In a business context it might be making a particular phone call, investing in new staff or systems, or it might be giving a presentation.
We all have things that scare us, but the good news is that as long as we continue to do those things we keep growing. By doing something that scares you just a little bit you will stretch your comfort zone. The more you do it, the less scary it’s likely to become. As that scariness starts to diminish you’ll then find something else that’s scary and so you keep growing, step by step.
Perhaps it will help you to consider that scary is just the reverse side of exciting. Imagine you have a pack of cards with opposite meanings on them. Scary and exciting would be two sides of the same card and physiology supports this. You experience similar physical symptoms when you’re feeling scared as you do when you’re excited. Your heart starts to beat faster, your breathing becomes quicker, your palms might become sweaty, you might start to shake, and so on.
So why is it that one person feels scared by something when someone else feels excited by the same thing? The answer is that it’s simply the thoughts that you have about that thing, or what you tell yourself about it, that determines your feelings.
The great thing about that is that thoughts can be changed.
A typical stream of thought that leads to feelings of fear might be: ‘It’s going to go wrong; I’m going to look stupid; I’m going to get hurt.’ In contrast, typical thoughts that lead to feelings of excitement might be: ‘I can’t wait to see how this works out; this is this is such a good opportunity; it’s going to be great.’
Which stream do you tend to use more frequently? Both have their uses. If we never have thoughts around what might go wrong we might constantly get into trouble and we might not prepare adequately. Feeling just a bit scared also keeps you safe because it makes you assess any risks and take steps to minimise them.
However, allowing yourself to be held back from attempting things that seem scary means that you become stuck. You don’t move forward or grow. Staying safe doesn’t allow for maximum growth either.
You can turn your thoughts about risk into thoughts of excitement. Find just one small exciting thing about whatever it is that scares you and focus on that. Or think about how you will feel once the scary thing is over and focus on that. It’s a step-by-step process. If focusing on that one exciting aspect of whatever action you’re contemplating helps you to do it you will have faced that fear.
Remember the 2-sided card. As you focus more on the exciting side of the card, the less you will look at the scary side.
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