Fear is the Enemy of Self Confidence

Today is Monday, so this post is on self confidence.

As you know, self confident people have three things in common:

  1. Self confident people are optimistic.
  2. Self confident people face their fears and deal with them.
  3. Self confident people surround themselves with positive people.

I subscribe to Brian Tracy’s ezine.  I like his ideas.  Coincidentally, I am featured on the cover of a recently released book Conversations on Success with Mr. Tracy and Stephen Covey.  I’ll send a complimentary copy to the first five people who send me an e mail at Bud@BudBilanich.com, with their snail mail address.

Yesterday’s post by Mr. Tracy was called Neutralizing Your Two Major Fears.  Mr. Tracy contends that there are two major fears with are our greatest obstacles to success: the fear of failure and the fear of rejection.

“The fear of failure is the single greatest obstacle to success in adult life. Taken to its extreme, we become totally pre-occupied with not making a mistake, with seeking approval for security above all other considerations. The experience of the fear of failure is in the words ‘I can’t’.  We feel it in the front of the body, starting at the solar plexus and moving up to the rapid beating of the heart, rapid breathing and a tight throat. We also experience this fear in the bladder and in the irresistible need to run to the bathroom.

“The second major fear that interferes with performance and inhibits expression, is the fear of rejection. We learn this when our parents make their love conditional on our behavior. If we do what pleases them, they give us love and approval. If we do something they don’t like, they withdraw their love and approval-which we interpret as rejection.”

I agree with Mr. Tracy, fear of failure and fear of rejection are two of the strongest fears we experience.  However, these two fears can be conquered by following four simple steps.

Four Steps for Dealing With Fear

Step 1. Identify the fear – Figure out why you’re afraid.  Is it fear of failure?  Is it fear of rejection?  Is it fear of making the wrong decision?  Is it fear of lost opportunity?  Are you afraid that you aren’t up to task?  Once you identify the reason behind your fear, you are well on the way to overcoming it.

Step 2. Admit the fear — It’s OK to be afraid.  You wouldn’t be human if you were never afraid.  A common definition of courage is the ability to feel fear, but to go ahead and do what you need to do regardless.  In 1988, I faced a very frightening decision.  Should I stay in a comfortable, but ultimately unsatisfying job with a large corporation, or should I start my own business?  I definitely was afraid of failing.  Failing meant that I would lose my savings and have to start over again – looking for a job in another corporation.  However, once I identified and admitted my fear I was able to take the next step – acceptance.

Step 3. Accept the fear – Accepting your fears is important – because it shows that you know that you are human.  Once I accepted that I was fearful of failing, I was able to start my business, and succeed.  In fact, I embraced my fear of failure – it made me work harder.  In some ways, my fear of failing pushed me to work long hours and learn the lessons of entrepreneurship necessary to be successful as an independent consultant, coach and speaker.

Step 4. Take action to deal with the fear – Action cures fear.  You have to identify, admit to, and accept your fears first, but action is the most important of these four steps.  Do something!  The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll find it was the wrong thing to do – and you will have eliminated at least one thing from your list of possible actions.  Action is the antidote to fear.  In most cases, you’ll choose wisely and your fears won’t be realized.  In the cases where you choose poorly, you’ll find that failure isn’t as catastrophic as you imagined.  Stars learn from their failures.  So, by taking action on your fears you win on both counts.  You win if you make a good decision and things work out.  You win if you make a bad decision and things go poorly, because you have an opportunity to learn from your decision and the subsequent problems you faced.

Brain Tracy is right – fear can be debilitating.  However, if you follow the four common sense steps I’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to conquer your fears and become the success you are meant to be.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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  1. Jim Devine says:

    Excellent post.There has been much written about the fear of failure and your post offers a good synopsis of some of the more prevalent causes.The most important point in my world; ACTION is the antidote for fear.When Ive spent to much time searching the cause it almost always roots the paralysis deeper.Thanks again for the reminder.

    ACTION cures fear!

  2. Thanks for your comment Jim.
    You’re right, action is the great antidote for fear.
    It shows us that in most cases we have nothing to fear but fear itself — to borrow a phrase from FDR.
    All the best,

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