Throughout your life’s experiences, you accumulate assumptions, accomplishments, habits, failures, judgments, opinions, beliefs and values. You have learned to define your sense of self based on these collected experiences, judgments, opinions and beliefs. They become the filter through which you see the world and determine how you experience your life. They also become the fabric of your perceived identity. When something threatens your sense of self, you adopt fear as a natural defense mechanism.
Fear is an emotional reaction to a projected and perceived loss or a change in the image your hold about yourself. Your fears are a direct reflection of your most dominant thoughts, feelings and emotions that you associate with a future event.
The more you identify - who you are - with, for example a job, a relationship, or making a certain amount of money, the more likely you will experience fear, anxiety and the need to control when circumstances change.
Other self sabotaging behaviors in the face of fear include procrastination, lack of focus, anger or resentment and pleasing others.
Free yourself from fear!
1) Identify the things you fear the most.
I’m afraid that …
I’m afraid to ….
I feel scared when …
2) Discover the underlying core fear.
Core human fears include commitment, responsibility, change, loss, confrontation, not measuring up and rejection.
What does your most dominant fear tell you about yourself and how you view and perceive the world around you? Identify any erroneous or limiting beliefs or assumptions about yourself. Listen to what you’re telling yourself, what’s your inner critic telling you?
3) Ask yourself :"Who would I be without that fear?"
During a life coaching conversation, a coaching client expressed her fear of getting hurt again in personal relationships. I asked her the following question: “Who would you be without that fear?"
She responded, "A more confident person who is open to new possibilities and willing to take chances."
Next I asked her, "What would be the opposite of the fear of being hurt?"
She responded: "The freedom to love and be loved."
"And isn't that what you really want?" I asked.
4) Focus on what you truly want.
The moment you focus on what you really want, instead of what you don't want, your mental energy is free to move you forward. You no longer have to waste any resources thinking about the stuff you no longer want in your life.
Some inner resources you want to draw on to create the results you desire, and free yourself from fear include self confidence, trust, commitment, creativity, flexibility, honesty, and patience and love.
5) Adopt empowering beliefs that support what you really want.
In order to access these resources however, requires new and empowering beliefs. Your beliefs should be positive and supportive of the changes you want to make, or the things you want to achieve.
When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations. When your expectations change, your attitude and consequent behavior changes!
"Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom."
Here are some techniques to use to help you shift your focus to supportive and positive beliefs:
- Think of someone who could be a mentor to you. This person could be a friend, a parent, a spiritual leader, an author, co-worker, or anyone else who represents those inner resources and qualities that you seek.
- Ask yourself what this person believes. Then ask them directly what their beliefs are that help them to be successful. Give yourself the advice you think he or she would give you regarding your fears and limiting beliefs.
Realize that there is a causal relationship between the beliefs you hold about reality and the real events that just "seem" to happen to you. You live your beliefs and therefore you seek the evidence to support them!
Ultimately, you are responsible for the changes you make in your life. The good news is that you already have the inner qualities and resources you need to make the changes you want. Accessing them requires confronting your fears, challenging your self-limiting beliefs, and then shifting your focus to move forward. Once the choice to move forward opens up to you, seize the opportunity and choose freedom over fear!
About Dieter Pauwels:
Dieter Pauwels is a professional certified life, business and career coach, speaker and author, facilitating personal and organizational transformation. He works with both individuals and teams to create new possibilities, manage change and maximize their productivity and personal effectiveness.
You can visit his website at www.dieterpauwels.com or read his comments and thoughts on the impact of coaching on life and business on his blog at http://lifecoaching.dieterpauwels.com