It is impossible to overcome fears.
Why It Matters: Our language regarding fears is destroying our confidence. Words and phrases like “fearless” and “overcome your fears” imply these are possible. Any time in a high-stress situation, we always go into fight, flight or freeze mode. Regardless of your experience in the activity, fears will come up.
Thus, we shame ourselves and others for having fears. Leaders drown in the imposter experience, thinking something is wrong with them when they feel anything resembling fear.
Instead of trying to “conquer your fears,” try this instead:
- Learn. Not all fears are the same. Understanding why we fear something is more important than “overcoming” it. A shortcut to understanding your fears is the Enneagram, specifically the IEQ9. You can see how the report details our core motivations and desires.
- Lean. Afraid of heights? Go rock climbing. Fear public speaking? Take a class. Afraid of spiders? Visit an insect museum. Afraid of needles? Give blood.
Joseph Campbell once said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” There is something great for you underneath your fear.
- Listen. Listen to your thoughts and body when you are in the fear experience. This feeling will not disappear, but our relationship with that fear will change. When we listen and reflect on what we have learned when we lean in, we find excitement, motivation, and, dare I say it…joy…in the experience.
What fears are you looking to transform?
My life is dedicated to my fears: of public speaking, of athletics, and of being able to read. You can learn more about my journey here.
You can also see my Youtube video expanding on these ideas here.