How To Overcome Fear: You Have to Get In The Water
I have written about fear before. It is something that fascinates me, both in how I deal with it and how others deal with the same issue.
I struggle with it, like most people. It is the unknown, the lack of certainty, the idea that nothing is guaranteed.
Life is all about moments and fear robs you of those moments.
I want to share with you one simple tip to help you can overcome fear and to lead the life you want.
It was just after breakfast and already the floor was baking hot.
I held my Daughter’s hand and attempted to tip toe through the sun beds, protecting the sole’s of my feet as I went, to the swimming pool.
I had been pushed in the pool the day before by my loving wife. I knew how cold the water would be.
Even though the cold water would be welcome relief from the blistering Sun I was not looking forward to it.
I approached the steps with my Daughter and entered the shallow water.
IT WAS FREEZING!
It did not seem to bother my Daughter who was squealing with delight. She was already kicking the water up, some of which was starting to land on me.
I moved away from the splash zone.
I started the slow descent, down the three our four steps that took you into the deeper water.
‘Oooh!, Aaah! Eeee!’ I sounded like a blow up bed that was having the air squeezed from it.
The water got to stomach height and that was enough for me.
I turned around to look at my Daughter who was stood in the water. Impatient. Soaking up this fine picture of Fatherhood.
‘Right, you get in now’ I called to her. She dealt with the steps with ease. She flung herself into the water, submerging herself for a second.
I gasped. Partly because I was not expecting her to be so brave and partly because I could sense how cold it was.
‘Daddy, Daddy, you have to go under the water!’ came the excited challenge from my Daughter.
People were starting to look at me. Curious to see if a grown man could overcome the chill of the water.
Now I had an audience I would have to suck it up.
I did this weird bending at the knee thing a few times but could see people trying to suppress smiles and laughter.
I stood still, exhaled and dropped into the water. I dipped as far as my shoulders. Yep. still cold!
The first crush of freezing cold water was replaced with a feeling of refreshment and well, joy.
My Daughter had a Father she could be proud of. Maybe.
Dip Your Shoulders
As I watched my Daughter play in the water I started to think about how I had reacted to the water.
What had got in the way of doing exactly what my Daughter did? She knew how cold it would be, but did it anyway.
She was not thinking about yesterday and how cold it was. She wanted to get in the water to have fun.
I was anticipating the cold, the fear, even if this was only going to last for a few seconds.
It was then that it struck me.
You have to dip your shoulders in the water.
I’m not just talking about water I’m talking about everything you do in life.
If you want to overcome fear, you have to take the first step, dip your shoulders and do it anyway.
When we go into ‘fear mode’ the anticipation is often far worse than the act itself.
Your brain plays tricks and gets us in a state that we don’t actually deserve.
I thought the water was going to be arctic and for a few seconds it was cold.
In reality you adapt to the temperature and the water does not feel cold anymore.
How many times, in our life, do we avoid dipping our shoulders in the water?
If you want to overcome fear how can you dip your shoulders every time?
I believe the solution is taking small steps.
When we are in ‘fear mode’, we think about the result. It becomes too big, too scary and we go into survival mode choosing not to start.
Taking small steps helps to go past the anticipation and to realise that everything is going to be OK.
If you break this down further then it is about taking one step at a time.
The First Step
Here are some scenarios that might result in fear kicking in.
Do you fear promotion will show you as someone who is in over their head and you will be exposed as a fraud?
Submit the damn application. Learn about the similarities between what you do now and what you will do.
Do you fear having that difficult conversation will result in further conflict?
Write down everything on your mind and how the other person will feel when you deliver the message.
Do you fear Public Speaking?
Give your speech to two or three trusted people and then grow the numbers.
Don’t Kid Yourself
We put things off, we procrastinate and we create reasons to not do something when we go into ‘fear mode.’
By the way I can hear many of you saying ‘I don’t fear anything. Fear is such a strong word.’
Well, fear is the word I choose to use for anything that stops you before you have even started.
You can substitute it with scared, worried, uncomfortable, anxious, on edge and a hundred other similar words or phrases.
You are kidding yourself if you attempt to dilute what happens when the fear kicks in.
You have a way of being successful and achieving far more than you thought was possible.
Beat fear by taking the first step, moving forward and dipping those shoulders.
Believe and take action.