About two years ago I reached a point where I realised that out of the six human needs (Certainty, Uncertainty, Significance, Connection, Growth, Contribution) my highest need was growth. It then got me thinking, what would I need to do to grow exponentially? The answer was to conquer as many fears in a short space of time as I could. Living with fear is not only unhealthy but it stops you from achieving your goals and living life to the fullest. It takes one moment to make a decision to tackle your fears head on. It’s not until you make that decision that you can begin to experience the real benefits that come with identifying and conquering your fears.
Think about each of your fears as a hidden diamond, that once identified, has the power to outshine everything else in your life and truly bring you happiness. Each day that has passed since the day I made the decision to conquer my fears has been better than the previous. You start to build a level of momentum that comes from your newfound confidence and compounds daily. Every one of us is capable of amazing things if we can only understand how important it is to grow and not live with the majority of your fears.
Below are the three reasons why you should create a fear list right now just like I did.
1. It helps you know what you need to overcome
Before I wrote out my fear list, I didn’t know what I was fearful of and even when I tried to think of a few I could only remember a couple. Often you don’t know what you fear until you are faced with a certain scenario again that triggers a memory. For me, I began going back to my earliest memories as a child and thinking of all the things that scared me. I used photo albums to help me remember important occasions. For the fears that I identified from childhood, I then asked myself the same question for each one, which was, “do I still fear this thing right now?”
If the answer to this question were yes then I would add it to an iPad list that I created of all my fears. It was amazing how many things I was actually afraid of or had some nervousness around. The process of doing this exercise is a bit like the advice that is often given which is understand you have a problem and admit it before you try and solve it. If you write this list in the most honest way possible you will get the best results from the exercise.
The whole list won’t come to you in one sitting. For me, I found that once I was consciously aware of knowing what I feared and writing it down, I then began to add things to the list each day – this process hasn’t stopped to this day.
2. Allows you to conquer
Once I had identified each of my fears I then came up with a scenario for as many of them as I could to help me conquer them. For the ones that I didn’t have a scenario for, I made a conscious effort to find ways in my everyday life to include this fear. The exercise helps you confront tasks or situations that you would have previously avoided because each time you are helping to contribute another piece of the jigsaw to the puzzle for the vision of your life.
“By doing this exercise I virtually gamified my fears and it was like playing a game on Playstation trying to get the highest score possible so that I could move onto the next level”
One tip I will give you in doing this process is to take it one step at a time and pace yourself. Start with mini fears and then build your way up to some of your scarier ones. If you try and do the scariest ones first, you won’t achieve any progress, which means you will very quickly give up this strategy. The small wins are what will help you get to the bigger wins later on.
After I had completed one scenario in conquering a particular fear, I then tried to repeat the exercise with the same fear to lessen its effect even more. I found that the more times I challenged myself to conquer the fear, the better I became at dealing with it. The key while in the middle of any fear conquering scenario was to make sure my brain knew that there was always an exit. I trained my brain to have a virtual exit on every stage of the scenario. I knew that if I got halfway through and had to stop, I could just remove myself. This only happened a few times, but even then I felt really good because I got halfway through, which was better than where I was before.
Part of the conquering of any fear was to learn how to breathe and stay calm. I used a technique that I learnt on one of the Tony Robbins tapes called “Get The Edge.” The strategy allows you to breathe deeply and it relaxes you a lot. I even found listening to audiotapes could be beneficial for the really fearful scenarios.
Scheduling the scenarios to overcome the fear was very helpful as well through the process. What I quickly learnt was that once I had scheduled the fearful scenario in my calendar, the best thing to do was not think about it until right before I had to complete the task and know that I could always cancel at any time to the lead up. I often scheduled things that I had no intention of completing just to see what would happen. I found that I ended up delivering because I had the mindset of never actually participating in the scenario.
3. Enables you to track your success
As I mastered each fear, I created a new list named “Massive Success.” It started with each scenario I conquered. Late one night I thought to myself, “have I conquered this fear before?” I realised that on some of them there were times where I had overcome the fear yet the pain still remained. I realised that this was because I hadn’t overcome it enough times just yet. I wrote these down on my massive success list as well. Within the space of 6 months, I had more than 100 massive successes on my list. Up until I had the list I found it very hard to measure the growth I was achieving as a person but quickly once I had the right tools, I could see how far I had come. This transferred into more confidence, which then gave me the strength to tackle even more fears.
The process eventually became a mini viral loop and the effects compounded even more. It’s very rewarding when you have had a tough day in the office to come home and look at the list. I also found it great when I was facing a nervous situation in the future, to be able to look at the list and say to myself, “if I overcome this scenario on my list multiple times, then I am sure I can overcome this future event that I am about to endure.”
“A lot of success is just having a strategy, putting it into action, and then watching the results compound. This is the exact same methodology that is used in financial success”
My good friend that I used to do exercise with would often say to me “what’s the worse that can happen.” Every time we tried a new exercise or went to increase the intensity we would always say this magical phrase. Most of the time, the worst that happened was we did a few repetitions and then my friend provided a spot as my body gave way. It’s this analogy that is the reason you also need people on the journey of you life to provide that spot. You can do a lot by yourself, but the results are again compounded further when you have a strong support network around you.
Daniele Weber, who is an artist in Melbourne, said it best when she painted the below picture that got Dwayne Johnson’s attention and more than 100k of likes!
What are your greatest fears? How have you conquered them? Share them in the comments box below or on my Facebook Page.