Afraid of fear?

So what’s the big deal about fear?  General Patton said, “There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to your fear.”  Fear is a healthy, normal human emotion.  Success is born from your proper management of fear.

Consider these tools for fear management:

Take a moment and breathe deeply.

The simple act of pausing to inhale and exhale for one minute can calm the nerves to allow you to think clearly about the situation in front of you.  The feeling of fear can restrict blood and oxygen flow to the brain.  Deep breathing puts your physiology back in balance quickly.

Assess the reality of the moment.

What is really going on?  What is generating the feeling of fear?  Is the picture in your mind bigger than it needs to be?  Are other people around you perpetuating a fearful feeling in you?  Have you had other similar experiences that have proven successful in spite of a moment of fear?  A simple reality check is worth it.

Ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Back to that picture in your mind…frequently the scenario we play out in our head is much worse than what really will happen.  “So what”, if the client says no to your sales pitch…NEXT.  The audience is not really going to throw rotten tomatoes at you during that speech you are giving.  Your children will be just fine in the future if they don’t make straight “A’s” this semester (as long as you teach them the life lesson that goes along with that).  You get the point.  The images in your mind of doomsday events typically are over magnified.

Answer that question honestly.

You are not going to die.  You are not going to live an existence of poverty.  You are not going to lose all self respect.  You are not going to be abandoned by friends and family.  You are not going to go broke.  You are not going to end up in jail or in the hospital.  However, let’s imagine for a moment that any one of the above could happen.  Short of death, all of the above are only temporary conditions, if you choose.  And even the idea of death may not be the worst that can happen, based on your spiritual beliefs.  The point is for you to be forthright with yourself about potential consequences of allowing fear to immobilize you.

Believe that every decision is a learning experience.

This may be the best thing that you can possibly believe with regard to fear.  Every moment, every decision, every choice, every situation can result in a positive learning experience.  You learn what to do and what not to do with each experience.  And though the emotional intensity is deep sometimes, the outcome after an event tends to temper the depth of long-term emotion.

Get ample information.

This tip is tricky.  Why?  Because gathering information can get the point that it may freeze you in your fear.  Information gathering is done for the expressed purpose of knowing how to move forward.  Information overload can result in procrastination.  Get the facts and make a quick decision based on those facts without over-Anal-izing the situation.

Embrace the moment of choice.

“Give me the ball.”  This sports analogy says volumes about embracing any potentially fearful event.   The simple act of deciding to face a challenge can give you so much personal power that fear will fade into the background of your psyche. When you decide to accept the moment, all other options of failure shrink to a miniscule thought.

Mentally convert the idea of fear to excitement.

When you actually use the word fear, you will experience more fear.  Language switching can be very useful.  Fear will become excitement. Fear can become anticipation.  Fear can become an experience.  Fear can convert to challenge.  Fear can be switched to joy, cheerfulness, craziness, etc.  Use transformational words that work for you in lieu of the word fear.

Be in love with the idea that you feel something.

Heaven forbid if you actually have feelings like a real human being.       Own the feelings you are having.  They are normal.  After owning the feeling, manage it with any of the above strategies.  Each time you manage your fears efficiently and successfully, you build a strong emotional fear-management muscle.

To your success,

Paul Montelongo

Ps.  Watch last week’s show here.  A fantastic interview about negotiation, lying and winning more sales.


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