To live life to the fullest we have to take risks. The things that really give our lives meaning all involve some form of risk, whether it’s starting a business, getting married, or starting a martial art. Some risks, we are more comfortable with, whether it’s because of our personalities or our personal histories. Others types make you more anxious and fearful. Often times it is the risks that make us most uncomfortable that are the experiences that have the most potential to transform our lives. But for us to attain this, we have to feel the fear, move past it, then do that which causes the fear anyway. Here are a few ways to do just that.
1. Research. Whatever it is that you want to do that scares you, big or small, learn as much as you can about it. Read about it. Watch videos. Talk to people who do it. Let’s say you want to take up a new activity like a martial art, but you’re afraid of looking foolish. Put in the time to research schools so you find the best style, instructors and training atmosphere for your needs. When you find one that interests you, familiarize yourself with what they do. Get in touch with the instructor and ask questions that help ease your fears. Then, when you decide to give it a try, you’ll feel more comfortable going in. Becoming familiar helps alleviate fears, just as it does for the child who needs to be shown there is no monster under their bed before you turn out the lights at night.
2. Focus on the outcome. Whatever it is that you want to do, there is a reason you want to do it, whether it’s for fun, adventure, personal satisfaction, to give something back to the world, etc. When you spend more time focusing on the good that will come from doing the activity, how it will benefit you, your family, friends or the world, your fear will be pushed to the back of your mind, and the inherent risks will be worth taking.
3. Take baby steps. An important part of overcoming fear, especially big ones with greater potential consequences, is to minimize the risks so that if you do take a misstep, the consequences aren’t as severe. I have a student who wants to learn to do a shoulder roll but has a fear of being upside down. We usually break the action down first by doing the roll from kneeling but even that has caused her to panic and land badly on her shoulder. As a result, we explored even more broken down versions of the roll, like using a fitness ball for support. The ball seemed to help, so now we’re working on simply placing the shoulder to the ground, undercutting the rest of her body, eliminating the risk of impact on the shoulder. She is still working on the baby steps, but it is coming along. The beauty about baby steps is that they help you build confidence in stages, as you build toward your ultimate goal. Gaining confidence and having the belief in your ability to do the thing is half the battle.
These are only 3 ways of getting past your fears so you can do the things you want to do. Do you have any others that have helped you? If so, please share in the comments.