I have an old enough vehicle that all it has is a cassette tape player, so I took out a group of motivation tapes and started listening to them on a long drive. One side was by Jeremy Stansfield talking about the effects of fear. His definition of fear was the basis of the title of this article. His definition was “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Things in our lives may appear to be more difficult than they really are or we are frozen in our own steps so that we cannot achieve what we truly desire. How many times in our lives have we really wanted something, but were afraid to do what was needed to achieve that goal? If we want to overcome our own fear, we need to plan and do what it takes to overcome that fear. It could be talking in front of large groups of people, it could be being alone with someone we like a lot (before we were married). There are all sorts of triggers to our fears. It could be as simple as forgetting what we wanted to say at a 2nd grade show-and-tell, or it could be a big presentation we tried to give at a major event. Either way can build in a fear that we might fail again. Unfortunately, too often, the fear comes from trying to do something we have never done before. The way I overcome this is thinking back on a time when I tried something new and succeeded. Jeremy talks about learning how to waterski. For me, it was just deciding to go out and learn how to ride a bicycle in one day. When I think about doing something new that is hard in my field, I think about the first three days of my Masters program in Computer Science. I had only written assembler and FORTRAN code on paper tape and punch cards. On Monday we were give an assignment to write five LISP programs and use a terminal to store them and turn them into the professor via a drop-box by Wednesday. That was a fun three (actually two) days. It is amazing how even related experiences might leave us a bit afraid. For example, I have talked at technical conferences in front of 1,000 engineers. I really did enjoy that experience. But presenting my business to a friend and new acquaintances can give me quite a few butterflies.
The only way I have learned to get over my fears is to take action. Practice is one of the keys. Another is listening to people we admire in order to improve ourselves. There are a few people that everyone knows that are excellent motivators. The more I read, the more I realize that Jim Rohn is one person whom most of the motivational speakers I know truly admire. I am listening to his tapes as much as possible. He would be the first person to point out that action is the only way to overcome fear. Jim is a big advocate of keeping a journal and setting goals with measuring techniques to track how you are achieving those goals. I am working with my son to build our business. We will have daily meetings where we can discuss daily goals and hold each other accountable. Good luck (and skill) with all that you do.