To be alive means on some level we are facing uncertainty all the time.
We all want to feel safe, worthy and loved. Every time we face something new or step into the unknown — whether it’s a financial risk, career change, or a relationship — it brings up the possibility that we could get rejected or fail.
The uncertainty of these outcomes fills us with fear.
Fear can feel like getting caught on fire — it feels intense, urgent, scary, and hot. We can’t ignore it and if we don’t put it out, it gets out of control and does even more harm.
When we feel fear, our breath becomes short, our body gets tight, our thoughts race and we lose sight of the present moment. Fear is often exaggerated, makes us feel unsafe, and fills our minds with worst-case scenarios.
Because of this, we hold back from taking action and pursuing the things we want in life and most importantly, enjoying the precious life we have.
But what if you could transform your fears into confidence? Instead of allowing fears to hold you back from living the life you want, what if you were able to move forward boldly?
Just as we would respond to a fire with “Stop, Drop and Roll,” this is also how we can respond to fear. Here are the three steps to do that.
Step 1: STOP and Identify the Fear
Awareness is always the first step in transformation.
When you feel yourself caught up in fear, first identify it so it loses its power. Take a moment to pause. What happens to your physiology when you are afraid? What happens to your breath? By stopping to understand how fear shows up in your body, you can begin to interrupt your patterns of fearfully reacting to a situation. Staying with discomfort in our bodies instead of avoiding it allows us to move through it.
Then, you can move into a more proactive, responsive state. Take a deep breath to slow down your thinking. Feel your feet on the ground and bring your attention into the present moment. When we can stop and recognize we are not present, in that moment we become present.
Step 2: DROP Your Thoughts
Since your mind creates your world, it’s important to release the negative story you are telling yourself.
Events and experiences have no meaning except the meaning we give them. What is the meaning you are giving the event? Any worries about whether or not you’ll be good enough or will succeed or fail are all centered around yourself (ego) which keeps us playing small.
Drop the limited thoughts about yourself and think about what you can contribute instead. Rather than thinking about what could happen to you, shift your focus to think about them. What can you give to others in this situation?
Step 3: ROLL With It and Keep Going
Next, ROLL with it. Feel the fear and do it anyways.
The way to build confidence is to do the things that scare us. Sometimes we get caught up into grandiose plans. And then, we just get more overwhelmed. Instead, keep it simple.
As Tony Robbins says, “Complexity is the enemy of execution.” Take one small immediate action. Ask yourself a forward-thinking question like, “What’s one small step I can take now?” Maybe the step is just to trust the outcome. Or maybe, it’s taking an action, like applying for a job, showing up for a networking event or reaching out to a guy that intrigues you. Action is what is going to breed new results.
Fear is something we all experience. It never actually goes away, but we can change our relationship with it. By responding to fear instead of reacting, and taking a small action anyway, you’ll build your confidence to go towards your dreams (even in the face of fear).