Posts Tagged ‘face fear’

6 Ways To Face Your Fears

Monday, March 20th, 2017

The FBI Academy taught me how to face my fears. By the time I graduated, this was my thinking: Drop me into the middle of any squad or any situation, anywhere, anytime.  Heck, throw me into the middle of a swimming pool with a gun (one of our physical fitness tests!) I will not be scared because I am confident I will succeed wherever I am.

I became mentally stronger by facing my fears. If my coaches weren’t pushing me into a discomfort zone, they weren’t doing their job.

Your success depends upon your ability to face your fears when confronted with stiff competition, adversity, economic downturns, and other sources of stress. Setbacks are a part of any business endeavor. If you react to them productively, you’re game-ready for whatever comes your way.

Here are 6 ways to face your fears:

1. GET BACK IN THE SADDLE

My shetland pony bucked me off when I was 6 years old. I started to cry and walk away but my dad made me get right back on. And it had to be right then and there, not later when I’d plucked up enough resolve to have another go at riding the pony.

Research shows that new memories remain unstable for a short period of time after the event. During the unstable period, memories are being coded and consolidated into your consciousness.

We can erase our fear if we can alter our memory of it, and the best time to do that is during the unstable period. If we can interrupt the coding and consolidating, we can change our memory about an unpleasant event.

How To Make It Work For You: If you experience a terrifying event or situation, the best thing you can do is replace that memory with a better one—right away. Take the opportunity to update and transform your memory. It is important, however, that you make sure your environment is safe before trying to extinguish your fear-conditioned memory.

2. ACCEPT YOUR FEAR

Fear can be a great way to alert you to a dangerous situation. Moderate amounts of fear can sharpen your focus and decision-making skills.

It can also keep you on your toes because when we become complacent, mistakes can start to happen.

How To Make It Work For You: When you face your fears, you can keep them manageable. Accept that some fear can work for you and learn to distinguish the healthy fear from that which paralyzes you or produces unhealthy doses of stress. Don’t let it get so big that it turns into panic.

3. STAND UP TO STRESS

Whether you hang tough or give up often depends upon your ability to adapt to stress. A resilient person is not someone who avoids stress; it is someone who learns how to nip it in the bud.

Researchers have discovered that the neural circuits that govern fear interact with the ones that govern reward. As a result of these connections, how you face your fears is related to your ability to remain upbeat under stress.

How To Make It Work For You: The area of the brain that is producing anxiety and fear overlaps with the area of the brain responsible for positive emotions. This is one of the reasons it’s hard to be stressed out and happy or content at the same time. Strengthen the positive emotions so they can tampen down your fear.

4. FOCUS ON THE GOAL

When we focus our attention on our fear, or on the negative, precious energy is being wasted fretting about our situation. One of the best ways to face your fears is to starve them of attention.

Instead, think of the bigger goal at stake. As Simon Sinek suggests, focus on your why. It’s important that your mission and goals be important to you. When the goal has value and meaning for you, you have only one choice: either back down and fail, or forge ahead.

How To Make It Work For You: When you are afraid, turn your attention away from the thing that is creating the fear. Instead, focus on your goal.

5. ACQUIRE LOTS OF INFORMATION

Much of our fear is associated with embracing the unknown. We fear what we don’t know.

FBI agents making arrests face the unknown because they can’t predict how an individual will react when arrested. To alleviate the fear they may experience, they do several things.

First, they practice arrest scenarios with red handled guns that do not have firing pins. This provides them with experience in difference situations so they are exposed to as many potential arrest scenarios as possible. This helps them from being surprised by the unknown.

Second, they collect as much information about the person to be arrested as possible. The agents can prepare if they have reason to believe the suspect might be armed and dangerous.

Third, agents qualify in firearms 4 times a year so they are constantly fine-tuning their skills. By the time they actually make an arrest, they do not need to think about what to do because they’ve done it before so many times.

How To Make It Work For You: Find out as much as possible about what you fear. Practice how you can overcome this fear until it becomes second nature to you.

