Connect with us

Success Advice

7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

Published

on

how to conquer your fears

I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Dr. Brady Salcido is a Doctor, Brain and Lifestyle Hacker, and Podcast Host helping Entrepreneurs, Businesses, Self-Help Junkies, and High Achievers build the ultimate high-performance brain and mind through advanced health, lifestyle, and mental strategies. Dr Brady uniquely blends health optimization with self-improvement to provide unique guidance that to help people excel in all aspect of life.

Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Igor Smirnov

    Feb 23, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Very nice article.Each and every point explained in this post is crystal clear.I always had something which was holding me back.But after reading this post i would work on it.Thank you once again.

  2. Lawrence

    Jan 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Hello Dr. Brady,

    Great post here. Fear is something that imagined in the mind to help protect us as you have stated, but the key word is that it is imagined. Imagination is one of the most powerful tools that humans have because we have the ability to kind to kind of create a future from nothing. I think any way to help conquer fear is to imagine a positive outcome of the thing you are afraid of and feel the joy you may have from the experience. The steps you have outlined here are great as well and consistency is the key to success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

Acceptance is the Key to Resiliency and Success

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

I was sitting on the sofa, waves of emotions poured through my thoughts streaming downwards from my mind into my heart. They are the sensations that wrap the mind in a fog or steal up the heart into a ball of anxiety. I allowed somewhat of a sarcastic puff of air to exhale out of me, blankly staring forward looking at my dog laying on the floor and the pile of dishes in the sink. I laughed at myself. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

10 Things Holding You Back And How to Take Control of Them

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s no secret that we all have far more potential than we could ever imagine. Well, it may be a secret for some. Why is it then, that so many people never get where they want to go in life? Why do so many lack simply being able to visualize what they want their life to look like? It’s because they’ve been held down. We all have things holding us back to some degree and often we’re completely unaware of many of these things. The great thing about being human is that we have the ability to control our circumstances and create change, which is exactly how to break free of the shackles holding you back. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

5 Insanely Simple and Effective Ways to Take a Mental Break From Work

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

A study conducted by Gettysburg College found that you spend one-third of your life at work. On average, a person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. This is a lot of time away from family while undergoing a lot of mental and physical stress. Overtime work starts to take priority over family and before you realize it, your productivity, creativity, mental, and physical health starts to decline. Why does this happen? (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

7 Entrepreneurs and Their Traits That We All Can Develop for Success

Published

on

Image Credit: ADRIANNA WILLIAMS

Succeeding in life and entrepreneurship takes more than just desire and passion. According to many successful entrepreneurs, life rewards people who take time to cultivate their minds for success. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending