4 Tactics That Will Kill Fear!

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Self-observation can be a great use of your time if it leads to positive things and not into self-flagellation.

I’ve spent a significant portion of my working life guiding people through self-observation. In that time, I have discovered far too many people on the edge of a breakthrough in their personal life, their relationships, or their business but who squander the opportunity by over-focusing on self-doubt and fear. The thing that surprises me to this day is that many times they are completely unaware of how their self-talk defeats them. Here is how it usually happens. People say they want something very badly, that they want to change, and theoretically, they would do almost anything to make the change and get what they want.

But when it comes time to turn the key, to take the step, it is an entirely different story. For many, when it is time to take action, they get cold feet and either pause or back out and fail to do what they need to do to get the results they want. Why? The usual suspect is the inner self-doubting voice that has them questioning every move they make in experiencing the changes they want to engage.

Would you like to learn practical, concrete ways to push back fear? Here are four methods you can implement to press fear back.

1. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

My wife Angie is no fan of heights. She would do almost anything legally to avoid heights. However, my wife is a strong woman who does not like to admit defeat. She is involved with an excellent direct service company called Premier Designs Jewelry, and in the year of her sixtieth birthday, she had qualified for a free Caribbean cruise.

One evening, as we were preparing for the journey and looking at different adventures and excursions, she said, “I want to go tandem parasailing at Grand Cayman.” I was surprised and yet readily agreed. She went on to say, “I know I need to take action to push back the fear, so let’s do this. I am also going to tell some of my close girlfriends what my plan is. That way, I will have positive peer pressure that will hopefully keep me from chickening out.”

The day came, and with tons of encouragement, we hopped on the boat and headed out. After watching some other couples take the ride, it was our turn. The air was warm; the breeze was gentle as we slipped into the harness. Within a few seconds, we were gently lifted off the deck, and the winch began to unwind. After a minute or two, we were soaring 400 feet above the water. As we floated, talked, and took it all in, it was inspiring to see the radiance in Angie’s face as we looked down on our cruise ship from our airy, highly-harnessed perch in our parasail.

When we landed on the deck of the boat, a couple of our friends gave Angie hugs and high-fives. When all of us returned to the ship that evening, Angie’s accountability partners and friends were overjoyed at what she had done and listened intently to her story.

When you feel the fear, call it what it is, and face it, friends will come alongside to pray with you, encourage you, and walk with you.

All of us experience fear from time to time. What separates people who discover success in their lives and those who give permission for fear to hold them back is the willingness to act in spite of the fear.

2. Make no apologies—no excuses.

As a young cadet at Georgia Military College in the late 60’s, I came under the influence of a seasoned warrior, Command Sergeant Major Scott, one of our military instructors. He was quite a character, soft-spoken but a veteran of WWII, the Korean Conflict, the Dominican Republic Action, and two tours in Viet Nam. When he spoke, everybody listened because of the respect we had for this leader. He was full of pithy quotes, and one I remember to this day is: “Men if you are looking for an excuse, anyone will do. Just remember you are accountable for the decisions you make.” I have to admit, as a young man, it didn’t make much sense at the time, but over the years, I have come to appreciate the wisdom he shared.

While some call them “reasons,” people stop themselves all the time using rationalizations and excuses. The top reasons, particularly in the direct sales business, go something like this: “I don’t have time;” I don’t know anybody;” My friends and I are too busy.” This list goes on.

As Command Sergeant Major Scott said, “When looking for an excuse, anyone will do.”

People will use excuses like a trap door or an ejection seat—an escape usually based on self-doubt.

One of the ways to have more of what you want and what God wants in your life is to push back fear and self-doubt. To do this, you will need to hone the skill of developing a “no excuses” approach.

So, how bad do you want to change? You can either have “reasons” or life-changing results. The choice is always yours.

3. Be willing to move outside of your comfort zone.

I have to admit, I honestly admire the wild success of Taylor Swift, but I would never want to be a former boyfriend. In an interview a couple of years ago she was asked about another famous singer who consistently pushed her comfort zone.

Swift said, “One element of Madonna’s career that really takes center stage is how many times she’s reinvented herself. It is easier to stay in one look, one comfort zone, one musical style. It is exciting to me to see someone whose only predictable quality is being unpredictable.”

Here are some other quotes that will help you think about this:

Taylor Swift:

“You have people come into your life shockingly and surprisingly. You have losses you never thought you’d experience. You have rejection, and you have to learn how to deal with that and how to get up the next day and go on with it.”
“I think fearless is having fears but jumping anyway.”

Joel Olsteen:

“I want to challenge you today to get out of your comfort zone. You have so much incredible potential on the inside. God has put gifts and talents in you (that) you probably don’t know anything about.”

Bruce Wilkerson

“It’s when you begin to think about going to your dream that your dream is always outside your comfort zone. It is always just beyond what you have ever done.”

Adventurer Bear Grylls:

“Adventure should be 80 percent ‘I think it is manageable,’ but it’s good to have 20 percent where you are just outside of your comfort zone. Still safe, but outside your comfort zone.”

Let’s face it, most of us avoid discomfort with a passion. If you want to progress in your personal life, your relationships, and your business, you will have to become more familiar with being out of your comfort zone—for a short time. Will it be scary? Yes, but it will not kill you, and it may even make you a better person.

The key question is—are you willing to exchange short-term discomfort for a better life, richer relationships, and a more successful enterprise? If the answer is yes, are you willing to push back the self-doubt and move beyond your comfort zone?

Yes? Here is some great news: blessing, joy, and opportunities will increase. So get ready!

4. Just do it!


The biggest difference between daydreaming and having a big dream in action!

Wishful thinking will never get you there. You must engage, take a risk, lean into the self-doubt and fear.

You have to “rise from the doubts and fears and walk.” This is the place where the phrase “If it is to be, it is up to me,” kicks in. This is the “grown-up” location where you declare to yourself that you are solely responsible for your life, and you accept the fact you cannot blame others for the choices you have made. Time and time again, this is the place where our negative self-talk, which fuels self-doubt and fear, causes us to question everything and keeps us from taking action. I call it decision constipation. This fear and self-doubt are at the bottom of self-sabotage.

Getting a higher and wider vantage point around moving forward with your life starts with a decision. Once you have made that decision, it is time to get down to work and make it happen.

My pastor, Todd Cook, of Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque recently introduced a song by Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, in his introduction he shared the following story.

Scott recently had to carry a tough burden of her own, having experienced a miscarriage. As a result of working through the pain of the loss, she made peace with it in the months ahead and penned the poignant tune, “Thy Will.” The song appears on a gospel album she recorded with her family called Love Remains, which was released in July 2016.

This was not Hillary Scott’s first challenge.

Did you know that before she joined Lady Antebellum, she auditioned twice for American Idol but failed to make it to the judges’ round? After those two failed attempts she, along with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, founded Lady Antebellum and the rest is chart-making history.

Grit, tenacity, resilience, no matter how you label it you can choose to move through fear and become a more intentional, purpose-filled person. The key? Have a Why and a Dream that is more powerful than your fears.

Here is a piece of ancient literature that will comfort you.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NLT

I think this song by Zach Williams says it all.

ACTION PLAN:

Quit living in denial, acknowledge your fear, and with God’s help move through it.

4 Actions You Can Take Overcome Fear

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“Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them,” Brendan Francis.

Here are some steps I adapted from The Art of Manliness: 29 Days to a Better Man: Conquer Fear.

Change Your Perspective On Fear

Fear is only negative if you think it is. Fear is a natural process that if left unchecked will cause us to live timid, restricted lives. Truthfully, in life, there is zero growth without risk. Instead of pushing back fear as an all-consuming, nerve-racking experience, see it as an adventure, a journey that will take you out of your comfort zone and into a whole new life and bring a sense of joy and adventure. If you have ever conquered a fear, you know it can be exhilarating. So why don’t you try and scare yourself just a little today? You might like the outcome.

Adjust Your Perspective On Risk

The honest taproot for many of our fears is the fear of trying something and failing. What if I get rejected? What if I fail? Well, you could, but you will never know until you try. If you don’t take the risk, you will never know, and you are guaranteed to fail.

This might be uncomfortable for you, but my mission is to challenge you. In making such a decision, you are leaving out the possible long-term risk, a risk that could be far greater than a risk to your ego. The long-term risk is the danger of living an entirely average life. The risk is looking back on your life in 10, 20, or 30 years and feeling your stomach turn with regret and remorse.

The primary reason we miss opportunities God sends our way is fear. It is sad to say that when you miss a chance because of your fear, you will never get that moment back again.

Maybe it is time for you to update your risk criteria.

Act with Courage

Teddy Roosevelt put it this way: “There were all kinds of things of which I was afraid of at first, ranging from grizzly bears to ‘mean’ horses and gun-fighters; but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be scared.”

Think about some of the men and women of the Bible who acted courageously: Ruth, Esther, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Gideon, David. And how about other historical figures?

SFC Leigh Ann Hester, Silver Star, American Hero.

I doubt you have heard of this hero. Sergeant now Sergeant First Class Leigh Ann Hester was the first female to win the Silver Star in the Iraq War. This was later upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross. Here is an excerpt from the citation:

After insurgents hit the convoy with a barrage of fire from machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, Hester “maneuvered her team through the kill zone into a flanking position where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 rounds,” according to the Army citation accompanying the Silver Star.

“She then cleared two trenches with her squad leader where she engaged and eliminated three AIF [anti-Iraqi forces] with her M4 rifle. Her actions saved the lives of numerous convoy members,” the citation stated.

Here are other, more well-known people who overcame fear and became world renown in their field:

Colbie Caillat, Singer.

This artist is one of my personal favorites. I enjoy her style, attitude, and lyrics. She is a two-time Grammy winner with over six million albums and 10 million single sales to her credit. Also, she was a two-time loser on [the television show] American Idol.

Reflecting back, she said, “I was shy, I was nervous. I didn’t look the greatest. I wasn’t ready for it. I was glad when I auditioned, and they said ‘no.’“

Kill Fear With Faith-Filled, Logical Thought Processes

Fear is usually a function of lack of confidence and low self- esteem. Many people are afraid because they think they will fail. But if they do it anyway—if they try to overcome their fear instead of letting their fear limit them—they find they can do it. Fear should not keep us from working.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear;What can mere man do to me? Psalm 118:6 (NKJV)

Think on this as we begin the freedom-from-fear journey together. Fear receives way too much airplay. Fear is the big bad boogeyman that grows by negative, contemplative thoughts that are re-runs of painful past events.

Fear is primarily mismanagement of our mental capacities.

Action Plan

Be sure to check out the final installment of how to overcome fear coming this weekend.

6 Ways Fear is Holding You Back

 

Too many of us are not living our dreams

because we are living our fears. 

Les Brown.

 

Fear serves one—and only one—purpose: to keep you alive. In its most basic, primal form, it is nothing more than a survival response. Fear can be a good thing. It is a profound biological instinct that can prevent us from doing crazy things that could kill us. For example, if you are working in your backyard and see a snake slithering into hedges next to your house—well, let’s put it this way—I doubt you are feeling peaceful and calm.

Fear can produce positive energy that moves us forward, help us make a life change, and gives us a new perspective. Unfortunately, while fear can protect us from pain and harm, fear is not always rational and healthy.

God didn’t create us to live our lives in fear. He created us to live with power, love, and a sound mind, as in courage

I love the way the Amplified Bible translates 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, craven and clinging, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and love and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

Let’s look at what fear does to us and in us:

First, irrational fear is a very primal, gut function. It is a basic low-level brain function. While fear can become disarming and lead to self-inflicted sabotage, it can be overcome. When we take time to think through our fears, we usually discover that those concerns are rooted in irrational thoughts.

Second, fear can make us cowards. We, humans, tend to frame our fears in ways that soothe our egos. You and I will say something like, “I am prudent and cautious.” We might even say, “I am a little nervous.” Or we say, “It’s not that important.”

Here is a huge life tip:

If you want to start overcoming those irrational fears that keep you bound, you are going to have to call it what it is.

Instead of saying, “I am not doing this because it makes me nervous,” try saying, “I am not going to do this because I am a coward, and I am scared spitless.” You will be amazed when you tell yourself the truth—aloud. at is the beginning of calling it what it is. Trust me—this is a starting point.

Third, fear steals our integrity. It makes us hypocritical. Simply stated, integrity means acting in a way wholly congruent with our values and beliefs. When we want to do something and believe it is the correct thing to do, but we fail to do it because of fear, we violate our core values. Living a “True North” life means living in alignment with our principles.

The first time I heard the term “True North” was while I was in the Army. It is a term used in map and compass training which differentiates the True North from Magnetic North difference on a topographical map. Steven Covey borrowed this term and turned it into a metaphor about our bottom line personal ethics—the line we are unwilling to cross based on those ethics. Therefore, when you and I are faced, as we often are in this di cult life, with the question of what direction to take, we need to refer to our true north for direction. Metaphorically: Do I “cross” my personal line? (Lie, cheat, steal, be disloyal to a loved one, hit or be abusive physically or verbally, etc.). Never lose sight of your true north.

Fourth, fear leaves lament and regret in its wake. You and I have made, and will continue to make, missteps and mistakes. The key is: Will we repeat the same screw ups again and again or will we learn from them and make the necessary adjustments to change the outcome? If you and I allow fear to keep us from seizing an opportunity when it comes our way, then that is nobody’s fault but our own. Instead, we can trust that when the Lord brings us an opportunity, He will give us what we need to move towards it. But we have to get out of the boat.

Fifth, when we give in to fear, we give up control; we step away from the steering wheel, which could be deadly. You see—the Lord has given us life and choices. While He will guide us, He will not do the work for us. When we are ruled by fear, we abdicate our responsibility. at is not a good thing. You are the only one responsible for your life, no one else. At the end of this race, you and I will give an account. I want to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23 NLT

Sixth, fear stifles personal growth. There seems to be a universal principle in nature: You are either getting better—ripening, or you are ripe and ready to meet your full potential, or you are rotting.

So, let me ask you a question. Are you ripening, ready to pick, or rotting on the vine.

Today, you have a choice. You can choose to stay stuck, or you can choose to move forward.

In a couple of day,s I will show you some practical ways to overcome fear.

Action Plan

Purchase my new book, The No Fear Entrepreneur, an Amazon #1 Best Seller.

How to Handle Criticism – Abraham Lincoln

Statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC-Deposit Photos

During his presidency, Abraham Lincoln was greatly respected and greatly reviled. Blamed for plunging this nation into a civil war, he was the president people loved to hate. Those who opposed his views regarding the war and slavery, as well as his efforts to keep them united, were vocal and uninhibited in denouncing him.

One day during one of the darkest periods of his presidency, Lincoln was walking down a street near the Capitol in Washington when an acquaintance caught up with him. As they walked, the man brought up the subject of the growing anti-Lincoln sentiment growing in Washington and throughout the country.

With brutal honesty, the man related to Lincoln many of the stories outlining attacks on Lincoln and his policies. As the man spoke, Lincoln remained completely silent and absorbed in his own thoughts.

Then Lincoln stopped, looked directly at the man and said: “Yes, I have heard you, but let me tell you a story. You know that it is the habit of all dogs to come out at night and bark and bark and bark at the moon. This keeps on as long as the moon is clearly visible in the sky.”

Then he stopped speaking and continued his walk. Confused by Lincoln’s response, his exasperated companion persisted. “Mr. Lincoln, you haven’t finished your story. Tell me that rest of it!”

Once again Lincoln stopped walking and said, “ There is nothing more to say. The moon keeps right on shining.”President Lincoln is an excellent role model for managing criticism.

Although he was aware of his shortcomings and knew many highly respected and influential people disagreed with him, the president listened to the criticism and followed his own intuitive sense that his policies would eventually win over critics and unify the country.

One of life’s challenging realities is that there are always people around who are our fault- finders, people who seldom see the good but are quick to point out the negative. Like Abraham Lincoln, all of us need to find ways of hearing criticism without being detracted or destroyed by it.

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March 22, 2018

The  No Fear Entrepreneur, by John Thurman