“I realized that if I was going to achieve anything in life, I had to be aggressive. I had to get out there and go for it…I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it’s an illusion to me.” So says basketball great, Michael Jordan, and an example of how fear can be managed.
So, let’s talk for a few moments about fear. Fear can be either a valuable ally or a vicious enemy. It activates our awareness network, alerting us to threats. Fear can keep you safe and prevent you from taking dangerous chances, but it can also stop you from taking the risks you must take if you are to grow and change for the better.
It’s important to understand that fear itself can’t hurt you. One way to look at fear is as a negative rehearsal of the future. You imagine yourself in a certain situation, and you foresee painful results. Now, your imagination is so powerful, that when you see yourself in this painful situation, it produces a response in your body that says, “Stop!” And sometimes, that is the appropriate thing to do.
But other times, what you really need to do is go forward, especially when you are working toward a goal that is important to you. Fear is just another obstacle to go over, around or through on your way to your goals. It’s a rock in the middle of the road, not an impervious force field.
A good technique that will help you go beyond fear is to deliberately and repeatedly imagine yourself calmly moving past it. Then, see the positive results clearly and vividly. If you can stay focused on the beneficial aspects and really feel the good feelings that go with it, you will be creating a positive rehearsal of the future that will far outweigh and overrule your fear.
Each time you blow past your fears, you will be growing stronger and more capable. And, at the same time, providing a role model for others who already admire you for standing up to your fears.