Don't Let Fear Stop You (Transform Your Fear into Power)

We all get scared. Fear is a normal part of life. But if you don’t know how to handle and respond to fear, it can be crippling. Roughly 90% of my clients come to me with a fear that it will not be possible for them to identify a career they love. Perhaps you too have experienced this fear. As my clients move forward through the Unearth Your Worth® process, that fear dissipates. They complete the Unearth Stage where they learn to embrace their unique set of strengths, skills, values, and passions, and move into the Imagine Stage, where they describe in detail their dream job. This is when, once again, these clients can begin to fear they will never find their dream job. They fear what they want doesn’t exist. But continuing to move forward into the Create Stage, where together we research the real life options that could fulfill their career dreams, this fear also begins to fade. It is replaced by the final fear in this process, the fear that, “No one will want to hire me for this job.” And this final fear is removed as the client applies for jobs and receives offers.

Fear. Fear of failing. Fear of losing. Fear of missing out. Fear of being wrong. Fear of change. Fear is one obstacle that everyone encounters. You can see it coming toward you, or it can sneak up on you when you least expect it. It can slow you down, distract you, or stop you in your tracks. It can even cause you to run in the opposite direction. You can find yourself thinking, “I would do thus and such – if only I wasn’t afraid.” Fear, if left to its own devices, can become all consuming. Have you ever had this experience? I know I have.

Great, you’re thinking. Now what? I admit it. I’m afraid. How do I stop? The truth is what you want to stop is being held back by and impeded by your fear. It doesn’t really matter if you feel fear, as long as you know how to manage it.

So what can you do, when you’re afraid? Here is one process I use to transform my own fears, which helps me to keep moving forward toward my own goals and dreams.

1. Step one is to admit it. Stop fighting it. Fighting it can make it stronger. Acknowledgement doesn’t mean give in to it either. Just recognize you are afraid. Simply say, “I am afraid.”

2. Next, name your fears. Take a sheet of paper and title it “Fears.” Now, list your fears by name. Be specific. Give yourself time for this task. Write, “I am afraid that ….” Take your time. Be gentle with yourself as you name your fears. Curl up with your dog, sip a cup of herbal tea, listen to music that soothes you. And name your fears. All of them. When you finish – standup, stretch, and take a few deep breaths.

3. Now, look at your list of fears. For each one, I want you to make a note, has this come to pass? Has this fear come true? Has it already happened in your life? A simple yes or no will suffice here. If the answer is yes, then that is no longer a fear, but a challenge for you to address. So take a separate sheet of paper and title that “Challenges,” and copy this fear there, so you can address it later.

4. Take a blank sheet of paper and title it “Opposites.” For each fear that remains, those that have not yet come to pass, I want you to write down the opposite of the fear. And when you write that opposite, write it in the present tense, e.g. I have, I am, I do. For example:

Fear: “All my efforts will fail, I won’t accomplish anything significant in my life.”

Opposite: “All my efforts pay off in the end. I achieve great success and accomplish significant goals in my life and in the world.”

Fear: “I will never get my book published.”

Opposite: “I am a prolific writer and published author. I am a best-selling author.”

5. Next, take another blank sheet of paper and title it “Opportunities.” Look in each Opposite for at least one Opportunity for you. You may find several Opportunities in a single Opposite. Great! Write them all down. For example:

Opposite: “All my efforts pay off in the end. I achieve great success and accomplish significant goals in my life and in the world.”

Opportunities: “I can check out some volunteer organizations and go give some time to something that resonates for me. I can review my career goals and make sure my values are reflected in those. I can find a coach or mentor to help me make sure I stay on track.”

Opposite: “I am a prolific writer and published author. I am a best-selling author.”

Opportunities: “I can write another draft of my latest story. I can go find a critique group to get some constructive feedback on my latest novel. I can send out more letters to possible agents.”

6. Look for one action you can take for each Opportunity. Write down the next tiny action you can take in the next 24 hours for each one.

7. Pick an action and commit to it today. Just one.

Now you have worked through your fears to get you to a place of taking action. Taking action is the key to achieving your goals. It is also the key to managing or overcoming your fears. And the next time you feel afraid, you can use this process to manage it.

There are many strategies you can use to deal with fear, and this is just one I’ve tried.  I’d love for you to share your favorite strategy below.



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Client Stories

 I was looking to make large changes in my life, both job and city.  I was a happy midwestern resident for nearly 30 years but wanted to see what life on a coast was like and get a dream job.  This was a tall order and going into it I thought I would have to make large compromises on parts of my dreams to get any of it.  

I went to Lori to help me achieve these dreams.  It was the best decision I made.

She focused on two things right out of the gate:
  1. clarify my goals, both personal and professional
  2. get me to stop selling myself short

These twin achievements allowed me to approach my hunt with confidence, patience and focus.  My original dream job was to try and combine my technical joys with a personal one.  I enjoy large scale data processing with cutting edge tools, music and baseball.  Through the tools Lori taught me and helped me unearth in myself I got that gig that would have fallen into day dream territory before our work together.  

And yeah, there's platinum records on the walls of my lobby and I have tons of data to process.

Pat Christopher, Intelligence Engineer, Seattle, WA