The 3 Steps in Tackling Fear

by Michelle on September 14, 2012

I watched The Hunger Games this past weekend, and I loved this quote: “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”  It is true – greatness begins with a strong desire and a healthy dose of hope.  At some point, you have to decide that your desire and hope are stronger than your fear.

So how do you tackle fear? 

  • Step 1: just do it.
  • Step 2: don’t talk yourself out of it.
  • Step 3: do talk yourself in to it.

I feel I can speak to this conquering of fears based on my own personal experience, and I hope you will use it to inspire yourself.  If it weren’t for a little voice of inspiration, I’m not sure if I would be sitting here writing this blog post today.

“What’s Your Anchor?”

The most vivid example I have goes back to a professional conversation I had years ago when I was offered an opportunity.  It would be the second time I was offered a temporary assignment in a management role.  But I was nervous to accept it because there were conditions.  The first temporary assignment I’d had held hope of turning permanent, but it didn’t.  I was supposed to have had my old job waiting for me but my old leader at the time understood differently.  With HR on my side to clear the misunderstanding, I did get that job back.  But when this second opportunity arose, my leader made it understood that I would have nothing to come back to in that department.  They needed someone permanently in that role, so if I left, I left. 

[Insert fear here]

But I really wanted to pursue this new opportunity.  It would offer me a chance to be in a true leadership role and it would allow me to grow my skill set.  I was ready for a new challenge; and I was ready to earn a bigger title and better pay. 

So going back to that professional conversation that I would never forget – I sat down with someone I trusted and talked through my options.  We first determined the likelihood of me turning this temporary assignment into a permanent one, and we determined the likelihood was high.  Stating that out loud became a driving force to make it reality.

Then he asked me this: “What’s your anchor?”

In other words, what he was saying was this, “What is the worst case scenario?  What do you have to fall back on?  What do you have to lose?”  So I listed out all of the pros and the cons, and after reviewing the cons, I declared that my “worst case scenario is not that bad.”

It became like a scene out of a movie as he asked me the same question over and over and I answered back multiple times.

  • “What’s your anchor?”
  • “Worst case scenario is not that bad.”
  • “What’s your anchor?”
  • “Worst case scenario is not that bad.”
  • “What’s your anchor?”
  • Worst case scenario is not that bad!

Until I found myself cheering it.  So I took the leap of faith and have never looked back.  And in fact, that assignment turned into a promotion, and I had achieved a huge milestone I’d been working on for years.

I had never considered myself much of a risk-taker, but if I look back, sure enough this wasn’t the first time I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tackled my fears.  And each time I had done it, it had paid off.  Until this moment, though, I had never realized how much I had accomplished.  This conversation allow me to look at myself in a new light.  This scene is burned in my brain and continues to inspire me when that hope and desire fill me.  I know, that if I want it more than it scares me, then I should do it.  Some people might consider me a risk-taker, but if you reread the story, you will see that I am a practical visionary.

Take a Second

Make a quick return to memory lane and scope out your accomplishments and then take a glance at the present.  You are likely sitting where you are today because of a fear you conquered at some point.  Now, take a moment to think of your future.  Where or what do you want to be 5 years from now?  What fear might you have to tackle to get there?

The Voice of Inspiration 

If you want it more than it scares you, then you should do it.  If you have been offered an opportunity that you are considering but for some reason you are holding back for fear, have this very conversation with yourself.  “What is my worst case scenario?”  Or call me – I will gladly ask you, “What is your anchor?”

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”  ~ Helen Keller

A special “thank you” to Bob Spina for being my voice of inspiration in 2003. 

  • Pati Moore

    Michelle: Thank you again for another great post! I am always inspired but this one about fear strikes very true to me. I am working through a natural introverted tendency but my fear of never taking the chance is the greater fear. I appreciate the inspiration. Pati Moore

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