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How to Overcome Fear to Achieve Your Dreams

By Michelle Yozzo Drake

In every tragic moment we have an opportunity to learn more about who we are and what we are capable of in our life. When you are at a point that is vulnerable you are also at your most authentic. If there is a positive that can come from tragedy it is the opportunity to meet yourself.

I make this statement from a point of experience. The knowledge that I can overcome fear has served me well throughout my life. I learned at an early age that I am able to manage my fear and press forward with confidence...even when I am shaking in my boots! What a blessing that awareness has been for me.

If you want to develop the ablilty to manage your fear here is what has worked for me (and hundreds of clients I work with!)

Step 1: Identify something that is not life-threatening that you are afraid of.
One of my fears as a teenager was speaking in front of groups (ironic that I am a professional speaker now). I also was very afraid of heights as a young adult (truth be told, I am still not so hot on high places)

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Step 2: Answer what confronting the fear makes you feel
The fear of heights would make me feel dizzy, short of breath and sometimes actually sick to my stomach. I would then start to feel weak and vulnerable--and very afraid. That feeling of fear sometimes would control my actions, how engaged I was in an activity. It made me feel powerless. If I let the fear control me I would miss out on a lot of great stuff--hikes up mountains, restaurants with a window view, athletic activities with friends and family (just to name a few).

Step 3: Visualize yourself pushing past your fear taking control of the situation
In the beginning, when I would try to visualize myself succeeding at being in high places just imagining it could put me into the physical state I described in step 2. Not too fun! In the beginning, I would bail out of my pretend confrontation...too scary and uncomfortable. Then I began to get mad at myself...it is all in my mind...I pushed myself forward and saw how amazing it woudl feel to overcome my fear.

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Step 4: Find an opportunity to confront your fear
Yep, you heard me right...seek out something that you are afraid of and push yourself through it! When I was in college I had to jump off a building for the final exam of my leadership class...5 stories above the ground you can bet that I was in a panic. I felt all of the physical pain that literally being on the edge would bring to someone afraid of heights...dizzy, sweaty, sick to my stomach, my heart pounding in my chest...but when I finally went over the side (with just a rope and a hook to my belt) and stood at the bottom looking up...I felt power shooting out of my finger tips. I knew that I would be able to do anything I set my mind to...I jumped off a building!

That moment has given me strength to push through much tougher problems in my life. Fears that were truly life-threatening--violence and illness and loss. Because I knew something basic about who I am as a person, my strength, I was able to believe that I could overcome my fear. It's not that I was never afraid again, it is just that I know that I can get past my fears...they do not control me anymore. This is my secret weapon against change in my life.

Step 5: Now, Just Do It!

Enjoy the powerful new you...know it translates to other areas of your life


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I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. Henry David Thoreau