I think you’ll agree with me that we all have things we’re scared of. Many of us just accept our fears. We compensate and we work around them. But I wanted to know what the real benefits of facing your fears were.
Here’s what I discovered:
When we overcome our fears, we begin to take action instead of hesitating. We gain new experiences we may not have otherwise tried. We also make mistakes we can learn from and improve upon. Lastly, when we learn to move past something previously thought of as impossible, it teaches us that everything is possible.
But there’s a lot more to know about overcoming fears. So let’s keep going!
What are you scared of?
It could be heights or bugs or a paralyzing fear of our kids getting hurt. Perhaps that paralyzing fear has kept you from achieving your dreams? Maybe it’s affected your relationships or employment.
We accept they may limit us, but we don’t do anything about them. Fear can be a powerful motivator, but it’s essential that we not let it dictate our actions and choices.
In this post, we’re diving deep into why we are afraid and how fears can limit us. We’ll also look at the myth that by facing our fears we are no longer afraid.
Most importantly though, we’re looking at the benefits of facing your fears so that you will no longer be limited or controlled by them.
Don’t want to do a certain thing? Great. Don’t do it. But don’t let fear keep you from doing what you want to do.
What do we allow fear to do for us?
Often paralyzed by fear, we hesitate, we wait. We don’t take action.
Sometimes, we tell ourselves it’s because we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing. And make no mistake, there’s nothing wrong with educating ourselves so we can make a better decision.
But there’s a difference between doing that intentionally and hesitating because we are scared. After all, most top-performers agree; done is better than perfect.
By that, I mean that getting stuff done, even imperfectly, is better than waiting, procrastinating, and possibly never doing something because we’re afraid it’s not going to be perfect.
In a nutshell, fear;
- Holds us back
- Keeps us from trying something new
- Causes us to play it safe – meaning we might miss some amazing things
- Keeps us from living our dreams
- Prevents us from reaching our full potential
What can happen if we face our fears?
Just imagine the conversations you might have if you weren’t afraid to approach someone you didn’t know!
What new business idea might you get off the ground if fear wasn’t holding you back?
How many amazing journeys might you go on if fear wasn’t making you question yourself?
I know this is hardly new knowledge for you. So I don’t want to dwell on the obvious.
I just want you to do more than just acknowledge it. What I want you to do is understand the benefits of facing your fears. I want you to come out on the other side happier and healthier!
What does it mean to face your fears?
Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player ever has a quote that fits perfectly here. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
If you don’t know Wayne Gretzky, he’s an amazing hockey player.
Broken down, his quote essentially says if you never try and hit the puck into the goal area, you’ll never score. If you attempt a score; by facing your fears, you will surely miss the goal SOMETIMES.
But sometimes you’ll win!
The point is, in order to succeed, you have to try. We have to conquer fear. You won’t always hit the mark, but do you know what happens when we fail?
In the picture above, you see a picture of me and my youngest daughter Jolie (then 7). We’re zip lining in Costa Rica there, about to plummet off the last of 10 lines. That line was also the highest and longest.
We could have let fear drive us to not do it. She and I could have convinced ourselves that it was too dangerous. We could have let all the possible mechanical failures float through our heads until we convinced ourselves to not do it.
Or we could just jump off! Which is exactly what we did.
And we loved it so much we did the whole course again the next day! By facing our fears and not letting our anxieties control our actions, we had the time of our lives!
Why is facing our fears important?
If you know me at all, then you know I love Star Wars. That’s probably a severe understatement. One of the many reasons why I love it is how true to life many of the lessons in the films actually are.
In talking about fear, perhaps Yoda addresses it best when he says both “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here” and also “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Those statements, however fictional the characters and settings, are so amazingly true.
When we allow fear to dominate us; to permeate our senses, actions, and thoughts, we can’t help but become a negative, angry person.
Maybe we learn to hide it from the world; to bury our feelings down deep, but (in my best Yoda voice): affect us, it does.
How do you get over your fears?
Among the great things he said was “we all have a story about why we are where we are. The story we tell ourselves protects us from pain. It gives us a reason why it’s not our fault. But the story that protects you also imprisons you. It keeps you from changing your life.”
I loved what he had to say as it’s so true and it applies exactly to what I’m addressing here. Essentially, we all come up with excuses for why we are the way we are.
We have excuses for why we aren’t achieving what we may have wanted to achieve. Excuses for mediocrity. Reasons why our lack of success is someone else’s fault.
And the reason is simple.
You haven’t learned the benefits of facing your fears!
Why do we fear?
I’m not saying you haven’t been wronged or had major setbacks in your life.
You may have had a terrible upbringing or experienced great tragedy. Guess what? Robbins has seen those things too. The difference is simply that he didn’t let his story; his past, define his future!
If you struggle to Let Go of the Past (click to read it on my site), as many of us have, I strongly suggest you take a moment and check out one of my most shared posts on that very subject.
When we shy away from the benefits of facing your fears that means we’ve accepted fear.
We’ve allowed it to move into our back bedroom and get comfortable. We have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. We have to embrace the new, the different, the difficult.
Because only then can we truly hit our potential. Only then will we truly be happy. We have to learn to conquer fear so that we can be the person we are meant to be.
