10 Steps to Overcoming Fear and Making True Changes

by / ⠀Startup Advice / November 20, 2012

Fear is the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life.  Have you noticed it’s not the fear of failure that holds you back it’s the fear and anticipation of what might happen?  We all have failed a couple thousand times in our life but we’re still alive because we have more mistakes and decisions to make.

Are you letting the fear of failure scare you into being overly cautious?  We can overcome fear by identifying, defining, and analyzing our fears.

Take a sheet of paper and write down your biggest fears in life.  What is it that’s keeping you from taking the next step?  What’s keeping you from going to the gym?  Switching careers?  Starting a family?  Taking that dream vacation, or investing in your future?  As you write down this list I want you to think about the 5 areas of your life that matter most and identify the fear in each of these categories: health, finances, work/career, relationships, and image.  I want you to stop and really focus on the first things that come to mind.

Now that you have your list I want you to answer these three questions:

1.) How does this fear hold me back in life?

2.) How does this fear help me?

3.) What is the payoff for eliminating this fear altogether?

By asking these three questions we learn that instead of backing away from the fear we move towards it, instead of avoiding the fear we confront it.  If you do the one thing that you fear the courage will come afterward.  Never before in the history of mankind have we been faced with so much technology and so many obstacles creating fear, trauma, and chaos.  Fear is a universal illness.  Fear is contagious and dangerous making our mind clouded and intellect confused.  We may take action and make decisions we wouldn’t make otherwise.  Fear multiples our difficulties and amplifies our situations.  It instantly takes us to the worst possible situation.  What is the deep root that creates fear?  And, why are you attracting it into your life?

You like many others are asking Why me? Why now? And what next?  This can’t be happening?  You’re not happy with yourself and you’re afraid others won’t be happy with you either.  Stop beating yourself up and realize that your vocabulary is a powerful stronghold in your life that affects what you attract.  Stop trying to fix what can’t be undone and start overcoming what fears lie ahead because your future isn’t based on your past.  I love this old proverb saying which states “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”  If we look at Thomas Edison he didn’t give up on making the light bulb, he tried, and tried again until he succeeded.  Mr. Honda, Walt Disney, Sam Walton, and most successful and influential people realize that getting down on themselves and giving up isn’t going to change the situation.  The only way to change is to make the change yourself.

What steps can I take to change?

When you set out to develop a plan, you want to take a few factors into consideration. Here are ten easy steps that give you a good start:

STEP ONE – TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR LIFE NOW: First thing to do when setting out to make change is to evaluate where you are right now. So, for at least one week (doing it for two weeks would be better), notice how and where you spend your time. Also, notice if things take longer than you “think” they should take you. Don’t place any judgment on how and where you spend time, just make note of it. Be sure to include weekends so you can compare work days and non-work days. Keep this step simple. Don’t try to change anything. Just notice your time commitments.

STEP TWO – CATEGORIZE HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME: Now let’s categorize each area of your life where time is currently spent. A sample that I like has the following categories: (1) Dreams; (2) Career/Financial; (3) Purpose/Goals; (4) Love/Family; (5) Health.

STEP THREE –  DREAM ABOUT YOUR PERFECT LIFE: Give yourself permission to take a few moments to dream about your perfect life. While this is only imagination, this exercise opens a portal of inner knowledge that can lead you to your perfect life. Don’t judge any of your dreams. These are your true feelings and ones that will guide you in your own proper direction.

STEP FOUR – MATCH UP YOUR IDEAL LIFE WITH YOUR CURRENT LIFE: After visualizing where you would like to take your life, compare it with your current life. Be prepared for this step to cause some pain if there is a big difference between the two. But, this step gives you a “starting point”  and an “ending point,” both of which are necessary to set out plans to get from one to the other.

STEP FIVE – ASK, “WHAT SMALL CHANGE CAN I MAKE NOW THAT WILL ALTER MY OVERALL LIFE TRAJECTORY?” Many times making a small change in your current circumstances has stronger ramifications as your life unfolds because it changes your focus. For example, if you decide to take a 15 minute daily walk just to “percolate” how to take the next step for your life, this small action will move your current mindset from “I’m stuck now” to “What’s next and how do I get there?”  Over time, this will gain momentum as your trajectory of life broadens because your “rocket” is now pointed to a new planet –  the planet of hope!

STEP SIX – FIND A GOOD PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN TEMPLATE: There are many personal development plan samples, examples, and templates available online. Look for one that keeps it simple because one of the things I have found that can hinder progress is a plan that is too complicated because this can overwhelm you and lead to failure or abandonment of the plan.  In other words keep it simple, attainable, and realistic.

STEP SEVEN –  GET PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN COACHING: When you are planning out a major event such as your life, it’s good to seek an objective perspective.  Strategizing with a coach can rapidly increase your success rate when you want to develop a plan to get you from point A (your perceived problem) to Point B (the solution). Oftentimes, a coach will be able to guide you in that direction.

STEP EIGHT –  GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO MAKE THESE CHANGES: Frequently, what stops people from success when they develop a personal plan is underestimating the time it will take to set goals and implement the changes. When this happens, it’s easy to get discouraged and give up. So, one of the best things you can do is to give yourself plenty of time to make change.

STEP NINE – VISUALIZE YOUR DESIRED RESULTS: Visualization is very powerful, but there is one important component to doing visualization that many people miss. That component is to actually feel the scenario that you are visualizing. This makes the difference between success and failure.

STEP TEN – HAVE FUN: Many times we get overly serious when trying to make changes in our lives. This serious point of view takes all the joy out of the endeavor.  Joy is a critical factor when seeking goal achievement.

This is not a time for safe leadership, this is not a safe economy, but this is a time for you to tap into your full potential and maximize your performance.  These 10 steps are going to help you accomplish just that.  If you’re willing to step into your fear, leave your story, resolve your inner conflicts, and truly take massive action, then you WILL get immediate, sustainable long-term growth, and massive results!

Author Credits: Melissa Krivachek – President Briella Arion

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.