Fear, limits, insecurities – our personal world is full of these words and besides being general terms, each one of us has its own meaning attached to them. Me, you, he, she – each individual lives with fears, experiences limits and is insecure about multiple things. We might even know everything is in our minds, but we either decide or really believe we can only live as we are – that change is not realistic. And we adapt our life to living with our limits instead of changing. If we’re afraid of something, we avoid that thing. We only do as much as our limits “allow” us to do and we live with trying to hide our insecurities but doing a poor job mitigating them.
Some of us are aware of their own fears and limits – and try to overcome them with no real success. Fighting with something that is already deeply rooted in our personality is not an easy job – it requires strength, determination and trusting that the process will lead to a change that’s only going to benefit you.
Overcoming fear or expanding limits is definitely possible – there are a few things you should do though. The key thing you need to be aware of all the time is that everything is in your mind. Try to quiet your mind as much as possible – don’t think too much, if “what if?” questions come up, let them go and change your thoughts. The mind will only make you doubt yourself, and its role is to make you play safe. Of course, pay attention to your health and safety, but other than that, try not to analyse anything – decide what you want to change, doubt less then and start changing! Though not intended to be a “follow this steps” process, there are certain things you should do if you want to change – described below.
Prepare to get over your limits
Again, it’s crucial that you don’t think too much about it. Just decide that you want to change something. Either overcoming a fear, or mitigate an insecurity. Once you’ve decided this, write down three things that you should do so that you overcome this limit or fear. Do not over analyse if you’d be able to change or anything, or if the things you listed are the right ones to lead you to the change. Let’s trust our intuition a little, shall we?
For example, I used to be scared of heights. That’s why I went on hikes on tall mountains, crossed on bridges while looking down and did wall-climbing and tiroliana – facing my fear of heights helped me get over it.
If you are insecure about your public speaking, you could join a public speaking class, start doing presentations with your team at work (familiar people first), take an opportunity to speak to a larger audience (unknown people) or join a public speaking group (with regular meetings and practice). Do these actions gradually, but always increase your exposure to things that are uncomfortable to you.
Start by building trust that you can do it (e.g. a public speaking training, reading a book on the matter, speaking with experts etc.) then do more and more the things you have listed from easier ones to more and more difficult levels.
Surround yourself with the right people
Usually, you can’t do things alone. There might be exceptions, but 99% of the cases having a friend, a colleague or an expert around will help you not just start but actually end the process of overcoming a limit.
It’s important to choose the right people – maybe your spouse isn’t going to be able to help despite his or hers best wishes. Maybe a group of people doing the same thing is the best way you can get over an insecurity. No matter who or how many, but having people supporting you all the way with either encouragement or feedback, being present and even holding you accountable is definitely a must.
Pick them, ask for their support and you’re all set to go! Sometimes, they’ll even give you some good advice, but it’s important that you stick to doing the things you initially listed. You can add more if a friend suggests it and you want to, but only after doing those three things you intuition told you to initially.
You’ll be amazed on how things work out when you decide to jump. The right people will show up, the great experience will unfold. And slowly but surely, your fight with your limits will become more and more bearable and in the end, you will overcome them.
Just jump, take many leaps of faith, do not over analyse and trust your intuition. If trusted, your intuition will become your best ally. Learn to listen to it.
Speak to that person you always wanted to speak to, take on the challenge at work you were always afraid of, do that bungee jump you are terrified of – do not doubt you can do it, just jump! You know you want it and you have the right people to help you. You’re safe, and you’re on the way to become a better you. Why stop?
Equally important after doing anything that pushed our limits is to take some time to breathe and learn and take it all in. Think about the following:
- How was the experience?
- How terrifying was it?
- Was it as bad as I have imagined?
- How do I feel now?
- Do I feel good?
- Do I feel like I trust myself more?
- What helped during this experience?
- What do I want to do next?
Repeatedly doing things that take us out of our comfort zone and push us to fight with our fears and limits will teach us that nothing is impossible when it comes to what we can do. No one says it’s easy, but with practice it will become easier to understand that something can be done no matter what. And that’s the goal – to know that when in doubt, jumping might be the best thing we should do.