We all have fears and self-limiting beliefs that drive or impact our behaviors. No matter what the fear is, it can universally stop us in our tracks. We might also choose to avoid a situation that involves the thing that we fear all together.
Fear has a way of taking over our minds and scaring us into believing that the worst and most horrific outcome will come to pass. We prefer to avoid it and not face it at all. The avoidance or coping mechanisms will only save us in the short term. It’s inevitable that the thing we fear will keep coming up in our lives.
Fear has many acronyms, and people are influenced by what they read and hear about fear. Fear gets into our heads, and we react to it rather than responding to it. FEAR for some is False Emotions Appearing Real or False Events Appearing Real. These thoughts hold us back from facing our fears.
For others, FEAR might be Forget Everything And Relax or Face Everything And Rise. Facing fears is about mindset as much as willingness.
The three benefits of facing my fears throughout my life can be summed up as follows: I build more courage when I face my fears; I expand my comfort zone rather than leave it only to return to it when life is too scary; and I create an open mindset to the changes in my life. All of these benefits support me in my both my professional and personal life.
Building courage is about being open to doing more—being fearless and going beyond motivation to take action. Courage requires continual support and attention. Building it starts the process of experiencing life in new ways. Courage gives us the support that we need to face increasingly greater fears. As we build courage, we build the capacity to take on more intense fears. In some cases, we might even eliminate most or all of our fears.
I believe that our unique comfort zones are there to support us as we seek growth and development. With this in mind, I subscribe to expanding my comfort zone versus staying outside it. All to often, if we leave our confront zone to do something scary, we might retreat back into it as a reward or, worse, to get comfortable. We must be willing to release old habits that do not support us as we face our fears. In order to do that, we must see our comfort zone as an ever expanding and growing support system.
When we hold tight to perceptions that are outdated or useless, we are firmly trapped in our comfort zone. The impulse to expand our comfort zones must compel us to release those thoughts and perceptions that no longer serve our journey to becoming the best person we can be for ourselves and others.
With all of the attention today on mindset and the benefits of having a Growth Mindset versus a Closed Mindset, it is essential to explore how to be more mindful about fear. When you allow your mind to be on autopilot, you are not in charge of how you react or respond to your fears.
Being mindful—especially with a Growth Mindset—gives you the opportunity to control your responses to the fears in your life. Being mindful is akin to being present, and that is the best way to respond to fear. How we interact with our mindset drives how committed we are to the evolution of our thoughts. Staying stuck in old thoughts about our fears does not support us in facing them effectively. We have the ability to control the impact that our mindset has on our capacity to face our fears.
There are three components to facing fear. The first is our openness to face it—and that requires courage. The second is how we interact with our comfort zone and whether we are willing to expand it. The third is our mindset toward our fears. Without commitment to any one of these, facing our fears can be overwhelming.
When we discover the benefits of facing our fears, we are far more likely to demonstrate courage, expand our comfort zone, and change our mindset. I am certain that there are far more benefits to facing your fears than the three I have posited.
Living with the benefits of facing your fears feels a whole lot better than being imprisoned by them. It might be time for you to face your fears and experience some of the benefits for yourself.
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