What are Your Most Deeply Seated Fears?

There will always be things we fear in life. Some of us fear the obvious such as heights, spiders, snakes or flying. However, many of us develop fears around things that shouldn’t hinder us, but often do. Do you fear being rejected? What about taking risks? Do you fear being a failure or even achieving success?

Everyone has the tendency to form “zones of comfort” around themselves: Invisible boundaries between what makes us feel comfortable and uncomfortable. Zones of comfort are not always bad. They can be safety nets that prevent us from doing something extremely stupid or reckless. More often, however, our zones of comfort are built on beliefs that may or may not be true. If you’ve gone through a painful rejection in the past, you might create a zone of comfort that prevents you from taking chances and possibly being rejected again. In this scenario, the zone of comfort isn’t the problem. It’s the underlying belief that you could be rejected again that’s the problem.Susan_Karim

Just because you may have been rejected in the past does not mean you will be rejected again in the future. That particular zone of comfort causes you to act in a way that is counterproductive to your own success in life. You dread meeting new people, getting involved in any type of a relationship or even applying for new jobs. Deep inside is a part of you that’s expecting to be rejected again and your mind directs you to do whatever is necessary to limit the possibility of that going through that experience once again.  Pain isn’t fun to experience, and it’s amazing how our minds force us to  avoid it at all costs!

It’s very possible that you’re not even aware of many of your zones of comfort. Take a look at your life as it is right now. Are you making as much money as you’d like? Are you satisfied with your job? Do you enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them? Are you setting new goals for yourself and achieving them? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you probably aren’t being hindered in any way by your zones of comfort.  If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you probably have some issues to work through.

Here’s a simple way to discover if your fears are holding you back from your goals and your ideal life: Compose a list of the worst possible things you can imagine happening to you. What are your most deeply seated fears? What aspects of your life do you not enjoy? Why? If you don’t enjoy meeting new people, you must ask yourself why that is. What is the absolute worst thing you can imagine happening when you meet someone new? You must be brutally honest with yourself.

Once you know what you are truly afraid of, consider what the consequences would be if your worst fear were to be realized. Could you live with those consequences? Going back to the rejection example, think about what some of the consequences of being rejected again might be? Would you be able to live with those consequences? I’m certain you’ll be surprised at how small most of the consequences are, and how easily we could live with them if we had to.

Fear has a way of making itself much bigger in our minds than it is in reality! We work ourselves into a sweat, terrified of the “what ifs” — when in fact, the outcome is really not such a big deal. As with most other things, we’d just simply pick ourselves up and continue on our way.

Once you pinpoint what your fears are and you understand and accept the consequences related to these fears, you must challenge your zones of comfort and face that fear by doing the thing you fear most. Refuse to let fear control you! Tell your fear, “I appreciate you trying to protect me, but I’m going to do it anyway.” And then just do it. Then do it again. And again. The first few times you step out of your zones of comfort, you WILL be uncomfortable. Expect that and accept it. Fear will not vanish overnight, but it will go away after your mind understands that the fear is groundless.

Just because you conquer your fears and expand your zones of comfort doesn’t mean you should become reckless either. There is a huge difference between blindly leaping into the unknown and taking a calculated risk. Before acting, take a few moments to think about the action you want to take.  Consider all of the consequences and ask yourself if you’re willing to accept them. If you are, go for it! If you’re not, that’s okay! Don’t feel like you have to push yourself beyond what you’d be willing to accept. Place the issue on the back burner for awhile and reconsider it at a later time.

The point is to stop letting fear make your decisions and to begin making them for yourself. It will take time to get used to this new way of thinking, but before long you’ll automatically begin questioning your fear and stop letting it control you. Once that happens, there’s no telling the level of success and happiness you will reach!

Susan Karim

Time Management and Personal Effectiveness Coach

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