Fear is defined an unpleasant emotion caused by a belief that someone or something is dangerous. What do people typically fear? We’ve all heard the fear of public speaking, fear of heights, fear of flying, etc. This list goes on – going to the dentist, snakes, enclosed spaces, mice/rats, dogs, thunder/lightning, blood, the dark and even death.
Some people also fear things not so clearly defined – loss of freedom, the unknown, pain, disappointment, misery, loneliness, ridicule, rejection, failure, intimacy and commitment. I won’t go into the causes of fear. It is scientific and detailed. Many of our fears are developed over our lives by things that happened to us earlier in our lives.
Many experts tell us that we can conquer fear by doing certain things – naming it, thinking longer term about it, embracing it, educating ourselves about it, visualizing success, getting help, reframing fear into excitement, hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming and prayer.
However, there are those little fears surrounding us every day that we allow to control our lives. They prevent us from having a better life. It might be something as not being able to master a skill required for our business. Introverts are confronted by people and situations in which their comfort levels are challenged.
I am an introvert – have been all my life. But, I put on my extrovert hat and wear it proudly, even though I don’t like it. Ask people who know me and they will tell you that I am not an introvert. I act the part to succeed in my business life. I have a healthy respect for snakes. I don’t fear them. I even picked up a six-foot king cobra in Thailand to remove it from the road – yes, it was alive, but that’s another story.
A few days ago, I attended a conference and walked on broken glass. I didn’t want to. I had a major fear about it. I wasn’t pressured into it. I could have refused. My mindset was changed in a matter of minutes when the process was explained in detail. My coach/leader told us to do exactly as he said. He had never had a person cut his/her feet in all the years he lead this effort when each person followed his advice. That pushed me over the edge to do it.
I walked, very gingerly at first, over broken glass. Putting my foot down each time with increasing pressure on the broken glass until I didn’t feel anything sharp. I lifted my foot several times to find a better position to stand. I walked the length of broken glass and survived – no cuts. This was an exercise in overcoming fear.
This was a process to help us understand that any fear can be challenged and overcome. You need to be educated, have the right mindset, and have mentor to lead you through it. Conquering a fear in one area of your life helps you to conquer fear in other areas as well.