FEAR: It stops us dead in our tracks. It’s at the root of our conflicting intentions. We know it well. Or, do we?

Fear is not something we like. In fact, it is something that we do our best to avoid feeling, if at all possible. We don’t like feeling fear, so most of us play small enough to avoid facing our fears. We design our lives so that we are comfortable. We actually design our lives around our fears.

Have you done this? Is it clear to you how? Just think about what you have considered trying, but have not—because of fear.

What is your fear costing you?

According to Lance Secretan, author of the new book Inspire! What Great Leaders Do:

“We’re living in a period of intense fear;

in fact, fear has never been greater.

We’re governed with a whole model based on fear…”

OK, so maybe we have an excuse. A fear-based mentality surrounds us on a daily basis. We’re bound to get caught up in the negativity, right?

Yes, we are bound to. Expect it. Anticipate it. Then realize it and move out of your comfort zone and into your ‘courage zone.’

Or, go ahead and design your life so that you are comfortable. Just don’t expect to feel feelings like accomplishment, pride, confidence and inner joy. Highs like these come from facing fear, not from maintaining a nice, safe comfort level. You must choose which you prefer.

Fear shines a light on areas for us to work on. Fear points out opportunities for us to grow. Think of fear as an indicator, a signal, a symptom to explore.

Fear is a chance for us to come into our own greatness.

Action Steps

Dealing with fear:

- It may sound trite but “Fear is your friend.” When you feel fear, there is the potential for personal breakthrough. When we overcome a fear, we raise the new bar for ourselves. We prove we are better than we thought. We are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Investigate your fear. Dig deep and understand its source. Ultimately, change your attitude about your fear.

- Take action. Taking action is a surefire fear reducer.

- Really feel your fear. Find where you are holding the fear in your body. Let yourself feel how bad it is. Consider the worst case scenario to bring your fear to its peak. Allow yourself to feel it. The feeling will dissipate once you do.

- Get external support – a group, friend, coworker, coach. Don’t go it alone.

Author's Bio: 

Joanne Vitali is a professional coach and consultant who has worked with everyone from the Shuttle astronauts to corporate executives. Her expertise is in helping people figure out 'what they want to be when they grow up' and having work they love. She is a certifed career coach and has the unusual background of a Physics degree and MBA. You can reach her at www.joannevitali.com for a complimentary career consultation.