How to Keep Fear From Being a Mind Killer

Have you ever failed to take positive action because you were afraid? Sometimes my own fear is so strong that I am frozen by it.

I recently wrote a blog on fear inspired by clients who struggle in taking action or fully participate in their own lives due to fear. That blog outlined four questions to ask yourself when you are afraid to take action.

It is one thing to evaluate your fear in your head and in your heart, as my original four questions were designed to do. It is a completely different thing – and an essential thing – to translate the resulting knowledge into action.  It is action that I am thinking about today, because I am not always good at it.

In researching this topic, I found an excellent blog on the topic from Gaye Wilson. She recommends several steps for overcoming fear that include acknowledging that fear is present; determining a small step toward what you are afraid of; and enlisting help. Then I came across this quote on fear from Frank Herbert’s book, Dune.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will allow my fear to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone I will turn my inner eye to see its path. And where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

I know from experience that fear absolutely can be the “mind-killer.” It can indeed bring “little-deaths.” It is also true that fear can disappear and I will still be here.

It is helpful to have a way of thinking about fear in order to let it pass through you and allow you to take action. After blending Gaye Wilson’s recommendations with Frank Herbert’s quote and some of my own thoughts, this is what I came up with.

I must not fear. We all have fears. It is not realistic to think we won’t be afraid at some point in our lives. The trick is not to let this fear overwhelm you or to kill your ability to think. This is where acknowledging that you are afraid is important.  Then you can remind yourself that fear is often about a “perceived threat” and determine if this fear is based on reality or perception.

I will face my fear. I will allow my fear to pass over me and through me.  Take Ms. Wilson’s advice and identify a small step that you can take toward what frightens you. Then add to that small step the old adage that practice makes perfect. In other words, take that small step and then do it again…and again…and again.

It is at that point that you may be able to turn your inner eye to see the path of your fear as it disappears from view. YOU will remain – stronger, more confident and with yet another success under your belt.

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