Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Website Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | @MJMeetings Husband
I’ve had it. You’ve had it. Everyone has had it at some point in their life. You might be experiencing it right now because of something related to your job, career, business opportunity, family, friends or something else.
I’ve found myself talking to clients and prospects about this phrase for quite some time now. Every time I mention it, I say “I’m going to write a blog post about this someday.” (Btw, that’s what I call Thinking Like a Blogger, another concept I try to get our clients to adopt.)
I’m pretty sure I may have coined the phrase “irrational fear”. I’m going with that for now because I hadn’t ever heard anyone use it before.
As I recall, I first started thinking about the concept when Jason and I were talking about various business challenges Blue Gurus has faced at times.
I then found myself talking about it with blogging clients of ours. It usually came up when I was working with the client’s blog team for the first time or when someone was going to write their first blog post. That’s when I would have the inevitable “fear of writing…fear of what people might think…fear of putting yourself out there” conversation. I’ve had that conversation more times than I can count.
What is my definition of irrational fear?
Irrational fear is a heightened feeling of anxiety and/or concern around a person and/or situation where you have little-to-no definitive information. It’s a puzzle with several missing pieces. Irrational fear is dwelling on “what if” scenarios that cause increased levels of unnecessary stress and may prevent you from taking positive steps toward resolution. Irrational fear typically lives outside of your comfort zone and often plays off of those insecurities that live close to the surface.
Here are several examples of situations you might be able to relate to:
What happens if a client stops working with us?
What if I don’t get that job?
What if I fail?
What will happen if I miss my flight?
What if my kid gets hurt?
What if I start this business and it fails?
What if I lose my job?
What if I fall?
What if people make fun of me?
What if no one ever hires me again?
What if I don’t lose weight?
What if our team loses?
What if the prospect doesn’t accept our proposal?
What if he/she doesn’t like me?
What if the surgery doesn’t go as planned?
What if I never get married?
What if my son/daughter doesn’t do well in school?
What if I write a blog post and put myself out there for the world to see?
What if I to go to the doctor and they find something?
What if my client is having financial issues?
A certain amount of concern or anxiety around situations is normal. In fact, healthy levels of concern and anxiety often help us move forward to make decisions. But heightened, persistent levels of anxiety or concern…irrational fear…can overwhelm us and negatively impact our self-esteem, relationships, and more.
How Do You Deal With Irrational Fear?
The first step to overcoming irrational fear is being consciously aware when it’s happening…and then changing your mindset….reminding yourself that you’re worrying about something that hasn’t happened and, in many situations, likely won’t ever happen. From there, further remind yourself that if something doesn’t go as planned, you will figure it out and, if necessary, you’ll likely have friends and family who will help you through it.
Next, think about how many times you’ve had fear or anxiety around a situation…and it turned out better than you thought it would. Or times where you thought something happened was great…and it turned out not-so-great.
Life throws enough curve balls at us, so let’s all work on reducing our own stress levels around things we actually have some control over…like how we choose to react to situations. One of my favorite quotes sums it up best…”Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Recognizing and overcoming irrational fear is something I’ve personally been working on for years. I haven’t mastered overcoming irrational fear, but I’ve made a lot of great progress. So I hope you’ll join me and not let irrational fear keep you from achieving the life and career you’ve always wanted.
What situations have you experienced around the concept of irrational fear? How did you work through it? What do you do to get past moments where irrational fear is taking hold of you?