By Georgina El Morshdy
It’s inevitable. Your biggest goals and dreams will push you out of your comfort zone. When you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done - and that can be scary.
It’s as Jack Canfield says, “everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
With that quote in mind, it follows that your relationship with fear will influence your experience in life. Specifically, the more you’re able to navigate the unknown and the uncertain, the more life you’ll be able to handle.
That’s why your best self can thrive when you learn to transform fear into focus. When you learn to navigate the discomfort that lies in the uncertain, you’ll become stronger and braver.
But what’s the best way to do that?
Keep reading because we’ve got you covered with THREE powerful strategies that inspire you to leverage fear as a tool for personal growth. Each of these strategies will empower you to move through your fears, so you don’t get stopped. In turn, you’ll create the skills and strength needed to achieve more of what you want to have, be, and do.
Let’s dive in...
1. Take action despite your fear
Circa 2009, I decided to do a tandem parachute jump for charity. It’s something I always said I wanted to do but wasn’t sure if I’d have the guts to go through with it! But after visiting a children’s hospice with a group of students, I felt compelled to raise some money for the cause. The parachute jump was on.
It may have been over a decade ago, but I can still remember how I felt as the plane took off and climbed to the necessary height.
I was strangely calm and terrified all at the same time! I distracted myself with the view and simultaneously felt sick at the thought of plummeting to the earth at the speed of terminal velocity!
When the time came, I obediently followed the instructions to move to the side of the plane. I gingerly dangled my feet over the edge into the abyss and resigned myself to the inevitable.
Then we fell… and I was in ecstasy!
The feeling of freefall was like nothing I can describe. The experience was electric and exhilarating. Insane amounts of joy filled my body, which made me feel alive and fully present.
It’s a memory I’ll treasure forever and an experience that makes me proud - even to this day.
The lesson in this story is there are times when you just have to go for it. I could easily have talked myself out of that jump. I didn’t have to do it, but I’m so glad that I did.
There will always be a reason to stop when you reach the edge of your comfort zone. Your logical, analytical brain that’s desperate to keep you safe will always find a reason why you shouldn’t take action.
Sure, there are times when those fears are valid.
But there are other times when you need to override the reservations and do it anyway.
Chances are, the joy you’ll feel on the other side will be more than worth it. What’s more, the second you do something you didn’t think you could do, is the second you transform who you believe yourself to be.
Best of all, when you conquer one fear door, a whole new level of life opens up for you.
So go for it!
2. Visualize yourself doing the fearful thing
One of the most powerful tools you have access to as a human is your imagination. You have the power to see any eventuality inside your mind… and you can use this power to your advantage.
Research has found that your brain struggles to differentiate between reality and imagination.
In other words, something you’ve visualized and something you’ve done feels the same to your brain.
This is one of the reasons why athletes see themselves winning and performers see themselves crushing the stage.
Here’s why this practice works…
New things feel scary because you’ve never done them before. As a result, you have more worries than reference points of success. Fear will always show up when we’re not certain we can do something. It’s a safety and protective mechanism. We’re reluctant to fail because that triggers fears of rejection and criticism. We don’t want to get hurt either.
But the second you know you can do it, your worries dissolve away.
You don’t have to wait to have a real-life experience to take the edge off your fears.
You can create the illusion of experience through the power of visualization. Try it and see for yourself the impact it has on your life.
3. Journal to understand and transform your fears
Inside your journal, you can have a no-holds-barred conversation with yourself where you can reveal all your fears and frustrations.
You can rant.
Throw a tantrum if you like!
You can get ALL the worry, confusion, fogginess, and frustration out of your head, which kick-starts a transformation.
Here’s how journaling can help:
• Take the edge off your fear. With your fearful thoughts revealed on the page, the fear doesn’t feel so heavy or intense.
• Shift your perspective. Empty your fears onto the page and you might find that the situation isn’t as overwhelming as you thought initially.
• Acknowledge the fear instead of denying it - which empowers you to do something proactive to change the situation.
• Create space for new thoughts and ideas to flow in.
• Open the door to a new flurry of questions - ones that take your thinking and idea-generation down the path of empowerment.
In other words, you can use your journal to transform fear into focus.
Journaling can also help you to move the energy associated with those fears. When you write how you feel, you can start to process your emotions - even release them. It’s why journaling can inspire you to cry, release anger and frustration, and free up space.
The power of journaling is that it offers a safe space for raw self-expression. The only person who can judge you in your journal is you! If you can give yourself the love and compassion to feel what is, those feelings will soon dissipate.
And anyway, you can always dispose of the ‘offending’ journal entry if you choose!
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” — Henry Ford
Humans have unlimited potential.
Just look around and you’ll find countless examples of people who’ve overcome the odds to achieve incredible feats.
If you can conjure something into your imagination, then you can also do that thing. The only barrier in your way is your relationship with fear.
But expand your capacity to hold fear, and your life will open up in the most empowering of ways. So try these strategies on for size. Make it your mission to expand your comfort zone consistently. It’s one of the most potent ways you can thrive and create a life you love.
You’ve got this.