Be Fearless

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Blog, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Essentials for Everyday Life

Be Fearless

 

I always like to conclude my presentations with things I believe are always important to remember in life and that will help you find and live the good life. I think of these as essentials for everyday life, because if you live by these pieces of advice anything is possible. These aren’t designed for any particular group in society. These are designed for everyone. Anyone and everyone has it in them to follow these pieces of advice, and thus anyone and everyone can find and live the good life.

My first point is “Be Fearless.” Fear is something that affects many, many people. It can be in a big way or it can be something small, in fact so small that we may not even realize it.

No matter how big or small it is, fear can be a monster. An aggressive monster. It’s the one thing that can truly hold us back and keep us from going for and achieving our goals and dreams, from being successful, from being happy and from living the good life.

Common fears are big ones like a fear of heights, a fear of flying, a fear of water, a fear of insects, etc. Fears of physical things we can experience (and enjoy) in life. Another very common fear is one that I used to have… public speaking or speaking in front of groups. People find this kinda funny, given the life I now live, but I used to have it really bad. In school any time I had to speak in front of class, I’d get extremely nervous with shaking and sweaty hands, feeling my face turn bright red and have a shaky voice. It didn’t matter what it was I was doing. Book reports, project reports and presentations, just reading outloud, whatever it was it truly felt like the most horrific thing. I’m sure some of you can relate.

Common smaller fears are ones like a fear of judgment, a fear of failure, a fear of people not liking you, etc. While these definitely are significant fears and seem very big to those who have them, they are smaller because they are not physical things that everyone can see. They are things we usually keep inside of us and keep to ourselves, and they can secretly eat at you.

No matter what your fear is, no matter how big or small it is, it keeps you from truly living and experiencing life. But, it doesn’t have to. You can get over any fear. You just might need some supports, so-to-speak. They are:

  • You can motivate yourself or you can receive motivation from others. A great way to motivate yourself is to think of how great it will feel to do something you want to do, but are afraid to. Think of what great doors will open for you if you do this thing you’re afraid of. You could promise yourself a reward for once you do what you’re afraid of. I promise you, you will feel exhilarated once you do something you’re afraid of.
  • A fear buddy. Many fears are common and you might not have a hard time finding someone who shares your fear. Ask your friends and family, or search social media sites. Having someone with the same fear will give you someone you relate to, who understands how you feel, and can be somebody you can feel comfortable talking to. Together you could make a pact to get over your fear and hold each other accountable.
  • A cheerleader. Support and encouragement go along ways. Choose a friend or family member to confide in. Share with them your fear, why you have that fear and that you want to overcome it. Ask this person to be your accountability partner and see you through achieving this goal.

Now, you don’t have to utilize these support suggestions. Some people can and want to go it alone. And that’s ok if that’s what makes you comfortable. In overcoming my fear of public speaking, I didn’t officially enlist support for it. In next weeks’ video I will share with you how I got over this fear, but for now I will summarize how I did so. It was a two-stage process for me.

First, I unintentionally put myself in a situation I couldn’t get out of. I willingly joined DECA my senior year of high school, because it was something I’d always wanted to be a member of. What I didn’t know was that it involved giving presentations, both in class and in competitors where you’re judged not only on your ideas but also your presentation skills. Being judged was something I was always afraid of (next to speaking).

Did I become completely comfortable? No. No matter how confident I was in my content, I still had not become comfortable.

A few short years later I decided I wanted to completely get over my fear of public speaking. And to do so, I decided the best way would be to put myself directly in the most uncomfortable situation possible. I entered a pageant.

As fun as it sounded, the thought of giving a platform speech on a stage in front of judges and around 300 people gave me a knot in the pit of my stomach. Quite honestly, and excuse my language, it scared the s$%t out of me. And that’s why I did it.

Giving my platform speech was terrifying, but it was also an incredible feeling. I exited the stage with so much confidence and feeling on top of the world. I felt like I could do anything. I’d overcome my fear of public speaking because I intentionally put myself in an uncomfortable situation and one that I could have gotten myself out of, but I didn’t.

