Having strategies to deal with being scared is crucial, because in life we experience a lot of fears. Be it fear of public speaking, fear about our businesses, or fear about starting over in a new career, you’ve got to have a strategy for dealing with feeling frightened. Take a look at the below ways to deal with being scared so that the next time you start to feel paralyzed by fear you’ve got a plan for moving yourself through fear into action.
5 ways to deal with being scared – Getting specific
1. Face your fear head on
Fear is almost always about the unknown. Typically, we experience generalized fear about a certain topic, for example, you might experience fear related to possible failure if you decide to become a small business consultant. But don’t get overwhelmed by the first stage of general fear. Force yourself to move deeper into your fear and ask yourself, what is it that you are really afraid of? Get specific. Write your specific fears down, such as:
- I am afraid I won’t make enough money as a small business consultant
- I am afraid I will be exposed as not having enough knowledge to call myself an expert
- I am afraid that no one will want to hire me
- I am afraid that I will fail and be embarrassed in front of my friends and family
2. Outline the worst case scenarios
Next, take each of your fears and address them. What would the consequences be if your worst fears came true? Write the worst case scenario consequences down for each of your fears. For example:
- I am afraid I won’t make enough money as a small business consultant (Consequence: I will lose my home, my car and my lifestyle)
- I am afraid I will be exposed as not having enough knowledge to call myself an expert (Consequence: I will feel embarrassed and ashamed in front of a colleague or a client)
- I am afraid that no one will want to hire me (Consequence: I will feel embarrassed and I won’t have any clients, which means I won’t be making any money)
- I am afraid that I will fail and be embarrassed in front of my friends and family (Consequence: my family and friends will feel sorry for me and I may lose some esteem in their eyes)
3. Own the worst-case consequences
Part of moving through your fear and getting out on the other side is to know that you can handle the worst case scenarios of all your fears. Take each "consequence" above and picture it happening. What would you do if the worst case consequence happened? How would you handle the worst case consequence? How would your life be impacted?
For the majority of our fears, the worst case scenario is usually not even that bad in the first place. Quite often, worst case scenarios simply involve feeling embarrassed. Generally, once we "own" the "worst" consequences we realize that the consequences are not as serious as we were making them out to be.
Further, 95% of our fears never even come true!
4. Create preventive solutions
Now that you’ve "owned" the worst possible results and faced the realities of your fear, you can do your best to prevent the negative consequences from occurring, where possible.
5. Set up your support system
Lastly, don’t ever think that you can go it alone. No matter how strong or intelligent we are, we are always in need of support. Friends, families, mentors and even neighbors are important pillars that will help you when the going gets rough.
Remember, it’s okay to be scared. In fact, fear can be a good thing. Fear can mean that you’re pushing yourself to try something new and that you’re out of your comfort zone. Don’t let fear paralyze you or keep you from achieving your goals. Use these 5 ways to deal with being scared and tackle your fears today.