Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had dozens of conversations with clients and friends about how to overcome fear and uncertainty. A big topic of these conversations was their fear and uncertainty about the future. So many people are apprehensive and fearful of what the future may hold.
- Will they lose their job?
- What if their elderly parents or children get sick and die?
- What if their business fails or has to close down?
- Will they run out of money?
- How will they manage with investments losing half their value
We all have fears, doubts, challenges, and struggles to contend with. In fact, it’s natural and common to have such thoughts and fears, particularly during a challenging time.
An important point to remember is that you are not the only one going through this situation.
Simply knowing we aren’t alone in the journey is an important part of finding stable ground in the storm of uncertainty. I’ve experienced large fears many times in life and have helped coach hundreds of clients through similar challenges. Each time, there is a simple structure that has helped us weather the storm and move forward with success.
STEP 1: Reflect on your previous successes
- What have you achieved so far?
- What challenges and obstacles have you overcome?
- How did you get there?
- You earned and deserve those successes.
STEP 2: Acknowledge that fear is a natural and impulsive response, but in most cases, it’s false and unhelpful.
Now, there are many instances where fear is valid and helpful. I’m also not saying COVID-19 and other such threats are false. I’m simply saying that the real fears we have are often based on false assumptions, and the actions we take in fear often lead us further from our desired outcome. The key issue is that people worry about something that hasn’t yet happened, and that worry dramatically reduces function and performance in the present.
This is different from the more positive approach to acknowledging a potential (and reasonable) harmful or risky situation and making proactive decisions at the moment to limit harm or risk.
Here are a few acronyms for fear that while worn out, are nonetheless true:
- False Evidence Appearing Real
- False Expectations Appearing Real
- Future Events Appearing Real
Impulsively or irrationally reacting to fear means reacting to unknown (and often uncontrollable) forces. It’s OK to have fear of the unknown but acknowledge that fear, evaluate the long-term perspective and ACT consciously in the present to improve your situation.
STEP 3: Stack Up Small Wins
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when facing large and emotionally charged challenges.
By focusing on small simple steps you can take to make progress towards our objective each day, you will make consistent forward progress, PLUS celebrating these small steps simplifies the path and reduces the psychological feeling of being overwhelmed.
These small wins cannot be underestimated, particularly at the beginning of a change process. When people are paralyzed by indecision, fear, doubt, and uncertainty, sometimes even the smallest steps forward seem insurmountable.
The goal at these times is to simply make some type of forwarding progress. It sends a strong psychological signal that you are in control of your actions and positively taking action towards your goal. As this momentum and confidence grow, you can take larger steps and have them seem easier than the initial first steps you took.
STEP 4: Supercharge your inputs
You are in control of many things in life. The most important is your mindset and actions. By improving the inputs to your mental, physical, and social systems, you can continue improving and even thriving in the midst of environments that make other people crumble.
Register for our Mindset Mastery Workshop to learn how to cultivate a successful, growth mindset.
Improve what you read, who you talk to, spend time with, and listen to. Find sources of motivation, inspiration, knowledge, insight, and support that lift you up and help you better manage the task you have in front of you.
On the flip side, avoid those things (and people) that bring you into a cycle of fear, doubt, and negativity. They are all around you. You can choose to opt out!
These steps have helped me and many of my clients.
While I can’t promise they will work for you as well as they have for me, I can guarantee they will be helpful in many ways. Remember, challenges, failures, and adversity are there to help us learn, grow, and build the foundation for future success. If we choose to see them that way, we are already halfway there!
I encourage you to modify these tools, tips, and insights to your own needs and tap into the wealth of connections around you to overcome fear, keep moving forward and succeed in your journey.
If you have been feeling fear, doubt, and uncertainty and are ready to start stacking up small wins, we at FRESH! would love to help.
Just reach out and book your free Complimentary Success Session.