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Small Risks Take on Big Fears

January 24, 2014 by  
Filed under blog

 

Fear. It’s something we all deal with on some level. Some fears are good for you and can save your life such as the fear of falling off a cliff so that we keep a safe distance from the edge or the fear that pushes us to panic a bit, to hide, run or climb a tree depending on what dangerous animal or person we suddenly run into.

But there are those illogical fears that really don’t help or protect us; in fact many fears keep us from enjoying a much more rewarding life. Probably the biggest fear that holds us back is the fear of trying something totally new. It could be anything from giving a speech to a large group of people, playing a brand new sport or traveling to a faraway foreign country for the first time.

Why do we have such life constraining fears and what can we do about it?

I think the “why” is because we think we may fail and/or make a fool of ourselves or, in the case of flying to a foreign country, we fear all the unknowns, like whether the people are mean and dangerous or whether we might get lost or if the plane may crash. (By the way, the fear of flying is one of the biggest yet more illogical fears people have. I read sometime ago that if you were to fly on a commercial jet every single day, statistically you would fly for 29,000 years before you got on a plane that crashed.)

So what does a person do to overcome the fear of doing or trying something new? Susan Jeffers suggests in her book Feel the Fear and Beyond that you try “expanding your comfort zone”. And if you set about doing what she suggests on a regular basis you will gain a ton of confidence and greatly reduce your fears.

She says “one way to easily expand your comfort zone is to take a little risk each day.” When she’s talking about taking risks she’s not talking about physical risks but rather the risk of facing your fears and trying something new. The first step, as she advises, is to come up with thirty risks you could do in a month and write them down. Then each night, pick one to take on the following day and add it to your schedule by placing it on your calendar or daily planner just as you would a doctor’s appointment. As you do this, you will begin to slowly expand the size of your comfort zone and your world and then will be much more likely to face and conquer much larger fears.

So why don’t you sit down right now and see if you can list thirty risks or fears that you want to overcome in the next month? Like I advise with anything, break it down into small manageable steps and you will be able to take on anything.

 

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