6. FIND YOUR TRIBE

When you are a member of a tribe, you have an acute sense of belonging—you feel accepted and safe when things go wrong.

During my first 3 weeks of the FBI Academy, new agents like myself were not allowed to leave the Marine Corp base. We spent 24 hours a day with each other—building the trust and familiarity that creates a tribe.

How To Make It Work For You: In times of stress and anxiety, it’s easy to feel neglected. It’s impossible to instantly create deep bonds of familiarity and trust. Don’t wait until things go wrong to start finding your tribe. Start now.

© 2017 LaRae Quy. All rights reserved.

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Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

6 Easy Ways To Face Fear

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

When I was six years old, my Grandfather bought my brother and me a black and white Shetland pony that we named Socks. I was thrilled because I now had a horse of my very own and one small enough I could reach the stirrups to get on without having to find a big rock to use as a stepladder.

 

I quickly learned that Shetland ponies in general, and Socks in particular, are strong-willed creatures who are not above using their superior strength to make life miserable for their six-year-old riders. Unfortunately for me at this time in my young life, Dad was an excellent horseman and I wanted to be just like him. He would say, “If you can’t learn to ride that pony, you’ll never get a bigger horse.”

A love/hate relationship grew between Socks and me. I’d saddle him up and get on but when I tried to ride him around the yard, he’d stubbornly refuse to move beyond the barn. My humiliation was complete because Dad saw that I couldn’t control the pony. Worse yet, I was scared of Socks because I was afraid he’d buck me off if I became more aggressive.

This must have been about the time I came to idolize John Wayne—not just because of his Western movies but because he was quoted as saying, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” I knew just what he meant because it took all the courage I had to face fear and saddle Socks and wait to be humiliated—yet again.

I’ve always liked John Wayne’s definition of courage because it implies that courage is the ability to pick yourself up and move into action in spite of fear.

Courageous people are still afraid, but they face fear and don’t let it paralyze them.

Once you give in to fear, a pattern begins to develop. Each time you avoid a fear and feel relieved that you have, you reinforce the behavior so that in the future you continue to avoid the fear by giving in to it. It becomes a vicious cycle.

If you listen carefully, however, there is a tiny voice inside that is saying: you will die full of regrets for a life that might have been if you do not face fear and move beyond it.

At our deepest level, we were created to move forward with our hearts. The word courage is derived from the Latin word cor, which means heart. At the core of courage is our heart. And our heart expresses the person we are truly meant to be. Only through courage can we be empowered to move into the unknown without fear.

A strong mind is an attribute of the heart. The opposite is fear that produces confusion and lack of clarity. If your path has a heart, you know deep down that it is the right one for you. If you have taken a path without a heart and one that does not have a deep connection to your heart, it is prepared to destroy you.

I’ve seen this happen with people who pursue a career that will lead to money, fame, or power, assuming these things will bring them happiness. It doesn’t. Others settle for unfulfilling careers and relationships thinking that their life is good enough. It isn’t.  Still others chase life hoping they can catch passion. They can’t.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs

If your path has no heart, you are on the wrong path. It takes a strong mind to connect your inside heart with your outside circumstances.

Courageous leaders face fear by admitting that they are on the wrong path and that changes need to be made.

Here are 5 easy steps to build up courage to face fear and follow your heart:

  1. Take out a piece of paper and write down 5 of your biggest fears.
  2. Listen to what your inner voice is telling you about how each one of these fears is affecting different areas of your life.
  3. Get in touch with your gut—what is your first reaction when you think of how your fear is impacting: career, relationships, spiritual growth, travel, family, finances, health, and education.
  4. Write down 5 activities that would help you overcome each fear.
  5. Rank the activities from high to low in terms of producing anxiety.
  6. Start with the activity that produces the lowest anxiety and work your way down the list.

If you ever feel that the next step is too big, then break it down into two smaller steps.

I did face fear, and little by little I learned how to ride Socks. My Grandfather rewarded me a few years later with a quarter horse big enough that I had to find rocks to use as a stepladder for several years to come.

How do you face your fears? How do you know when you’re following your heart?