Eat the frog; a strange but oft-used mantra a family friend lived by. Essentially, “eat the frog” is another way of saying “just do it” or “face your fears.” If there’s something you need to do, and you have to do it whether you want to or not, you are better off to just get it done and get it off your plate. Eat the frog.
No matter where we are in life, we all face some sort of fear. A recent grad has fear starting a new job. An established sales executive fears not hitting a sales quota. A company president fears lower revenues or losing control of his staff. A person fears losing a friend’s respect. These fears impact the decisions we make. Many times these fears are so strong, they hold us back from achieving our true potential.
Our level of self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation determine how we handle these fears. The more aware we are of who we are and how we handle certain situations, the better chance we’ll be able to find the motivation to push on through the difficulty and face our fears.
The first step in facing our fears is to identify that we are fearing something in the first place. What is causing us not to take action in a certain situation? Then, identify what the fears are. Ask yourself the question, “what is the worst thing that can happen if my fear comes true?” Through this process, we may find that the fear isn’t justified in the first place.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Self-Awareness is defined as conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires. Taking the time for introspection will help us to identify what is holding us back from the things that matter to us. We may not be lazy or unmotivated, it may be a deep seated fear we didn’t even know we possessed that may be holding us back from doing something great in our lives.
We can be aware of our behavioral habits all day long, but if we have no ability to influence them, that knowledge is meaningless. We have to look for cues, signs and other ways to monitor our behaviors in order to seek the best possible outcomes in every situation.
Fear has a way of altering what we do because we fear a negative outcome. We may fear looking bad in the eyes of others, what they may say about us, damage to ourselves or our image or any number of other fears. The reasons behind the fears are numerous.
According to Education.com, Self-Regulation is the ability to monitor and control our own behavior, emotions, or thoughts, altering them in accordance with the demands of the situation.
Certainly possessing a synergy with Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation is all about being able to influence our behavior in a positive manner.
Once we identify our fears and learn a little about how to regulate them, we need motivation, the third component of emotional intelligence, to ensure we follow through and defeat the fears. Is what we want stronger than the fear that is holding us back? How do we overcome the fear so we can accomplish our goals?
5 Ways to Help you Face and Conquer Your Fears
- Avoid Regret. No one ever sits on their deathbed and says “I wish I did less.” It can be easily argued that regret is worse than any failure you may encounter. You can move on from a failure but you’ll always live with regret. See it through.
- Expand Your Comfort Zone. The only way to expand your zone is to stretch it. And that can only happen when we are willing to go outside of our current boundaries. The initial discomfort you may feel when leaving your comfort zone is replaced with an adrenalized boost of energy and exhilaration. Go for it!
- Fight Resistance. In his book Do the Work, Steven Pressfield discusses the concept of resistance; the force that holds us back from doing what we need to do and how we need to fight that battle daily. The sooner you stand up to resistance and defeat it, the easier it becomes to defeat it on a regular basis. And you’ll need this skill because resistance is present daily and can be a formidable enemy.
- Publicize Your Intentions and Goals. When you publicize your goals, people become aware of them, and they will regularly question your progress. This is a self-driven method of accountability. Since you don’t want to look foolish by promising to do something and not following through, you may be more inclined to stay focused on your goals knowing people are going to gauge your progress. Use the barter system. They, too, likely have something to which they’d like to be held accountable; use the buddy system to reach your goals together.
- Stop Self-Sabotage. No one gets everything right the first time. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t immediately succeed. Learn from your mistakes. Just because you’ve failed at something doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. Remember F.A.I.L. simply stands for First Attempt In Learning. Learning from your mistakes along with positive self-talk is a recipe for succeeding the second time around. Tell yourself you can do it even if you don’t always believe it!
Facing your fears isn’t always easy to do. Fears can increase over time and we don’t always know how they manifest in the first place. But the longer we fail to address our fears, the more ingrained they become.
Becoming aware of these fears, controlling their urge to slow us down and finding the motivation to push forward are the keys to success.
Fear has killed more dreams than failure ever has. Have the guts to take the chance and move your dreams forward. There’s a reason you feel passionate about your goals; it’s because it is what you were meant to do. Instead of thinking about what might happen if you fail, reposition that thought and think about how great it will be when you succeed. See it in your mind as having already happened. You can never feel that feeling unless you are willing to face your fears, expand your comfort zone and just eat the frog.