Psychologists say that human behavior is based on two emotional premises – avoiding pain, and achieving pleasure. But what happens when these two premises contradict each other?
Many times, such is the case when you start to follow your dreams. Achieving your wildest dreams will give you great pleasure, but getting there may induce great pain. For many of us, that pain is what we fear, and it keeps us from actually pursuing our goals.
I believe the number one reason people don’t follow their dreams is because of fear. Fear of:
- the amount of work it will take
- the uncertainty it brings
- the unknown
- not being good enough
- things not working out
Fear is a powerful emotion. So powerful, that many of us let it steer us away from our hopes and dreams, if we aren’t careful. Ultimately we must overcome fear because our life’s happiness depends on it. But how? How can you overcome fear?
Practical Ways to Overcome Fear
To truly overcome fear, there are four things you must conquer. You have to:
- truly believe
- put a plan in place
- create a support system
- be okay with failing
When you can accomplish these things, you will be on your way to success. Here’s a closer look at each step:
1. Truly Believe
First and foremost, you have to have 100 percent confidence in yourself. You must be fully committed, devoted to the dream, and be all in. Without this, that “uncertainty” factor starts to creep in and fear is sure to win the battle.
It’s important to be able to visualize yourself at the end, medal in hand. Many Olympic Gymnasts take time every day to visualize themselves doing their routines perfectly, without flaw. Apply the same technique to your life – visualize yourself accepting that Oscar, standing at the top of the podium, or making your first million in business. If you don’t believe it, why should anyone else?
2. Put a Plan In Action
Now that you can visualize the end goal, how will you get there? FDR wanted to get America out of the Great Depression, so he put the New Deal in place. Consider what your “new deal” will be — start with the end in mind and build a plan of how you will get there.
Clearly outline steps along with a timeline of when you will achieve them. Don’t just think about it, actually put your course of action in writing; commit it to paper. Developing a strategy of how you will achieve your goals will help you overcome the fear of taking that leap.
3. Develop a Support System
Having someone to champion your dreams makes a huge difference. Knowing that someone is there to cheer you on, encourage you, and boost you up is absolutely crucial to your success. Additionally, a support system provides a back up plan for you in case things don’t turn out the way you were expecting.
If you are thinking about starting a business, you may be worried about it not being profitable or how you will support yourself financially. By having a solid support system, you can squash those fears and go for your dreams.
4. Be Okay with Failing
If you want to overcome fear, you have to come to terms with the possibility that things might not work out. Maybe that business won’t be profitable early-on, possibly your invention won’t make headlines … that’s okay. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he finally invented the light bulb. But he didn’t let the fear of failing stop him from moving forward.
Things may not go as planned, but you have to realize that it isn’t the end of the world; you just set a new goal and work towards it. Life is full of twists and turns, nothing is permanent …
When you believe in yourself, embrace your dreams, create a game plan, rely on your support system, and understand failure — then, and only then, can you overcome your fears.
Kelli Koehler is the co-founder and CEO of San Antonio-based Wildway LLC, a startup whole foods company. After working in corporate America for 5 years, Koehler decided to branch off on her own and pursue her passions. She is also a marketing strategist for National American Miss, and promotes her platform of living your dreams through public speaking engagements.
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