Take the power back. You’ve faced your share of adversity. …and lived to tell about it. In fact, confronting those challenges made you a stronger, wiser, freer person. We’ve all heard the famous quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” And it’s proven to be true. Researchers have found that although serious events can cause psychological problems, small amounts of trauma can actually make people more resilient. Knowing that you CAN be brave and let go of fear opens the door to a new freedom of life.
Instead of being intimidated by fear, question it! What purpose does it serve? How does it benefit you? And why should you be afraid? If it’s blocking you from living a fully authentic life, kick it to the curb. Let’s take a look at several uber talented, genius, and historical figures that despite the odds, stuck it out and proved to themselves and the world that they could do it.
Most recently, Shaun White, a two time Olympic gold medalist, had a snowboarding accident that landed him in the hospital. Despite his admitted fear of more accidents and injuries, he “got the monkey off his back” and represented the USA a third time at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a tiger shark attack off the shores of Kauai in 2003, but that didn’t stop her. She was back on her board one month later and won first place in the Explorer Women’s Division of the NSSA National Championships two years later.
Perhaps you’re the creative or intellectual type and your worst fear is failure and rejection, rather than actual physical injury. Albert Einstein didn’t talk until he was four years old yet his ideas forever revolutionized science and math as we know it. Bill Gates’ first business failed, but he later founded Microsoft. Richard Branson has dyslexia and is the fourth wealthiest person in the UK. Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was rejected 30 times. Stephen Spielberg was rejected from his chosen film school three times. And the list goes on… How did all these amazingly successful people persevere? Here are a few tips that have been known to punch fear in the face and replace it with inspiration and courage.
Normalize it – Everyone has fears. In fact, a certain amount of fear keeps us safe. It’s evolutionary. But fighting and avoiding it only gives it more strength and influence over us. So allow it to be. Give it a name. Sit with it. Let it float away. It’s inevitable, but it doesn’t need to take over.
Reframe it – At the risk of sounding like a broken record…. It’s important to know that the way we think about things effects the way we feel and thus, how we behave. Look for the silver lining in a challenging situation. Consider the best case scenario. Identify the opportunities for growth. If things don’t work out as planned, what is plan B? Be prepared to press on.
Be Curious – Consider all possible outcomes but focus on the positive ones. Explore various scenarios. Hold onto the good ones. Embrace them. They are just as probable and exponentially more motivating than the negative ones. When you believe in yourself and your dreams, you can change the world.
So what envelope will you push today? Remember the haunting and inspiring words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Make it your mantra for life! Never give up. Always seek new challenges.