your fear of eternal damnation will keep you from succeeding.
- You may fear having a great relationship with someone because you’ve seen too many relationships fail, and you don’t want to risk it. You believe relationships invariably end up on the rocks.
Your experiences, observations, and learned beliefs are at the root of your fears. If you reflect on your fears, determine what they are, and then trace them back to their beginnings, you can often gain insight as to why they might be holding you back.
Once you’ve figured this out, you can start the process of overcoming your fears. But you need to figure out what it is you want to overcome before you can do anything about it!