We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets” – Marilyn Monroe

Did you know that one of the greatest obstacle preventing us from reaching our potential is fear? Fear of starting over – we late bloomers know that well; the fear of failure, the fear of change, and even the fear of success. Sometimes we refuse to do things differently simply because we fear the results.

Five Steps to Conquering Your Fear

It will be easier for some of us than for others to conquer our fears, but we can master them and learn to live a more fulfilling life.

Face It!

This may sound contrived, but it is true and works well in some situations. I was terrified of lizards. I was so afraid of them I would not sleep in the house if I saw one until I had proof that it was dead. In late 2012, I wrote about being able to admire the beauty of a green lizard. In 2015, I took it a step further when I visited Dolphin Cove, St Ann, Jamaica. I actually held an iguana. Yes, I faced my fear and it worked.

IguanaPhoto by John Cobb

Become Courageous!

Another way to overcome your fears is to start doing things you are afraid of doing. You don’t have to do anything major to start, taking baby steps is just as good. Have you always been afraid to speak in public? If yes, join a group such as Toastmasters International or Junior Chamber International (JCI). Participate in a church committee or a group at work that is working on a special project and participate. With participation you will be surprised that over time you will become less inhibited.

I was petrified of speaking in public, but I always ended up in situations where I had to for one reason or another. In an effort to become comfortable with public speaking, I did some research and decided on joining the JCI. That was one of the best decisions of my life. So, if you want to conquer your fears, start doing things you are afraid of doing. Start by dipping your toes into the water. Soon, you’ll find that you can place your entire foot in and so on.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Always, always, always do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”

Accept It!

Don’t pretend that you are not afraid. If you are afraid of something, accept that you are afraid. It is in acceptance that you can start working towards conquering your fears.  It is only in accepting that you can start working towards conquering.

ACT!

A favorite quote of mine that I use when facing something I fear is from Dale Carnegie, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Isn’t that just about the best reason to forget your fears and start working towards what you desire, whether it is starting your own business or going back to school or learning a new skill.

Have you always wanted to write a book, but fear you will be no good at it, so you never even start?  The only way to know how good you are, is to start writing. Stop looking for excuses why you do not have the time. Wake up an hour earlier and write, don’t worry about perfect grammar, just write. Just start doin

Discuss It!

Don’t ever think that no one will understand your fears. Whatever it is, someone else has the same fears. I can tell you from personal experience that talking about your fears can help you manage them even if you do not totally overcome them. In talking about your fears, you may find out for yourself that your fears are irrational. The simple act of talking can help you see things ‘in the light of day’. This sharing can result in the exchange of strategies that worked for others. You just never know what talking about your fears may do, but it’s worth a shot.

The wise words in the quote above by Marilyn Monroe makes perfect sense. Whether you are a late bloomer or not, we need to enjoy life now as later may never come. It is only when you conquer your fears that you can truly discover who you are and enjoy your life.