Fear, Courage and Success

Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that is part of my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart your Professional Success

You can become self confident by doing three things.  First, choose optimism.  Believe in your heart of hearts that today will be better than yesterday, and that tomorrow will be better than today.  Second, face your fears and act.  Procrastination and inaction feed fear and rob you of self confidence.  Action cures fear.  Third, surround yourself with positive people.  Don’t let the naysayers into your life.  Hang around with people who are positive about themselves, their careers and life in general.

Fear can — and will — paralyze you.  It can keep you from reaching the career and life success you want and deserve.  If you develop the habit of courage, you can beat fear.  Repetition is the best way to develop the habit of being courageous.  The more you are willing to face your fears – small and large – and act, the quicker courage will become one of the guiding habits in your life. 

Learning is a good way to become courageous.  Fear is caused by ignorance and a lack of knowledge.  When you don’t know, or have limited information about something, you become tense and insecure when you have to deal with it.  Think about scary movies.  When the hero is approaching a door and he or she doesn’t know what’s behind it, and the music is playing some ominous tune, your heart starts thumping and you fear for the hero (at least I do).  The lack of knowledge of what’s behind that closed door causes our fear.

It’s that way in life too.  We fear the unknown and uncertain.  This is normal.  Most of us learned it from our parents.  They wanted to keep us safe, so they taught us to remain with the familiar.  That’s great for childrearing, but it can have negative implications for your career and life success.  For example, you might not apply for a job because you don’t know everything about it and aren’t sure we can do it well right away.  Or you might not be willing to move to a new city for a better opportunity because you don’t know anyone there.

You can defeat your fear of the unknown by learning about the job you’ve been offered or the city where the better opportunity is.  Just gathering information and learning about something will help you build your courage and help you to face your fears and act. 

For me, and for a lot of people, procrastination is the manifestation of fear.  Whenever I become aware of the fact that I am procrastinating, I always ask myself “what are you afraid of here, Bud?”  Once I am able to identify the fear, I’m better able to deal with it.  As I’ve mentioned above, a lot of times, I am afraid of the unknown, of not knowing exactly what will happen if I act.  My other two big fears are fear of failure and fear of rejection. 

When I find that I’m fearing the unknown, I learn as much about the situation as I can.  The more familiar I get with the situation, the less fear it causes, and the easier it is for me to act. 

When I find that I’m fearing failure, I ask “what’s the absolute worst thing that can happen if I fail?”  Usually, I find that the absolute worst thing that can happen is not as scary as the generalized fear of failure.

When I find that I’m fearing rejection, I ask “does what this person, or this group of people think of me more important than what I want to accomplish?”  Again, in most cases what other people think isn’t as important as what I will think of myself if I fail to even try.

The common sense point here is clear.  Successful people are self confident.  Self confident people face their fears and act.  Fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of rejection are the three biggest fears most people face.  You can build the habit of courageous by facing your fears and acting.  You can conquer fear of the unknown by learning more about what scares you.  You can conquer fear of failure by determining the absolute worst thing that can happen if you try and fail – and then contrasting it with how good you’ll feel when you succeed.  You can conquer fear of rejection, by putting more emphasis about how you feel about yourself than others feel about you.  The more you can face your fears and act – develop the habit of courage – the more self confident you will become.

That’s my take on fear and self confidence.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment, sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.

Bud

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