Not really. The fear is always there and while some will say they have overcome their fear or pushed through their fear, what they’re really saying is, they have managed their fear, controlled it, and even used it to their advantage.
The question then becomes how? How do you manage fear?
First you have to understand what the fear is telling you and why you’re afraid. No one is afraid of public speaking, they’re afraid they’ll look like a fool, stumble and stutter, mess up, that maybe they aren’t the expert people believe they are. I’m afraid of heights but I don’t get scared looking out the window of an airplane. What I’m really afraid of is falling, my fear of heights seems to be a lack of confidence in my ability to maintain balance. Take the onus off of me and I’m fine.
The fear you feel is telling you how to manage it. If you’re afraid that you’ll stumble over words in a speech, then practice. Gather a group of friends or family and deliver your speech to them, if you stumble over any words, change them, if you lose track of where you are, focus. On a personal note I did this, I delivered a speech to just my wife and I was probably more nervous than when I was in front of the real audience because it felt stupid talking to one person like she was a larger group. That alone made me more comfortable when the real speech day arrived.
When I rock climb I direct my fear to checking and double checking my ropes, I concentrate and focus on the task of climbing, testing each foothold and handhold as I go. I breath and try to calm myself, gaining confidence in my preparation.
Fear can be a good thing, a healthy fear, to keep you focused and motivated to do well or not to die. Overcoming fear seems risky to me because I might no longer respect the power and danger in a situation. I’m a strong swimmer, I don’t fear the water in the sense that I avoid it, but I do respect it as I enjoy its benefits.
Do it Anyway
Sometimes you aren’t given a choice and simply have to do something that scares you. I tell a story in What Next A Proactive Approach to Success about a job I was asked to do. When I started my job at ABC, I listed knowledge of a particular editing system called Avid on my resume. That listing was true but I had never edited a full news story on that system. When I was asked to edit a 20/20 special I got scared. My fear wasn’t of the editing it was of my ability to make the leap from basic editing to high end work.
I managed the situation by spending the weekend before the project was to begin, practicing, learning, remembering. When I began the project I was extremely motivated not to fail. I still felt uneasy but I did it anyway.
What techniques do you use to manage your fear? Please share below. Also take a moment to vote in the poll to the right – How do you see obstacles?
Posted in General, Leadership, Success, Taking Action and tagged direct, fear, manage, overcome by AJ with 5 comments.