I was miserable in my career. I had lost my inner fire, and having that next promotion didn’t matter anymore. My heart had moved on, and it was the end of a chapter that I didn’t want to let go of.
Once every few weeks, I’d have a meltdown, make a list of the pros and cons, and then convince myself to keep going.
I had secretly been dreaming of starting my own business for years, but it felt risky, and I was paralyzed by the idea of not knowing if I’d succeed. I had a mortgage and a family to take care of, and I couldn’t “afford” to take the “wrong path” and make mistakes. This change had to be “worth it.”
It felt like I had to choose between staying in my soul-crushing job, or jumping off a cliff and hurting myself in the unknown. I was frozen by fear.
Things started to change for me when I realized that I had been making decisions out of fear, and that this fear was not only causing me pain, it was also preventing me from living the life that I really wanted.
Then one day, I decided to jump.
7 Steps to Move Past Fear and Have the Life You Desire
One day your heart will stop beating, and none of your fears will matter. What will matter is how you lived.
– Henri Juntilla
In this article, I want to share with you seven steps that I’ve used and believe will help you move beyond fear—and into courage—to finally have the life that you desire.
1. Acknowledge the fear
So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it.
– Jim Carrey (more quotes)
Many of us have fears, but they are either hidden, or we choose to ignore them.
Fear can show up as procrastination, an excuse, a false perception we have about reality, or as a limiting belief we have about others and ourselves.
“I’m too old for this” or “They will never hire someone like me” are great ways to make sure we will never do something.
For what seems like a legitimate reason for not moving forward is in reality a made-up excuse created by the mind to protect us from potential harm.
In my case, wanting to make the “right choice” and avoid mistakes was, in reality, hiding a fear of failure. I realized that I was unconsciously trying to avoid being exposed to loss and inadequacy.
So the first step is to be honest with yourself, to go beyond the surface, and to acknowledge that it is fear that is really holding you back.
2. Understand the positive intent
Fear is your friend. Let fear protect you, but not limit you.
Every emotion or behavior has a positive intent no matter what it may look like on the surface. Fear is our body’s primitive and automatic response to protect us from a potential threat. It shows up to make us run away and shut down.
While some fears emerge as a healthy warning to save our lives, other fears are irrational and need to be acknowledged, understood, and faced.
To me, it was about acknowledging the scared part of me and saying, “I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and I know that you are just trying to protect me, but I’ll be fine!”
When you understand that fear is trying to serve you in a positive way, you will be in a better position to truly process the emotion, to act in your best interest, and to let it go.
3. Imagine your default future
Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.
– Mandy Hale
Take a moment to imagine what your future would look like if nothing changed. Reflect on the consequences of not following your dreams and the cost of the status quo in all areas of your life. What are the downsides of this “default future” of yours? How painful is it?
To me, not pursuing this change meant being trapped in a system where I didn’t feel like myself and living the rest of my life on autopilot. Those thoughts were horrible.
Gaining awareness of the impact of not changing your situation is a compelling way to motivate you to step into fear, and to take action.
4. Focus on positive outcomes
Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose.
– Bob Proctor
Instead of letting your imagination go wild by concentrating on what could go wrong, focus on what you will gain through the power of visualization.
Allow your mind to feel and experience what your life will look like if you already had what you desire. Your mind doesn’t distinguish between what is real and what you imagine. To the mind, a picture is like a true experience.
For months I visualized myself as having time for my family, waking up excited about my day, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.
As you focus on the positives and see your future self as a happy and fulfilled person, your mind will start to believe that it is possible, and build the confidence and drive to move forward.
5. Change your perspective
Whatever situations arise in life, one can choose to use them and make himself stronger and better, or he can sit and cry. For one who sees his life as a stepping stone to a larger possibility, there is no such thing as failure.
For some of us, the process that leads to change is perceived as painful. There is a reluctance to go through the obstacles and challenges, at the risk of failing terribly.
We’ve been conditioned by society to fear failure. We’ve learned to avoid failure at all costs because it makes us look bad or stupid. However, failure is a normal part of a learning journey and is an essential step in our personal growth. To succeed, we need to fail.
Failure does not exist when we change our mindset and choose to use our obstacles and challenges to our advantage. Whatever happens, we don’t fail; we grow, we learn, we live.
When I started seeing life as an adventure where nothing is forever and mistakes are part of the journey, a huge weight came off my shoulders.
So instead of considering change as a risk, see it instead as an opportunity for you to grow and to become a better, stronger version of yourself.
6. Surround yourself
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
— Jim Rohn
Open up to new ideas and have a different perspective on life by surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Get inspired, guided, and motivated to go for your dreams by connecting with others that have done what you want to do. Seek a mentor, a coach, or a support group to keep yourself accountable and to accomplish your goals no matter what comes up in your life.
In my own case, surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs was transformational. I developed close relationships with people who genuinely understood my situation, provided helpful advice, and supported my decisions.
7. Take action
The only way out is through.
– Robert Frost
The best way to move past fear is to move through it. Fear will slowly vanish as you take consistent action towards your goals. Start by taking baby steps to build confidence and become more comfortable with the process. Break your objectives down into realistic, measurable milestones that will help you measure your progress, and work on them one at a time. With each milestone that you check off the list, your self-assurance will grow, giving you added momentum in your journey.
My transition to starting my business was done gradually. I started by enrolling in training, then I developed my experience and skills part-time, and, when I felt ready, I made the full transition.
Your life awaits
Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
– Jack Canfield
Fear is normal. It’s an emotion that will never disappear, no matter what you do. It shows up as a natural signal that you are about to step into something new that will help you expand and live a fully charged life.
Are you ready to have the life you desire? Take action and don’t let fear stop you from creating it.