How To Overcome Your Fear

Overcome Your Fear
How To Overcome Your Fear

Many people have an irrational fear lurking deep within them that limits their ability succeed.  Whether it’s fear of public speaking, confrontation or the ability to ask for the sale, they let that fear limit their ability to achieve their goals.  I’ve experienced some of the same fears and have learned to overcome them.  The amazing thing I’ve learned about it is that to overcome fear is much easier than living with it. The key steps I’ve learn about overcoming fears are:

How to overcome your fear

Recognize the fear

Some people live in denial about their anxiety.  They may claim that they are fine with public speaking and that they have done it many times.  But when opportunities arise to speak, they suggest others who may have more knowledge of the subject matter.  I’ve seen them even chide the others for being afraid if they resist.  The first step to overcoming a fear is to recognize it and admit that you must take action to overcome it.

Convince yourself that you can overcome the fear

I remember performing in concerts when I was in the high school choir.  We would perform songs as a full choir, some ensembles and then a few students were chosen to sing solos.  I was fine when we sang as a full choir or ensemble, where I could share the stage with others and they could hide any mistakes I might make.  But when I was selected for a solo, I was nervous.  It’s not as if I thought my parents or my friends’ parents would throw rotten tomatoes if I missed a note, but I would get serious butterflies leading up to the performance.  At one concert, I turned to a friend who was also scheduled to sing a solo and asked him if he was nervous.

“No” he said, “I’m looking forward to it.  I love to sing and I enjoy performing for others”

That gave me a new perspective on it.  Instead of going into it with a mindset of fear, I approached it as an opportunity to share what I enjoyed with others.  Whatever fear you may be harboring, if you teach yourself to enjoy it and look forward to it, it will significantly reduce the anxiety you feel.

Confront the fear

Most people deal with fear by not dealing with it.  They spend amazing amounts of energy figuring out ways not to confront their fear.  When I was in college, despite what I learned in high school about singing in front of an audience, I still had a fear of public speaking.  Once for a group project assignment, we were tasked with giving a final presentation of our findings to several teachers and the department head.  No one in the group was excited about giving the presentation, so I volunteered.  I didn’t have anything to lose.

I prepared well and studied the presentation several times.  When the time for the presentation  came, although I was nervous at the beginning, I eventually relaxed and ended up doing a pretty good job.  I learned that if I just jump in and attack it, it’s not as bad as it seems.

Over the years, I’ve felt the same butterflies at times.  It’s usually either because I wasn’t as familiar with the subject matter, or there was an important person in the audience.  I’ve found that if I prepare as much as possible and tackle it with the attitude that I’m stronger than the fear, that I can get through it fine and feel better about myself when it’s over.

See my related post: On Being Bold: Step on the Gas

Regardless of your age or experience level I’m convinced that you can overcome any fear that is inhibiting your career advancement.  Mark Twain once said “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”  You may always have that fear lurking inside.  But you can always overcome it.

What are you afraid of?

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms. 

Related Posts
Reluctant Clients: Gaining Buy In
"We're from corporate and we're here to help." It's the common joke for anyone who works for a living; for anyone who feels they know their job and doesn't need high ...
READ MORE
Consulting Skill: Adaptability
Kodak was once a dominant player in the photography industry leading all players in the film and camera market by a seemingly insurmountable lead.  As digital photography – which they ...
READ MORE
Consulting’s Three Headed Monster
A good consulting firm needs to be successful from three aspects: Delivery, Sales and Recruiting.  This is often considered the three-headed monster of consulting The three headed monster Delivery Delivery, the act of ...
READ MORE
Are You A Rule Follower?
I’ve been working since the age of 12 when I became a busboy at an Italian restaurant in my hometown.  I still remember my dad dropping me off on my ...
READ MORE
A High Status Workspace is Not Usually Given to a Consultant
We see evidence of status all over the work place.  The boss in the corner office; larger, more comfortable chairs for management; and cubicles by the window for people with ...
READ MORE
The Best Route to Success – Incremental Gains
I remember an old cartoon of a reporter asking a famous star, "How do you account for your overnight success?" To which the star responded, "Twenty years of hard work." In ...
READ MORE
The Difficult Client Types
I've worked in very few organizations that didn’t have a jerk or two walking around.  Over the years I’ve learned to deal with them. In the one situation where the jerk was ...
READ MORE
Critical Consulting Skill: Flexibility
As I’ve pointed out in this blog before, one of the things I’ve always liked about consulting is the variety.  You generally work on a project for a few months ...
READ MORE
Removal from a Client Project
It happens every once in a while.  A consultant is working with their project team and sometime during the project, the account manager speaks with the consultant and informs them ...
READ MORE
Are You Really Too Busy?
I didn’t get a chance to get to that. I’m so busy, it’s on my list, I’m just buried in work. I didn’t see that email in my overflowing inbox.  When did ...
READ MORE
Reluctant Clients: Gaining Buy In
Consulting Skill: Adaptability
Consulting’s Three Headed Monster
Are You A Rule Follower?
A High Status Workspace is Not Usually Given
The Best Route to Success – Incremental Gains
The Difficult Client Types
Critical Consulting Skill: Flexibility
Removal from a Client Project
Are You Really Too Busy?