by Angie Miller
There are a lot of scary things in this world, including situations and events that we can’t control, but I don’t think there’s anything scarier than letting fear hold us back from realizing our dreams. Our lives are a living testament to what we create, and too often we give more power to our fears and doubts than our dreams and desires.
According to Brian Luke Seaward, in his book, Managing Stress, there are seven basic human fears. One of them, fear of the unknown, is why many of us are paralyzed to go after our dreams and desires. It also speaks to why we get stuck, unable to extract ourselves from bad jobs, relationships, or other situations. While we might wish for things to be different, or dream about what our lives would be like if they were, our fear of the unknown can make us feel powerless to change.
Fear of the Unknown
For some, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.” The fear of failure, or the idea that the situation might somehow prove to be worse, can hold many of us back from taking a chance on change. Yet if we reflect back on our greatest accomplishments we know they didn’t come without risk. Our ability to step into unchartered territory opened the door to opportunity, and that’s why facing our fears is so pivotal to our growth. Whether you’re looking to go after your goals or get out of a bad situation, here’s a closer look at fear and how to conquer it.
Three Tips to Conquer Fear of the Unknown:
- Own Your Fears- “You have to claim it to tame it,” as I once heard Carrie Fisher say during her autobiographical stage production. In order to change our situation, whether it’s going after our goals, getting out of a bad relationship, or quitting a harmful habit, we have to be honest and have the courage to admit that things need to be different. Maybe they need to be different for our safety, or simply to answer our calling. Either way, we have to acknowledge what we want or need, and what is holding us back, before we can figure out how to move forward.
- Gather Information- Knowledge is power and the more we understand something the less likely it is to scare us away. Information is the fuel we need to set fire to our fear. When we research, whether it’s how to stop emotional eating or how to start our own business, we gain insight into how it’s done. We learn how others have mastered the feat and we realize that we're not alone. Change may not lead us in the direction we’re expecting, because life can be unpredictable, but it will lead us out of our current situation and that’s progress.
- Take the first step. The first step is always the hardest. It’s like going to the gym. The most difficult part is getting out the door. Once you’re there, working out is easy, relatively speaking. Once you take that first step toward your goal, or away from a bad situation, you just have to remember that everything worth accomplishing takes time and patience. It’s like a staircase. At the top of the staircase is where we want to be, and each step gets us closer to our goal. More importantly, it reassures us that we’re making progress and gives us the tools we need to tackle the next step.
Fear only has power when we allow it to hold us back. When we own our fears, gather information, and take the first step, we can successfully save ourselves from harmful situations and embrace the opportunity to realize our dreams.
Be Fearless~ Angie
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com