My talks and workshops challenge people to get out of their safety zone and start thriving in life. And the thing that keeps us in our safety zone – playing small, settling, majoring in minor things–are our fears.
So, what keeps us in our safety zone?
Now fear is an essential survival mechanism. It's a warning signal when there is danger, and so it keeps us safe and prevents us from doing things that might harm us. If we couldn't experience fear, we wouldn't survive for long. We'd be walking into oncoming traffic, stepping off rooftops and carelessly handling poisonous snakes.
However, when our lives are not in any immediate danger, fear is a handbrake that's holds us back and stops us from living to our full human potential. It stops us from thriving.
We're afraid of being the bad guy; of standing out; of being ridiculed; of being rejected; of being unpopular; of being stupid; of losing control; of failing; of feedback; of getting fired. We're afraid of looking bad.
And so instead of taking that chance and having a go, we cruise along in survival mode. We let others decide for us, we avoid new experiences, we don't take risks, we settle for second best, we stop standing up for what we believe in. We give up on our dreams.
I'm not suggesting that you can conquer or overcome your fears, because you can't. You'll never conquer fear because it's literally hardwired into your reptilian brain (Although I can assure you that there isn't an immediate threat to your life as you go about your daily business).
Here are some ways in which you can live with your fears, act, and start thriving.
Time to move out of your safety zone and embrace your fears.
- First, you need to know that the way to overcome fear is by facing it and taking it head on. If you try to hide your fears by pretending they don't exist — and you walk around wearing a “fake confidence” mask — you will be filled with more fear than ever. It just becomes a house of cards waiting to collapse. Instead, if you own and admit to your fears – to yourself as well as to others – the power they have over you will start to dissipate, and you will grow stronger.
- Second, start taking baby steps that move you out of your safety zone, and slowly but surely begin to stop your fears from running your life.
Three every day steps you can take:
- Stop procrastinating, and act. Procrastination promotes fear. When you're afraid, thinking is your enemy. Back yourself, just do what you think is best, and do it quickly.
- If you're in a situation where you're not sure what to do, and you're afraid of stuffing things up, just act like you know what to do. To think confidently, act confidently. Just do it!
- Do one thing every day that scares you. Be vulnerable and have that awkward conversation you've been avoiding for three months. Engage with that person in the lift that you've always wanted to talk to, but never have, because you're afraid they'll think you're a weirdo.
One last thought
Stop saying “sorry” all the time. People who are afraid always say “sorry” as a way of trying to smooth things over. They're afraid they've done the wrong thing, or messed up, or offended. Saying “sorry” all the time very quickly makes you ‘the sorry person': That person who walks around all day with a perpetual mental crouch in constant fear of offending others, not being liked, and looking bad.
No, that's NOT you.
Don’t Let People Issues Hold You Back As A Creative Leader
Design, Leadership, Thought Leadership
The Difference Between A Graphic Designer And Art Director
Design, Job Seeker
Why Aquent Australia’s Flexible Work Culture Leads To Happier, More Productive Employees
Hiring Insights, Industry Trends, Thought Leadership