7 Ways to Overcome Fear
Feeling fear is a natural part of life; you will encounter many situations that make you feel fear. At present many of us are feeling fear including me. These are unprecedented times. It’s important that you know how to overcome these feelings so that they don’t stop you from achieving your goals and reaching your full potential. I want us all to use our feelings of fear as fuel to get to courage.
Here are 7 ways to overcome fear and take back control.
1. Understanding the root of your fears
You can’t overcome your fears without understanding them first. It can be hard to confront them and dig deep to untangle the ‘why’ behind your fears, but in doing so you’re able to move forward and experience personal (and professional) growth. I always had a fear of failure since I was little. I now see failure as my greatest lessons and where growth and resilience come from.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.”
2. Be guided by your goals
A strategy I love when it comes to overcoming fear is breaking down a big goal into smaller, achievable goals. It’s also a good idea to make sure that some of your goals incorporate learning something new so that you’ve still got value out of the experience even if you do fail at some point. Make sure your goals include some that scare you so that you get plenty of practice facing your fears and get more comfortable taking risks. I had to change my goals this year due the pandemic and we are now building a lot more online programs and resources and we are focusing on our leadership awards. Our goals at McDonald Inc. are now even more focused on helping as many people as we can become better leaders.
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3. Work with a mentor or coach
Having someone who is outside of your regular circle of family and friends to advise and encourage you to conquer your fears. Mentors and coaches are also invaluable for professional development and growth, so this is definitely an avenue to explore if you want that extra push personally and professionally.
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
4. Find a mantra that resonates with you
Repeating a mantra or personal affirmation when you’re feeling scared helps ease the fearful feelings and grounds you.
A fantastic mantra I recommend is “This too shall pass”. It reassures you that fear is temporary and repeating it when you’re fearful lowers the hesitant feelings you’re experiencing. Remember we are all in this together and we can do it.
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." Nelson Mandela
5. Realise that regret is worse than failure
While trying and failing at something can be hard to deal with, imagine if you had never even tried in the first place! For leaders especially, failure is all but guaranteed due to the nature of leadership and what it involves - but just about any leader you ask will agree with the fact that regret feels much worse than failure! This is true. I don't want to look back on my life and say I wished I had the courage to do that. This is why after many people said once the pandemic hit to let go of our Leadership Awards, I said no. This is my dream and our movement to build a world of kind and courageous leaders. No regrets.
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.”
6. Look at the fear in a positive way
See fear as a chance to challenge yourself about overcome your fear, and think about how amazing it will feel after you’ve faced what scares you. Focusing on how you’re going to feel afterward helps with easing the fear you feel in the moment, and actively working with your mind to turn negative thoughts to positive will serve you well in all areas of your life.
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." Eleanor Roosevelt
7. Make small changes for big results
You wouldn’t launch straight into a marathon without training first, right?
Start with smaller actions so that you don’t feel too intimidated. Even the tiniest step is a step forward, and you can’t change the world without changing your own world first.
I hope these tips help you overcome some of the fears you have, where ever you are or what fears or challenges you are facing. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these strategies before, or you’ve got any tips that I’ve missed that you find really effective too! In turn, we are always here to help, lend an ear and support. It takes courage to ask for help and we need this courage now to support each other.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.
About the Author
Sonia McDonald CEO & founder LeadershipHQ & McDonald Inc.
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 organisations 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 HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise 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 recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, 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 recognised 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.
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