Fear is often seen as negative emotion but we should also acknowledge that it is a valuable emotion, one that is essential for keeping us safe and out of harm’s way.
A person who cannot swim avoids jumping into the pool because he fears drowning. So in a way, fear protects us but at the same time, it can be limiting. That very same person may never experience the joy of playing in a pool or even the skill of swimming because of his fear of drowning or the water.
It might sound terrifying to step out of your comfort zone and try new things but without these new experiences, we would forever stay stagnant instead of growing and learning.
1. Start small
Perhaps you have a fear of public speaking, why not offer to present a proposal during an internal team meeting. At least you know every person in the room and it gives you a chance to try out something which you fear so much but on a much smaller scale. Even if you stumble at some point, your teammates would be there to encourage you. Do random things, which you think you are uncomfortable with, for example, speak to a complete stranger in the elevator; it could even be just a simple question such as “Hello, how was your day?” Try taking a solo trip overseas; start small with a nearby island such as Batam, where you could do a short two days one-night trip.
2. Make it a learning opportunity
Self-awareness is key to learning and improving yourself, so when you perform a task that you fear, try to seek insights into why it makes you feel terrified. Is the fear justified or just something you made up all in your mind? Try to make it as educational as possible by detaching yourself and your emotions from it. Sometimes when you dissect a task up and make it as educational as possible, you find that you have taken the irrational fear out of it as well.
3. Visual yourself in positive light
Visualization is a powerful tool and an often-taught mental rehearsal technique in sports. I am a bundle of nerves whenever I go for job interviews; however, I overcome it by visualizing myself speaking confidently and eloquently during the interview. I imagine it and set the picture in my mind. I tell myself that I am confident and that I will ace the interview. And so far, this has been working really well for me. Repeating positive affirmations can be empowering and give your confidence an extra boost.
At the end of the day, you just need to remind yourself that all the fear, the awkwardness and whatever unpleasant emotions you feel while stepping out of your comfort zone will come to pass. All these shall pass. This is another powerful statement, which I hold true to the heart. Once you are able to get past this mental block, you will realize that whatever you have been fearful of was really not that scary after all.