Today’s Solutions: September 25, 2022

The feeling of fear is bound to appear when you’re starting a new business venture or just trying to craft a career. It’s a natural consequence of the risks you take when you’re trying to grow something, but what’s most important is that you don’t allow the fear to cripple you in your quest to succeed. With a little fine-tuning of your own mindset, you can take that fear and turn into an opportunity instead. Here are three strategies for doing just that.

First strategy: Notice the difference between productive and destructive fear. A productive fear has a clear link to action. For instance, you might feel fear before making a big strategic decision, but that can be productive as it motivates you to think carefully about the costs and benefits of each path forward. Destructive fears, on the other hand, are vague, personal, and full of stories that may or may not be true. Thinking “I’m not good enough” is a purely destructive fear. It has no clear link to action and covers all aspects of life like a sprawling dark cloud in the sky. Distinguishing between these two types of fear will help you move forward when fear makes an appearance.

Second strategy: Ride the positive momentum of productive fears. Instead of trying to get rid of productive fears, use them to propel you toward positive action. To do this, slow down the gap between stimulus (fear) and response (your action). When you feel this variety of fear, take just a few deep breaths and consider: what’s the wise action this fear is asking me to take?  It’s a process that takes 30-seconds. But it will ensure that you respond consciously, rather than react instinctively when facing fear.

Third strategy: Turn toward the experience of destructive fears. Ancient wisdom traditions and emerging science support the idea of turning towards the experience of destructive fears to move beyond them. To do this, all you have to do is bring your attention to the sensations of the fear itself in the present moment. Try to do this from a spirit of genuine interest rather than judgment and self-criticism, and you will begin to see that, while uncomfortable, the present moment experience of fear is often workable. And your ability to stay with this experience gives these destructive fears the space to work themselves out.

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