Neuroscience of Fear – Tips to Overcome Fear

Have you ever felt fear? Many leaders pretend they are incredibly controlled, resilient and confident. The perceived ideal image is for them to show that they do not feel fear.

Want to know the truth?

I have never met anyone who doesn’t face fear.

Every day, I work with clients, teams, associates, and leaders who feel fear. Many don’t want to discuss or talk about fear. Others’ don’t know how to move through the fear. It takes vulnerability to admit and talk about fears.

The biggest fear of all? I don’t know if the actions I take will create the desired results that I want.

I am not alone.

Every single entrepreneur, leader, or executive is afraid of something. That fear is always shown in behavior and mindset. It is shown by the way they speak to or behave with their teams or the energy they give out at work.

No matter how it is shown, fear is real.

Everyone knows fear affects your life.

Fear affects opportunities, relationships, revenue, motivation, performance, and employee morale.

Fear is formed when the mind focuses on the uncertainty of future outcomes. Confidence comes from the awareness of all the facts along with a belief in a positive outcome, no matter the uncertainty present.

The good thing is there’s some research from MIT that shows you exactly how to overcome fear with some interesting research that started with multi-tasking.

Earl Miller is a cognitive specialist and neuroscience professor at MIT. His research found that humans couldn’t focus on more than one thing at a time. Most of the application of his research has focused on our inability to multitask and how to increase brainpower. Yet, when you understand that to feel fear you have to consciously think about it, then you can take the research and apply it to almost any situation. This does not apply to unconscious or instant fear, fear that is an emotion. This research applies to the main type of fear we feel daily, which is conscious fear based on our expectations and perceptions.

Watch my Youtube Video to find out more about Embracing Fear 

Since our brains only can consciously focus on one thing at a time, once you are in the act of doing, your fear overcome away. Therefore, taking action reduces conscious fear.

Since fear paralyzes, how do you take action? The application of Miller’s research requires a somewhat unique approach to fear. This is why commitment is so important.

Once you commit to something, nothing else matters.

If you want to take action, which will eliminate fear, the only thing you need to do is make a commitment. Why? Commitment means the action is taking place and your brain is focusing on something else besides the fear.

This is true when I first wanted to start my company, I was petrified. I used to think about it like Jumping of a Cliff (now a chapter in my first book Leadership Attitude). The one thing that helped me have the courage to jump off and move through the fear was commitment and action. I am now about to embark on another path and journey with my business and brand and for months I have been resisting it because of fear. I get it. Today there is now nothing stopping me. This is why I love speaking and coaching as I will do anything to help someone achieve what they want and be the best versions of them. I ask them to commit and I am committed to them.

Commitment always leads to confidence; it is a cycle. Yes, I know. Action creates success and success will create confidence. If you don’t have confidence, take action, and the confidence will come because you will find success because you will not be thinking about fear.

All fear is neutralized when commitment is proven through action. Action breeds confidence. This is how your brain works.

If you need help with commitment and action, let me share some of my favorite tips to Overcome Fear –

  • Think about where the FEAR comes from – maybe something from childhood? Find out where it comes from and remember you are not that child any more or that previous experience cannot harm you again.
  • Squash those ANTs – if you have Automatic Negative Thoughts, you are the Director of your Brain and get them off the stage.
  • Visualise what you want, write it down, create vision boards and commit to one action per day to make it happen.
  • Practice Mindfulness – if you are feeling anxious and fearful about something, sit with it for a moment, breathe and remember not to judge the feelings or thoughts. Fear is an emotion and you can change your emotions.
  • Daily Affirmations (I have plenty on my mirror) – these are powerful and talk to yourself like you would someone you love. Even if it feels fake, you can trick the brain and you will soon start to feel what you are saying.
  • Surround yourself with a tribe – make sure you have amazing people who love and support you and only want the best for you. Tell them about your fears and commitments and ask for help.
  • Don’t die wondering – don’t get to your death bed (sorry for being so morbid) and regret that you didn’t do it. Don’t let the fear stop you from living and life a life you truly want.
  • Appreciate your courage – I would tell herself during difficult times, “Every time I don’t allow fear to keep me from doing something that scares me, I am making myself stronger and less likely to let the next fear attack stop me.”
  • Just do it and Just Rock It! – yes feel the fear and just do it. And just rock it – and be the best version of you. What is stopping you? Only you are stopping you and you can do it!

Contact me today if you want to engage a coach and cheerleader to help you be the best person you can be and create the life and leadership you want!

Find out about my NEW Group Courageous Coaching Program today – starts on 15th July

About the Author

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organizations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of human resource management. She has held leadership positions around the globe and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, who puts people at ease and starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognized for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote topics for 2019

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”.

Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

1. Leadership Attitude

2. Just Rock It

3. Leadership for Small Business

4. Leading the Next Generations

5. Courageous Leadership

6. Future Leaders and Leadership

Contact Sonia HERE today

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616