We all get scared.
And when we do, it’s tempting to allow our fear to hold us back from the things we want, need, and are born to do.
In the moments I encounter fears that feel insurmountable, I remind myself of a few simple truths.
They’ve helped me overcome a lot and I hope they can do the same for you.
1. Fear is the result of underestimating what you can handle.
We consistently underestimate our abilities, resilience, and strength.
That underestimation is the root cause of our fears.
Because we think we can’t handle something, we become afraid to try.
We assume we’ll fail, get hurt, or be destroyed by our attempt to do something.
But those outcomes are rarely true.
Do you realize what it actually takes to destroy yourself?
How few failures are unrecoverable?
How strong you are in even your weakest moments?
The thing you’re most afraid of may happen, but your ability to handle it is infinitely greater than you assume.
You fear you won’t be fine, but you will.
Maybe not immediately. Maybe not without bumps and bruises.
But ultimately, you’ll be fine.
You can handle more than you think. We all can.
2. Giving in to fear is scarier than facing it.
When we’re scared to do something we focus on the potential outcome of doing it.
But that worrisome mindset causes us to overlook the potential outcome of NOT doing it.
Have you considered what might happen if you allowed your fears to prevent you from doing things?
What does a life in which fears outweigh dreams look like?
Where might your avoidance lead?
Giving in to our fears may seem like the safe route in the moment, but in the context of your larger life it’s a terrifying precedent.
Nothing’s scarier than a life in which you abandon your dreams based on the fear of a hypothetical outcome.
Remind yourself there are things to fear on both sides of every equation and you’ll be more likely to find the courage to face them.
3. Fear is a compass.
I won’t go too into depth on this concept because it’s not mine — it comes from the brilliant Seth Godin — but I have to share because it’s an idea that can completely reframe how you think about fear.
Here’s a good summary of it from Seth himself:
4. Fear is helpful.
Fear gets a bad rap.
It’s assumed to be a negative, horrible thing that exists to hold us back.
There’s some truth to that, but it’s just as true that fear can be helpful.
It can provide a counter balance to the enthusiasm, passion, and ambition that drives us to do things…and at times can push us too far.
Fear sharpens our edges, keeps us alert, and helps us survive. It’s not all bad.
If you walked a tightrope without any fear, it’s unlikely you’d do it better than if you had at least a tinge of fear accompanying you on the journey.
Fear only becomes problematic when you allow it to override your decision making process and give it more credence than it deserves.
In proper perspective, it’s an asset.
5. Fear can’t stop you.
No matter how scared you are, your fears can’t actually prevent you from doing something, surviving something, or succeeding at it.
When we get scared, we forget this crucial truth.
Our fears aren’t in control, we are.
When you keep that in mind, you discover there’s nothing to be afraid of.