— Jesse Oakley III (@jesseoakleyiii) September 27, 2018
Facing our fears doesn’t mean we won’t be afraid!
That is probably one of the greatest misconceptions out there.
There will always be some things that elicit a fear reaction in you. What I want though, is for us to be in control of what we do or don’t do. It means you decide what’s best based on your actual desires and drive.
We won’t be making those decisions based on an irrational fear of failure. Fear of a bruised ego or fears tied to childhood neglect, abuse or trauma won’t be in the driver’s seat.
How do I confront my fears?
I was listening to online marketing guru Pat Flynn the other day (who am I kidding; I listen to him almost daily).
In his case, he was talking about shyness and approaching strangers at conferences. Specifically, he referenced a book by Neil Strauss called The Game.
Now that book is about how to pick up women, so not relevant here. However, the book does cover the benefits of facing your fears in terms of approaching strangers. The book goes on to talk about using the 3-second rule and I think it applies perfectly here.
Basically, you want to never give yourself more than 3 seconds to psyche yourself out of doing anything you’re scared to do.
As Pat goes on to say in his podcast, “All the anxiety happens before you start talking to people (or taking any action you’re scared to take). . . . So the more time you give yourself to psych yourself out, the harder it’s going to be.”
So take action within 3 seconds when you’re scared or nervous!
The man many consider to be the original “self-improvement guru”, Dale Carnegie, wrote an excellent book on reducing anxiety.
Despite having been written decades ago, this amazing book still holds up today. It also contains a number of tips that perfectly apply to our topic today.
So the benefits of facing our fears allow us to live our dreams?
We’ve talked a lot about facing our fears, but we haven’t yet touched much on living your dreams. But to truly live your dreams, you have to learn to conquer fear first.
Maybe you dream of being a chef and opening your own restaurant. Perhaps you dream of retiring to a tropical desert isle? Still others among you may dream of extensive travel with your family. Perhaps you dream of a Soho loft and the hustle and bustle of NYC!
Me? At different points in my life, I’ve dreamed of ALL of those things.
What I dream of now more than anything is:
- Connection with my family
- Not wealth, per se, but enough money to where we can live comfortably, travel & give generously
- Work/life balance and the flexibility in my schedule to keep that
- If not retiring to Costa Rica then at least traveling there often (when we aren’t at a Disney park)!
Here we are in Costa Rica!
The benefits of facing your fears don’t make us somehow win the lottery or make magic happen.
What it does do, however, is give us breathing room.
It allows us to release the tension that is constricting us mentally, physically and emotionally. With fear not gone, but under our control, we can test the waters. We will try new things; brainstorm on new and different ways to do things.
Some of the things we try won’t work, and that’s OK.
So what are my . . .
7 Proven Benefits of Facing Your Fears & Living Your Dreams?
1. Identify the root of your fear(s)
- To beat fear, we have to understand it
- To understand it, we have to acknowledge the root of it
- Is it based on a past experience?
- Did something create this fear based on something that happened to you or someone close to you?
- Is it tied to a negative, but mostly unrelated experience you had as a child?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s crucial for your own well-being that you learn how to Let Go of the Past. You may never forget the past, but it doesn’t have to control your future or your present.
2. Reframe the idea of fear
- Don’t see it as a negative!
- Recognize the benefits of facing your fears and see it as a learning opportunity!
- Any opportunity to fail is an opportunity to both learn and grow stronger and smarter
3. Acknowledge the “real” worst that can happen outcome
- Flying can be scary and planes do crash, but when we apply logic, we know that driving is far more dangerous than flying
- Identify what could genuinely happen or go wrong
- Make an educated decision based on real risks as to whether this is the right decision for you
4. Don’t hesitate – apply the 3-second rule to get over fears
- I’m not encouraging you to make important, life-changing decisions rashly or without proper research
- However, I do want you to make quick decisions at the moment rather than get frozen in hesitation – hesitation kills squirrels!
5. Make the desire for your dreams larger than your fear
- Visualize your dreams! Dream big.
- I’m not saying be completely unrealistic, but when your dreams can be seen, then the path to get there can be broken down into a series of baby steps
- When you can see yourself and your family living that dream, you quickly realize that it’s far more important than not facing your fears
6. Learn from your mistakes!
- When you do fail (and you will), learn from it!
- See the failure as a momentary setback or delay rather than the end of a dream – don’t knee jerk react or throw a pity party
- Apply the knowledge from the setback to your dream and steer it appropriately based on the new information
- This is one of the best benefits of facing your fears
- Failure Can Inspire You to Greatness!
7. Rinse and repeat
- The more you confront your fears and learn to move past them the easier it gets
- Every time you take a step outside your comfort zone the next step will be that much easier
- Soon you’ll be taking great strides and doing things you never dreamed possible!
- All because you learned the benefits of facing your fears and meeting them head-on!
Did I cover all the benefits of facing your fears you were looking for?
In this post, we examined the effects of fear on our ability to achieve our goals and live our dreams. Fear can hold us back, limit our relationships and in some cases destroy our happiness.
There are a lot of benefits of facing your fears and we examined all the most crucial ones. More importantly, though, we talked about how to move past fear so you can truly begin to live your dreams.
What holds you back? How does fear manifest itself in your family’s life?