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What Are You Afraid Of? - The Choice is Yours

By Mike Matarazzo, CTACC, CEC

Founder - Be Better Life & Leadership Coaching, LLC

What vison of your life gets you most excited? Is it where you currently are, or does it look different? Is there something that you wish you could do differently, but never seem to get started on the path toward change? These are a few great questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your current state of mind. All you need to do, once you’ve decided what your happiest future looks like, is jump on that path and in no time, it will be a reality! Wait…is that right? It seems like it should be that easy, doesn’t it? There are a few different mindsets that I encounter when engaging in conversations about change. The most predominate mindset that I see is fear.

Fear is the single biggest reason why most people avoid change or make excuses as to why they “can’t” make a particular change. In 9 out of 10 cases, the word “can’t” is not even remotely accurate. Imaginary obstacles are the excuses that we create for one reason and one reason only. Fear. But, what exactly is fear?

Believe it or not, fear is a choice. I know that seems strange to think about. Who actually makes a conscious decision to be afraid of something? When I was a kid, I was afraid of horror movies. OK, so maybe I still am, but let’s not get off track. Did I actually decide to be afraid? No, I didn’t, however, I did decide that some of these movies seem pretty real and maybe the things happening in them, could actually happen. The thought of that can be pretty scary to a kid. It wasn’t the act of watching a movie that I was scared of. It was the idea that the events taking place on the screen, may actually happen.

Think about a life change that you believe you want, but are too afraid to pursue. Think about the idea itself, and then fantasize about going through the journey to get there. Really pay attention and try to notice at which point your brain switches from excitement to fear. In most cases, you will find that the feeling of fear begins when you start imagining all of the possible negative outcomes. And that’s what fear really is.

Fear happens when you believe that a negative outcome is more probable than a positive one. It’s like writing the ending to a story that hasn’t happened yet. Once you calibrate your mindset to believe that you will fail, it becomes impossible to feel anything other than fear.

So, what’s the key to overcoming your fear? There’s not just one answer to this, but there are two first steps that, when followed, are guaranteed to assist your decision making process and hopefully, boost your confidence.

First, is self-reflection. Start with the first three questions of this article and then expand upon them based on your answers. If you know which changes most excite you, ask yourself what needs to happen to make yourself feel good about moving toward them. And most importantly, what scares you most about pursuing the change.

The second step is to begin outlining a plan that paints a picture of what your journey should look like. Add all of the little steps that you need to take along the way and look at each step, no matter how insignificant it may seem, as a reason to celebrate your progress. It’s very common that people remain afraid of a particular change because they can’t see the “roadmap” to success. You would never try to reach an unfamiliar destination far from home without knowing its coordinates or the possible routes to get there safely. And since I’m using this particular analogy, you may need to consider stopping along the way to ask someone for directions. Try to connect with people you know that have overcome similar challenges or made similar changes and see what kind of advice or comfort they can offer.

These are all good ways to overcome fear and build more confidence about a new path. Results are never guaranteed when making life changes, but there is one thing that is. It is guaranteed that if you can’t identify the fears that you have created and aren’t looking for ways to overcome those fears, you will likely never find the happiness that change can bring.


To learn more about identifying your fear and developing a plan for change, get in touch by clicking the link below!

Be Better Life & Leadership Coaching