Super Habit #26: Put Your Fear to Work

It’s easy to let fear get the best of us. However, if we practice self-monitoring, we can better understand our fear. When you better understand your fear, you can put your fear to work.

I used to live in fear. After being the child victim of a weird religious cult, I was left with a little PTSD. I went through a period of time when I thought nearly everyone and everything was out to get me. I still struggle with fear and doubt. But I’ve also learned how to use my fear. I’m not saying it’s been easy, but it is possible.

Accept the Uncomfortable and the Inevitable

The first step to putting your fear to work is accepting it. If you’re uncomfortable with making a presentation or contacting a book publisher, that’s okay. Most everybody is. Accept the discomfort and be willing to push through anyway.

I’m not going to lie. Chances are good that you’ll blow a few presentations and get turned down by several book publishers. In fact, it’s about as inevitable as death itself. But something funny happens once we accept the inevitable. We become more willing to stand up in the face of it.

Many successful people contemplate their own death. Why? Because accepting our eventual demise can actual motivate us to accomplish more. After all, you can’t leave a legacy if you don’t get to work.

Put Together a Doable Plan

Another reason fear can sometimes raise its pesky little head is that we have not properly put together a plan. If you give a presentation without any preparation, you’ll likely fail. Many failed businesses are due to a lack of effective planning.

  1. Know what you want to accomplish: I struggle with this. Not because I don’t know what I want to accomplish, but rather I want to accomplish too much. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the niche mentality, it really can help you to focus.
  2. Write down the steps: At least once a year, I write down my goals. If there is something specific I want to accomplish, I’ll write down a step-by-step plan. The plan includes measurable goals and dates that things should be completed by.
  3. Make a commitment to move forward… no matter what: Sometimes fear can kill progress. This is why you must make a commitment to push on, even when you’re scared.

Now Put Your Fear to Work

Fear is energy. In fact, the emotions of fear and anger probably require more energy than most other emotions. You can use that energy as a source of motivation.

When I was diagnosed with polycythemia vera (PV) last year, rather than fuss and fret, I told myself that it was time to work harder. Although many people with PV live a normal lifespan, the disease is a little unpredictable. I figured that meant is was time for me to accomplish some of the things I really want to do before I die.

I decided to cut down on my hours at work. I started paying off debt at an increasing speed. I’m selling my house. I started focusing more on my original love of music and poetry. A year later, I can say I’m happier and healthier than I was last year. I’ve also created more music and poetry in the last year than I had in the previous two years.

If you’re struggling with fear, I encourage you to tap into it. Accept what makes you uncomfortable. Face the inevitable. Create a plan. And get to work.