Happy Memorial Day to all of my friends in the USA. I hope the long weekend has provided you with the opportunity to get some rest and relaxation and to recharge your batteries.
Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. If you want to become self confident you need to do three things. First, choose to become an optimist. Second, face your fears and act. Third, surround yourself with positive people.
I did a post on fear last week in which I quoted a fortune cookie – “When you feel defensive, examine what you fear.” The point of the post is that fear can lead to defensive behavior and that defensive behavior can kill relationships.
I belong to Total Coach, a community of coaches created by by Mike Litman. I have made many friends in this community. It's one of the ways I surround myself with positive people. Robin Harpe is one of the positive people I have met in Total Caoch.
One of Robin’s recent emails discussed fear. Take a look…
I read all the time and was reviewing a great book by my friend, Lisa Jimenez; Conquer Fear. I started wondering….
Do you worry about what others think of you?
Are you scared to really listen to yourself, are afraid of what you might learn?
Do you like being alone with yourself?
You do not volunteer or get involved because you are afraid of getting too involved. Not really sure you have anything to offer?
Everyone has fears. You are not alone. There are two core fears, fear of failure or fear of success. These take many names such as rejection, abandonment, not good enough, repeat performance. Fear can become a phobia when we allow our mind to escalate the fear to an extremely high level. There are so many fears which can be potential phobia's: such as atelophobia, the fear of imperfection; or, atychiphopia, the fear of failure; or catagelophia, the fear of being ridiculed.
Fear is really your reaction to something that hasn't happened yet. It is simply your mind trying to predict the future. Since the mind has limited information in regards to a certain situational outcome it cooks up the end result as it thinks will happen based on past experience. This is important.
Because past experience is controlled by your sub-conscious mind. Your sub-conscious mind, or your feeling mind, holds all of your experiences that have become your behaviors, habits, paradigms and conditioning.
Robin is right. Fear can paralyze you into inaction. That’s why I believe that in order to become self confident, you need to face your fears and act.
In 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success, I provide four tips for dealing with fear.
Identify what you fear. Figure out why you’re afraid. Is it fear of failure? Is it fear of making the wrong decision? Is it fear of a lost opportunity? Are you afraid that you aren’t up to task? Once you identify the reason behind your fear, you are well on the way to overcoming it.
Admit your fears. It’s OK to be afraid. You wouldn’t be human if you were never afraid. A common definition of courage is the ability to feel fear and still do what you need to do regardless. In 1988, I faced a very frightening decision. Should I stay in a comfortable but ultimately unsatisfying job with a large corporation, or should I start my own business? I was afraid of failing. Failing meant that I would lose my savings and have to start over again, looking for a job in another corporation. However, once I identified and admitted my fear, I was able to take the next step – acceptance.
Accept your fears. Accepting your fears is important, because it shows that you know you’re human. Once I accepted that I was afraid of failing, I was able to start my business and succeed. In fact, I embraced my fear of failure. It made me work harder; it pushed me to work the long hours and learn the entrepreneurship lessons necessary to be successful as a self employed coach, consultant and speaker.
Take action. Action cures fear. It is the most important of these four steps. Do something! The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll find it was the wrong thing to do – and you will have eliminated at least one thing from your list of possible actions.
Action is the antidote to fear. In most cases, you’ll choose wisely and your fears won’t be realized. In the cases when you choose poorly, you’ll find that failure isn’t as catastrophic as you imagined. Successful people learn from their failures. By taking action on your fears, you win on both counts. You win if you make a good decision and things work out. You even win if you make a bad decision and things go poorly, because you have an opportunity to learn from your decision and the subsequent problems you faced.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are self confident. Self confident people face their fears and act. Fear is normal, and as Robin Harpe points out, it is a reaction to something that hasn’t yet happened. If you want to build your self confidence by dealing with your fears, you need to do four things: 1) Identify what you fear; 2) Admit to what you fear; 3) Accept what you fear; 4) Take action. If you follow these four steps when you are feeling fearful, you will be able to conquer your fears and become more self confident.
That’s my take on how to fight fear to build your self confidence. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always, thanks for reading.