How to Defeat Your Fear
Live life fearlessly... easier said than done. However, it's a lot easier to defeat fear when you have a system in place to help you along the way. Whether it's learning to ride, going after your dream job, or making a big move, these steps will help you learn how to gain confidence, believe in yourself, and defeat fear. I personally apply each of these to all major and minor feats I set sights on to tackle. I use learning to ride a motorcycle as an example in this post, but you can apply this to any situation.
1. Educate yourself
I think we forget that the Internet doesn't exist simply for Facebook stalking, selfie posting, and entertainment, there's also a shit-ton of information out there. One of the keys to defeating fear is learning more about your fear. This may mean you need to sit down and figure out exactly what you're afraid of.
For example, you want to defeat your fear and learn to ride a motorcycle. What part of your fear has been holding you back from doing this? It could be multiple things; you're afraid to take the class alone, you're afraid you might drop the motorcycle, you're afraid of riding in traffic or that riding a motorcycle is too dangerous.
Okay, so look at each of those fears individually. (We'll just look at the first fear here; I'm sure the others you have legitimate questions on and I'll address those in another post, but for the purpose of this post we'll stick with one.) Being nervous about taking the class alone; can you find a friend who is interested in taking the class with you? Whether or not you find a friend to take the class, go to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website and learn more about their basic rider class. Knowing the coursework and what to expect ahead of time will give you a confidence boost and take away a lot of the anxiety about taking the course alone. Sign up for the class ahead of time and commit, this way you can't back out last minute, just do it! You'll be happy you did when they hand you your certificate in the end.
2. Have a backup plan
Always have a backup plan. Out of habit, I create backup plans for even the most mundane things. It helps me not to feel lost when something doesn't work out the way I planned. I can just get over it and move on to the next step without getting down on myself or freaking out... "omg, what am I going to do?!"... I already know my next move.
Ask yourself questions, what are you going to do if what you're taking on happens to not work out? What will be your next step? I'll give you a hint, it shouldn't be giving up.
So what if you don't pass? ...Then you take note of the mistakes you made, you go home and you study that shit. So you put your foot down in the figure 8 box or couldn't stay in the box? Okay, what did you learn about the counterweighting technique and where you should be looking while making turns? Go back in you MSF book, or go online and study that. Watch the MSF videos of other riders successfully completing the exercises you struggled with and take note of their technique, body positioning, where they're looking etc. Check youtube for other videos of riders successfully completing what you're struggling with.
3. Ignore the naysayers
If I let other people decide if I could accomplish something not only would I be miserable, I would be NOWHERE. There will always be naysayers, people who do not take you seriously, and "haters". And they could be some of the people who are closest to you. We've all been through it; jealous friends and nervous family members who just want the best for us. You have to take YOU seriously, believe in yourself, and DO IT.
4. Know that it's highly unlikely any of the extreme "what ifs" will ever happen.
I love the "you're more likely to get hit by lightning..." phrase because 1. it's most likely true in any of the "what if" scenarios you're looking at. And 2. who do you know that's actually gotten struck by lightning? No one. Exactly, kind of puts things into perspective doesn't it?
Stop listening to people's terror stories they either saw on T.V. (*gasp!*), heard from someone else, or their own one experience story they are blowing out of proportion. Stop looking for an excuse for yourself to stay nicely nestled in your comfort zone for the rest of eternity. You're not going to go to the MSF class and end up with a demented motorcycle that grows legs and carries you off never to return; you're more likely if anything to drop the bike which is no big deal. If you're looking for an easy way out of facing your fear you will find it here because you were looking for it.
5. Accept right now that you will make mistakes
It's true, we all make mistakes, I make plenty. They key is accepting those mistakes, learning from them, and never letting them stop you from facing your fear and reaching your goal. The ego provides confidence but when your ego gets too big to realize your own mistakes or own up to them then it prohibits you from growing and becoming any better. You can't walk into the MSF class never having sat on a motorcycle before and think you're going to do every exercise perfectly the first time around.
Accepting right now that you will make mistakes will make it that much easier when you do make a mistake to get back up and keep going. Accept that you're not perfect, no one is, focus on the task in front of you and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. You got this!
6. Stay positive
I don't mean "fingers crossed!" while you sit there and worry kind of positive. I mean actually being in a mentally positive state. Find something that motivates you like your favorite song or going for a run, whatever makes you happy. If you are not in a good place mentally, don't expect things to happen for you; the law of attraction, look it up, it's real.
Obviously, it's impossible to be happy and like the world is made of unicorns that fart butterflies and burp rainbows all the damn time. For those days where you can't shake your bad mood find a support system, it could be a close friend, a co-worker, or an online facebook group you can join. Being fairly ambitious (and maybe a little crazy) myself, it can be difficult to find a good support system. In those times, I turn to online blogs and facebook groups full of people who may not know me but understand what I'm talking about and can offer advice without judging me. Or I turn to Grandma because let's face it, she knows everything and my grandma is badass.
7. Allow time for things to work out
Lastly, patience, something in today's society none of us seems to handle very well. Nothing worth having is easy or happens overnight; shit takes time. After passing the MSF class you are still going to need to continue practicing and building upon the basic foundation of riding you received from the class. You will still need to learn how to maneuver in traffic, on real roads, hills, and curves. Once you start to get the hang of things in your new adventure look for then next thing you can improve on. A skill is something that is ever evolving, you should constantly be learning something new. Even the experts know that they don't know everything.
Hopefully, these 7 steps will help you defeat fear and accomplish the goals and dreams you desire the most. The process listed is what works for me and can be used as a basis for creating your own process to defeat fear. The steps belong in no particular order, but typically the best place to start is always education and creating a backup plan. The important thing to remember is to never give up; never a failure, always a lesson!