By Jillian Bullock
It's 2013, a new year to finally face your fears, which have been holding you back from achieving great success in your life. Living in fear can be a manifestation of many things, mostly bad experiences which happened in one's life. We tend to hold on to past hurts, failures, pain, and disappointments, and often we refuse to even think about trying again because that fear still haunts us.
When my memoir, HERE I STAND, was published last year, I had to do a lot of interviews, which mainly centered around my extremely troubled childhood and young adult years. I am always asked the same question, "How did you overcome such horrific experiences and challenges in your life?" Then, after I answer that question I normally get the second question, "How can someone overcome difficult challenges or obstacles in their life to become happy, successful and fulfilled?"
Step Out On Faith
It took me many years to finally be at peace with my past. Today, as a motivational speaker and certified professional life coach, I tell people all the time, "Your past does not dictate what your future will be." With this in mind, breaking free of fear, which limits your ability to accomplish great things in life, means you have to step out on faith. You must believe in yourself, your dreams and goals, despite what other people may say. This is your life and you only get one, so don't waste time thinking about what may happen or what could happen. Think about what will happen as you envision success in your life. Taking that first step, faith, gets you just a little closer to the greatness you deserve to have.
Facing Fear Head On
My goal this year is to face my fear of driving. I have a driver's license and I can drive on a lonely, isolated road in the day time, if no other cars are around, but I still need someone, a more experienced driver, in the car with me. Since I had an accident, some 20 years ago, where I hit a utility pole when my steering wheel locked up on me, plus I had my young daughter in the back seat, I have had a fear of driving that totally took over my body.
Over the years I've ventured out to overcome my fear, and I've driven short distances, but again, a real driver had to be in the car with me in case I freaked out. The few times I did drive by myself, the distance was no more than 10 minutes to my home and it was a straight run, no highways, no twists and turns, not a lot of traffic. Still, it often took me ten minutes just to get up the nerve to start up the car and drive. The overwhelming fear of having another accident has stayed with me for all those years. But now, at age 51, I am ready to claim my independence. I plan to purchase my first car on my birthday, in June, so I have to get a handle on this driving thing.
Stepping out on faith means I will have to prepare myself to overcome the fear of driving. For me it will mean getting lessons from a driving school, which has a program specifically for nervous drivers, like myself. I will continue to take lessons until I feel I can master the road. Then, I will rent a car and drive on my own, so I can become confident driving by myself. Once I feel I'm ready, it will be time to go car shopping.
In order to get over any fear one must be willing to get help, support, assistance, counseling, or whatever is needed to push past that obstacle, and get to the root of the cause of that fear.
My daughter, who is now 25, always says to me about driving – "You're giving it way too much power." And that's what we tend to do when we face fear; we give the situation way too much power, which holds us back from living a full and rich life.
My living with the fear of driving has limited me for many opportunities. When I was a reporter, I couldn't cover certain stories because I needed to drive to the location. I've also been reduced to taking public transportation or waiting on my "ride" to get me here to there and back. Now as a motivational speaker and life coach where I travel a great deal, some of my speaking engagements are within driving distance in Philadelphia. I can't always hire someone to drive me around, so to expand my career and to grow my business, I have to drive; it's just that simple.
You Could Fall Flat On Your Face
Of course, you could fail when you step out on faith and summon the courage to fulfill your dreams in life or even transform your life. If you want to start a business, lose weight, go back to school, end a toxic relationship, ask for a raise at work, begin a new career, learn a new language, get married, etc., don't be afraid of failing. Do the steps necessary to lessen your chances of falling on your face.
You must also understand the real issues behind your fear.
My fear of driving stemmed from my car accident many years ago. If someone knows she should get out of a troubled relationship her fear may be: I'm too old to find another love. What about the finances? I want the kids to have a father at home. If you want to start a new business your fear may be: I'm investing all my savings, what happens if the business fails? My spouse isn't supportive. How will this affect our marriage? I have to work a "real" job and work on my business. I have no time for anything else. If you want to lose weight your fear may be: I've tried diets before and nothing worked. My family doesn't support my efforts. I've been fat all my life, so that's just the way it is. Exercising is just too hard. If you want to start a second act in your life and return to college your fear may be: I'm too old to go to college. I've missed my window of opportunity. I don't have the time, not with work, family, social activities. I don't know how I can afford college.
I once read this anonymous quote: "If it's important to you, you will find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse."
Instead Think This Way
How many people have had car accidents and they're still on the road driving? How many people have gotten a divorce and went on to find true love with someone else? How many people have started businesses and succeeded? How many people have lost weight and kept it off over the years? How many people have returned to college, even later in life, and have obtained degrees?
As I work on overcoming my fear or driving, I'm replacing negative thoughts with success. I close my eyes and envision myself driving to more speaking engagements, to the gym to train, to the mall to shop, and making plans for trips and fun outings with no limitations. I also have on my vision board a photo of the new car I plan to buy, which is definitely a big motivator and my reward for conquering my fear.
Envision success in your own life by closing your eyes for a few minutes every day and clearly see you overcoming your fears and facing a new life with no limitations, no negative thoughts and no fear of failure. You can also make your own vision board.
The reality is yes you can fail, but you can also succeed at building a new life, a new you. Choose you, and stop giving fear so much power.
By Jillian Bullock