We all have fear in our lives, but most of us misunderstand it. Most people try to avoid fear, and they believe it is the opposite of love. That fear is something bad and we should run from it. But that view keeps us trapped. Fear is actually good. It is in our brain and biology to keep us safe from real danger. Fear is also our compass directing us forward. When we embrace fear and use it fuel it allows us to move forward through uncertainty where we can truly grow. Today, I want to discuss the two most common fears, failure and rejection, and how to move past them.
Let’s start with the fear of rejection.
People often say to me, “I can’t do that. I know that person will reject me or not accept me.” This is exactly the negative mindset so many people have their entire lives. They miss out on so many people and opportunities because they sabotage themselves by creating a fear and pain in their mind that isn’t based on facts or reality. I’ve spoken to a large number of people over the years about their fears, and I’ve found fear is self-made prison that holds people back.
I ask people, “Have you ever have been rejected by a person in a way that truly hurt you?” Everyone says yes to this. Then I ask them, “Can you think of three people who have done this? Five people?” Most people identify between three to seven people who have truly rejected them. You do find sometimes this number can be as high as 10, but it rarely ever goes higher than that. Then I ask, “How many people have you encountered in your life so far who have been patient and positive, or at least neutral in how they interacted with you? Would you say at least several hundred? What about a thousand? What about several thousand?” Most people say at least a couple thousand people. So let’s do the math here for a moment. Out of a couple thousand people a person has encountered, only three to seven have truly rejected them. That’s a really small number! So people are being controlled by a fear that doesn’t really have a foundation. We focus so much on the potential rejection that we magnify the probability that we’ll be rejected.
People also fear failure.
What if I don’t accomplish this? What if I fail? What if I can’t do it? What if I do all this work and nothing is any different? What if the grass is not truly greener when I do this? Instead of that viewpoint, what if we looked at the positive and empowered ourselves, and thought about what would be possible if it worked out. What if I made that happen in my life? What would that enable me to do? You can direct your mind to focus on what you can accomplish. Instead of running from pain and suffering that you might experience, change your mindset. Get clear, focused, and certain on what you want, and why. Ask yourself why you are not progressing faster in your life? What’s really holding you back? So if you focus on the positive, you can master your mind and move past your fears.
Bottom line here is you miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take. There is a huge cost for inaction. By not taking action, typically people start to rationalize not doing something, and hope that it will all work out. Hope is not an effective life strategy. “My job isn’t that bad; it will eventually get better.” “My relationship isn’t that bad, I guess.” These situations tend to worsen over time, not get better.
We underestimate our ability to take on challenges and risks in our lives. We let self-doubt sabotage our ability to rise to potential opportunities. When I’ve given my clients a task they don’t think they can do, they almost always succeed. And they tell me afterward, there really was no risk at all. They didn’t have to fear for their life, safety, or livelihood.
Your brain only answers the questions you ask it.
So start asking yourself different and empowering questions:
• Why am I focusing more on what I have to lose than what I have to gain in meeting people?
• What has my behavior and inaction cost me in my life? What will it cost me in the future?
• If I had all the confidence and courage in the world, exuded positivity and happiness, and believed in myself, what would be possible?
- What five actions could I do to move my life forward?
Your answers are going to point to the much bigger and more meaningful life you could be living. Don’t let fear stop you. Instead let it catapult you forward to an extraordinary life.
Jason Treu is a life mastery coach (and reformed lawyer) helping men and women create the business, relationships and life they love. His new bestselling book, Social Wealth, is a how-to-guide on building extraordinary personal and professional relationships.
Image Credit: www.lifehack.org