You’re up for that job that could be a career changer--you’re scared! What if you flub the final interview, what if you say something really stupid, what if the CEO hates your hair?
You’re dating a special someone you really like. You can feel yourself falling for him/her, big-time--you’re scared! What if they’re not who you think they are? What if they have two kids and a spouse in some other state? What if they’re just in it for the sex?
You and your mate have found the perfect new home to move into, but it’s considerably more than you’d planned on paying--you’re scared! What if you buy it and one of you loses your job? What if one of the kids gets sick and all your savings have to go to their care?
Fear! You’ll never sort out what is the right decision for you if you let fear run the show. But simply bull-dozing past your fear isn’t real swift either. Maybe you will flub the interview, find out Mr./Ms. Wonderful isn’t so wonderful after all, or drive yourself into financial panic month after month trying to pay an oversized mortgage.
Fear is a warning bell, a part of our survival mechanism, and well worth heeding. However, there’s a difference between paying attention to the warning, versus letting fear stop you in your tracks.
Deal with fear in two easy steps:
1. Allow the feeling of fear to pass. According to brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor, the feeling of fear, if you simply let it be, will pass in about 90 seconds. However, if you focus on how scared you are, keep thinking fearful thoughts, talk about how frightened/worried/anxious you are with anyone who will listen, you can keep that fear-feeling going indefinitely. Not a pretty picture.
Instead, when you feel fear, let yourself know “It’s a feeling, that’s all, it will pass,” and breathe. A few deep breaths are usually enough to calm you past those 90 seconds. Then, don’t re-activate the fear; go to step 2.
2. Use your logical brain
Once the feeling of fear has subsided, you can turn your logical mind to sorting out the relative merits of your fears.
- You’re afraid of flubbing the final job interview: how can you better prepare so that’s less likely?
- You’re falling for someone you’re not sure of: how can you find out more about them, by asking questions or meeting their friends and family, for example, so you have more facts at your disposal?
- You want to purchase a home with a larger-than-expected price tag: how can you work your family finances to make a bigger mortgage doable? Or can you work with the realtor or loan company accordingly? Or think about looking a little longer for a more price-appropriate home?
When fear no longer runs your show, you can come up with good solutions for whatever issue has shaken you up.
Breathe, allow the feeling of fear to dissipate and you’ll be happily back in charge of your life.