Not everyone’s process to getting over a fear will be the same as mine. Different things work for different people. It also depends on what the fear is. It might take years of building courage and confidence, maybe taking baby steps. Or it might just happen overnight or in a matter of minutes. You might do it alone or you might accomplish it with someone else. No matter what the process is, here are some suggestions to help you along the way.

  • Identify your fear. Oddly enough, some people don’t know exactly what they are afraid of; they just know something is holding them back. This is most likely the case with smaller, non-physical fears. If you feel like something is holding you back, take some time to think about situations you have been in and how you felt before, after and during those.
  • Ask yourself why. In order to begin getting over a fear you need to know why you’re afraid. Maybe you’re afraid of falling or drowning, or maybe you’re afraid of someone will think you’re dumb or you’re afraid you’ll forget what you’re going to say. Knowing why you’re afraid is a big step.
  • Ask yourself what. Knowing why you’re afraid isn’t enough. You need specifics. You need to know exactly what it is about your fear that makes yourself afraid. These are the nitty-gritty details that get to the heart of the matter. It could be things like being afraid of breaking a bone or spraining your ankle and being afraid of the pain, feeling surrounded by water and not being able to breathe and how scary that will feel, maybe it’s knowing you’ll look down and see everything and everyone so small and so far away, or silly things like being afraid you’ll lose your watch or your shoe will fall off (I’ve personally heard that one). If it’s a smaller fear it could be things like being afraid of tripping in front of a room full of people, feeling like everyone can see you turn red and shake and them passing inaccurate judgment on you, feeling left out because nobody likes what you said or what you’re wearing, etc. It could be anything really significant or really silly, but yet are completely legitimate things that make up why you’re afraid.
  • Taking measures. Once you know why you’re afraid and just what it is that makes up that fear, you can think of things you could do to help ensure those things don’t happen or to make them not a big deal if they do. For bigger, physical fears these measures can be things like educating yourself on all safety guidelines and suggestions, knowing how to properly signal for help, reminding yourself that you don’t have to look down, and making sure your watch is properly clasped and that your shoes are tied tight. For smaller, non-physical fears it can be measures like reminding yourself to walk slow and take one step at a time, pacing yourself when you speak and taking a slow deep breath, instead of just looking at one person in the crowd move your eyes across the crowd and directing your attention to the room as a whole, familiarizing yourself with the event or demographic of the people you will be around and socializing with and having some conversation topics in your head that are likely to be of interest. Taking these measures will prepare you and help you feel both confident and comfortable.
  • Examples. Seeing others do what you’re afraid of will help make you want it more. It will enhance that yearning and burning desire. Maybe it’ll make you jealous. There are plenty of ways you can do this thanks to the Internet. The Internet is full of videos and photos of people doing what it is that you’re afraid of. If you do a simple search you will easily find videos and photos of people doing things like skydiving, cliff-jumping, snorkeling, suba-diving, rock-climbing, zip-lining, dancing, singing, giving speeches and pretty much anything else you can think of. You could even go see some of these firsthand. Seeing is believing and seeing others do something you’re afraid of will help you believe you can, too.
  • Face Your Fear. Now that you’ve prepared yourself and have given yourself the confidence, it’s time to face your fear. Pick a day or an opportunity that you can do so, put it on the calendar in ink and stick to it. The more you delay, the less likely you are to do it. Use your fear buddy and cheerleader to hold you accountable and see you through. You can do it. You know it. You no longer have anything to be afraid of. Face your fear without fear and you will conquer it!

I want to acknowledge that there are people out there who have a fear, but not necessarily of something specific. A fear of what might happen, a fear of just something bad happening in general, a fear of the future – of what tomorrow, next week, next month or next year may or may not bring, a fear of the unknown. This is especially true for people affected by chronic conditions and disabilities, whether they are living with it or a loved one is. It’s important to take each day as they come without worrying about the future and without worrying about what might happen. Go on living and enjoying life, and only worry about things when they come.

Overcoming a fear is an incredible feeling. You feel like you can do anything. It’s hard to imagine what it feels like until you have done so yourself. I challenge you to go out there and overcome something you fear. You can do it. I know it. And deep down you know you can, too.

Just remember… face fear without fear and you will conquer whatever comes your way!

I’d love to hear about a fear you have overcome. Share it on Twitter with #jeneration #befearless!

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