10 TACTICS TO MANAGE FEAR
The goal of this lesson is to provide you with a toolkit that helps you manage your fear enough so that you can keep moving. Don’t expect your fear to disappear—you’re just dialing it back!
You need multiple tactics in your toolkit so that you have diverse strategies to use with different kinds of fear. That way, if one method doesn’t minimize a particular fear, you can try another.
Here are ten strategies you can use:
#1: Awareness: Here you distinguish if it’s a functional fear or a false fear and set false fears aside. An example of a false fear would be worrying about money today when you have a year’s severance from your former company. Being aware allows you to make a decision to stop indulging in false fears and take action.
#2: Redirect: The tactic here is to change your focus to another activity. This is a great strategy to use to address rumination; for example, if you’re obsessing that you haven’t yet gotten a response from that great networking contact. Redirecting focus drains energy from the fear so that you can move forward.
#3: Back-talk: This is where you acknowledge the fear but ‘talk back to it.’ Just because your mind says something doesn’t make it real; it may say you can’t do something you’ve done in the past, or say that your goal is impossible when others have accomplished it. Back-talk allows you to assert your power over your mind so that you can take action that’s aligned with your goals.
#4: Sharing: Here you get out of your head and talk to others, so you can get help in navigating your fear. Try to find someone who has faced your challenge and overcome it successfully, or seek insight from a supportive friend, therapist or coach (our community forum is a great place to get support too!) No matter who you speak with, ensure the conversation is positive and affirms your strength.
#5: Action: Ask the book title says: Feel the fear and do it anyway! Just because you have a feeling doesn’t mean you have to take an action that reflects it. For example, no doubt there have been times where you didn’t feel like going to work and you went anyway. Commit to taking action that’s aligned with the results you want.
#6: Memory: Remember the times you’ve overcome your fears in the past and the good that came from doing so. Tapping into past successes gives you a reserve of strength to draw from when you need to take action in the present.
#7: Reduce: Sometimes our fear comes from the size of the goal, so use this tactic when you are stuck in overwhelm. Break down what you need to do into smaller steps; minimize it to the point where you think “Of course I can do that!” Reducing the action step to the level where your fear is no longer triggered keeps you moving forward.
#8: Identify the type of fear: Are you feeling fear of failure, change, or rejection, or of not being or having enough? Go deeper into the fear to understand where you picked up the belief or pattern that’s causing it. Identifying echoes from your past reminds you that you are now an empowered adult with the agency to create in your life.
#9: Set a goal to overcome it: Sometimes you’ll need to push yourself through a particular fear. Intentions have power, so make a decision and use willpower to follow through with it. Setting a goal with execution steps and a timeline is a powerful motivator. Be sure to reward your every step of your progress along the way!
#10: Ask yourself a core question: At times, our higher self needs to have a conversation the part of us that is afraid. Asking the following can offer perspective. Facing the truths uncovered by these questions can get us moving again:
- Is it in my best interest to stay safe in this situation?
- Do I need a boundary here or do I need to expand?
- What’s the worst that could happen? If that thing happened, could I overcome it?
All of these strategies are about getting you to take action that aligns with your goals, despite your feelings. It takes practice, so don’t expect 100% perfection from yourself—another key skill of reinvention!
Coaching Action Steps
Here are some tactics that can help you to manage your fears:
1. Sharing & Support: Talk to someone (friend, therapist, coach) who has been through what you’re facing or who can act as a sounding board.
2. Memory: Survey your past and make a list of times when you’ve succeeded despite your fears. This can help you understand that even when an action seems scary, you will survive (and probably thrive!).
3. Identify the signifier: Go deeper into your fear and identify what value you think is being threatened. Then you can ojectively analyze ways to address that.
4. Look for role models: Often there are others who have overcome the very same thing we fear. Those people can provide both inspiration and tactical information on how to overcome what it is you fear.
5. Ask yourself the Core Question: Use this question to help you get perspective on your fears, which is the first step in overcoming them: What is the worst thing that could happen? If that happened, could I overcome?
Click on this link to download the Fears Action Guide for more tips and exercises to help you identify and move past your fears.