Do you find yourself declining amazing opportunities and avoiding certain experiences because you are afraid? Everyone has fears, but those feelings can be overcome. You can discover how to take your worries and use them to propel you forward, rather than seeing them as obstacles standing in your way. By learning how to confront what scares you, you gain the opportunity to grow more than you could have ever imagined. All this may seem far-fetched, but by the end of this article, you will have the tools you need to push through the unease holding you back and start on the path to a more confident you.

One of the biggest problems people face in attempting to overcome their panic is the memory of a previous bad experience. Maybe you have issues with public speaking because when you were young, you had a breakdown in front of your whole class during a presentation. Perhaps you watched a movie like Castaway or Snakes on a Plane, and since then, you’ve been terrified of flying. Any number of things could have happened to make you wary of putting yourself out there, but by letting that emotion stop you from making a decision that could potentially make your life better, you are both limiting yourself and encouraging your anxiety to grow. 

To stop this from happening, the first step is being willing to take risks. Fear holds power over you because you let it, so one way to take the control back into your own hands is by confronting the source of your discomfort as often as you can. With each encounter, you will become accustomed to the experience and realize it is less scary than you thought. Now you have taken back the reins. You may still feel some concern each time you encounter your trigger, but where maybe you used to feel all-out terror, now you just feel a twinge of apprehension.

Understandably, it can be hard to willingly and regularly put yourself in situations that make you uneasy. To motivate yourself to take the risk, remind yourself that the previous incident was just one example of how this new event could go. Because of that memory, you know some of the problems you could encounter, and can come up with strategies to prevent them from happening. Make sure that you are prepared and tell yourself that you are stronger than your concern.

Another dilemma many people struggle with in relation to conquering their fears is worry about failure. It’s much easier to settle for the familiar than it is to put yourself out there and possibly end up making mistakes. Maybe you’ve gotten bored with your job, but the steady paycheck and the desire to avoid unemployment is making you stay. Perhaps in your romantic life, the love between you and your partner is gone, but you’re sticking around because you’re concerned you will be unable to find someone else. By refusing to let go of these aspects of your life, you are forfeiting the opportunity to grow. Instead of focusing on the possible downsides, turn your thoughts in a more positive direction. If you quit your job, you’ll finally have a chance to pursue a career that invigorates and challenges you. By letting that stagnant relationship go, you free yourself to search for a new love, and someday, you’ll meet the person who truly completes you. 

Even if you do fail, it’s important to remember that every mistake is a chance to gain new information and make course corrections as needed. You have the power within you to overcome every obstacle that stands in your way. It may be difficult, but by keeping your goals firmly in mind and sticking to them, you will find where you are meant to be. The first step is to adopt an attitude of bouncing back after a misstep and letting yourself learn from that experience. 

By doing what scares you, you open yourself up to the opportunity to learn and grow in incredible ways. For more information on gaining the strength to take risks, you can listen to our radio show by going to livingfullout.com/radio-show/ and clicking on the episode titled “Discover How Confronting Your Fears Can Boost Your Confidence As You Live Full Out.” We believe in you, so go be brave in the face of your worries and live full out.

Contributing Author: Ariel Zinkan