The best way to completely eliminate the fears that hold you back from taking action towards your goals is to identify the root cause of them. Once you have identified your fear’s true cause, you can find its cure. Let’s go deeper into fear and how to identify the root cause of your fears as an author, entrepreneur, and online marketer.
Most fears are irrational. And the more you avoid them, the bigger, scarier and more debilitating they become. Fear doesn’t just disappear overnight – it has to be tackled. Your fears are your own worst enemies. If you don’t tackle them when they first start popping up, they grow stronger and continue to haunt you.
Let’s look at what fear is. Fear is simply an emotional response to possible danger. That’s all it is, nothing more and nothing less. It’s a ‘fight or flight’ response that alerts you to danger; either fight the situation off (as when facing an oncoming animal) or run away from it as fast as possible.
You feel fear because you interpret an event or object as something that could be potentially harmful, and so you react with a feeling of anxiety. You can eliminate this fear by learning how to correctly identify what it is warning about: are you really in danger? (The vast majority of your fears won’t lead to any dangerous situations). Only then will your fear subside.
Identifying Your Fears
The first step then, is identifying what that fear is trying to alert you of. What is it trying to stop you from doing? What is it trying to protect you from?
Your fear will be telling you that there’s something out there that could harm or destroy you. It’s an inbuilt intuition, and although not always right (since we can make mistakes) the majority of the time it is correct. This means that your fears are good indicators – they’re warning signs for things that could be dangerous. For example, if a tiger was approaching, fear would tell you to run away rather than stay put and fight it off; in this case, running away would have saved your life!
So identifying what danger your fear is trying to warn of is very important before continuing with eliminating it any further. Why? Because if the fear itself isn’t really dangerous, then you don’t actually need to do anything about it! You might have a fear of someone criticizing you, but if there’s no real threat or risk that this will happen, then your fear isn’t really something you should be concerned about. So first, we have to find out whether that tiger is actually approaching!
Relying only on your senses won’t be accurate enough for identifying the cause of your fears. The human mind is a complex thing and can easily trick itself into believing all sorts of things. We see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear. If you’re scared of heights but aren’t sure why exactly – how would you know? It wouldn’t just appear from nowhere; there must be some kind of trigger that makes you scared of heights in the first place. Some event from your past that involved heights; a bully pushing you off a tree as a child, for example.
So when we’re identifying what is causing fear, we need to look behind what is seen and heard – by looking at the content of our thoughts (what we think and how we perceive things), and also the action it is alerting us of so we can analyze if the fear is real or perceived.
Exercise: Identify Your Fears
1) Write down all your fears – even if it’s just one single fear or something trivial like ‘I’m afraid of spiders’. Be careful not to rationalize them because they may still be affecting you even if you’ve never experienced them before. For example, being afraid of socializing with women or talking to people is still what some people would call a ‘social phobia’ even though they don’t actually have any problems when they try and do it. Just because there’s no problem doesn’t mean that the fear isn’t real!
2) Next, write down all your fears again, but this time in order of how urgent each one is for you. The more urgent a fear seems to you, the higher up on the list it should go.
3) Now look at those important fears and think about where they came from and why exactly you went from someone not being afraid of anything to now having these concerns.
4) Ask yourself what was the specific event that caused you to start being afraid of a particular thing. And ask yourself “Was it an event I could have somehow avoided?” Like if you were in a car accident, did you do something wrong? If not, then don’t beat up on yourself about it or think less of yourself because it happened. You can look back and say “I shouldn’t have gotten into that car accident but there was nothing I could do to avoid it.”
There is no shame in being involved in a bad car accident even if we all wish we could be perfectly safe 100% of the time. When we analyze the situations that cause us to panic, we can soften the emotions behind them and allow ourselves to take small steps towards overcoming our fears.
How to Soften Your Fears
A question I like to ask is “what’s the worst that could happen?”
If you have a fear of public speaking because you think the audience will laugh at you, what will happen if they do laugh? You’ll feel embarrassed for a few moments, then what? Will you be physically harmed?
And why would they laugh at you anyway? Are you making up this scenario? Is this a fear from children laughing at you one day in class? Are you holding on to longstanding circumstances that would probably not materialize today?
There are many instances when we’re holding onto fears from made-up occurrences that will likely never manifest.
The less time spent giving into and fearing your fears, the better chance at success you have. Don’t let fear keep you stuck so you never take action toward your goals.
I’m a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, an independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.