By Katinda Ndola | Author of The Big Comeback
What’s Holding You Back? 5 Ways to Break Free from Negative Self Sabotage
What is fear and why does the “Power of Fear” control people’s lives and destiny?
I was on a Cruise in the Pacific, the day I realized that fear was just a made up illusion a notion that is both very real for most people, yet not real at all.
I was basking in the sun while watching my son swimming in the pool when a guy watching his kids too started a conversation with me. The usual questions followed where are you from and what do you do for a living? As I chatted away I asked the same questions and he proudly said to me “I am a self-made millionaire” that got me more interested and my next question to him was how did you get started? He quickly responded by saying “I figured out, if it wasn’t going to kill me or cause any permanent bodily harm, what was there to lose really? So, I gave it a shot.”
Aha! That moment was life-changing for me. If it wasn’t going to kill me or cause any permanent bodily harm, why not give it a shot? I had a consciousness shift in that moment and decided to stop letting fear prevent me from doing the things I wanted to do. And when fear creeps back in (as it always does because that’s how the human mind works), I find ways to quickly get rid of it.
Many people struggle with fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of not being loved, fear of not being good enough and fear of rejection.
Here are some of my tips on how to get rid of fear quickly:
- Fear of failure. This is a big one because many people are afraid of failure. Failure will not kill or harm you in any way as a matter of fact failure leads to greater things. Failure gives you the opportunity to try again and again. There’s a piece of wisdom that says life is the hardest teacher because she gives you the test before the lesson. That’s failure. Failure is how you learn. Failure is a necessary component of success. Let me repeat that in different way: it is not possible to really succeed without failing first. By simply shifting your perception of failure as something to be avoided to something that is here to help you and teach you the path to success, failure can become your best ally.
- Do the thing you’re afraid of (over and over again). When I was in my twenties I always admired the people who could rollerblade. I only wished I could do it too but the fear of falling and getting hurt always crept in. After procrastinating for so long I woke up one day and made the BIG decision to overcome my fear and learn how to rollerblade. Practice makes it perfect. I hired an instructor and after falling a few times I overcome my fears and now I rollerblade like a Pro. I did it over and over again and it really works. (I now know that this is technically called “exposure therapy” and it is very effective at reducing fear).
- Get up and take action steps. Sometimes people expect that if it’s “meant to be,” it will simply come to them. Well, OK, you can believe that if you want, but life just doesn’t work that way. Taking action is necessary to achieve any goals you set for yourself. The idea is to take small action steps.One of my favorite quotes of all time is from author T. Harv Eker: “If you are only willing to do what’s easy, life will be hard. If you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.” Having the courage to do what it takes and to make difficult decisions will lead you to where you want to be. A great way to get unstuck is to start doing something. That brings us back to No. 1: lots of folks don’t get started because they’re afraid they’ll put in all the hard work and will fail. But if you don’t try, you’ll definitely fail to achieve your goal.
- Recognize that you are both imperfect and enough – Fear of not being good enough creeps in. I’ll never forget the last episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”: she stood alone on her stage, talking to her audience, and one of the things she said that really struck me is that in her 25 years of doing the show and the thousands of people from all walks of life she’s interviewed, everyone has the same common fear: Am I enough?We are all worried that we are not enough of something. Not smart enough, not thin enough, not accomplished enough, not pretty enough. In other words, we feel that who we are is not enough to accomplish our goals, be it writing a novel or being loved unconditionally. Here’s the thing: you are both completely messed up and totally enough, simultaneously. We all are. Know that, and fear will begin to dissipate. Then, nothing will hold you back.
5. Get comfortable with uncertainty: play the pro version of the “what if” game. This is where fear of the unknown creeps in. Do you ever play the “what if” game? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I get hurt? What if people laugh at me? Well, if that’s the game you’re playing in your mind, with all due respect, you’re playing the amateur version. If you’re going to play, play like a pro. It goes a little something like this:
What if it doesn’t work out?
Well, I guess then I’ll try something else.
But what if that doesn’t work?
I can keep trying until I find something that does work.
What if people laugh at me?
I’m not going to be defined by what other people think of me. Plus, my real friends won’t laugh because they love me.
You see how that works? The “what if” game can actually be a great tool if you play it all the way through. You have to keep trying never give up.