Fear. It’s the number one barrier to living confidently. You experience it every day in small and large doses.

Fears arise from events or situations that haven’t happened or may never happen. They arise from thinking patterns we’ve created and become adjusted to. They derive from false beliefs and reinforced mediocrity. And they live inside of our ego — the part of us that is the frightened, demanding child who only wants safety and comfort.

Here are some of the things you need to let go to overcome fear:

  • What other people think of you.
  • Fear of failing
  • Your status
  • The discomfort of fear
  • Embarrassment.

Don’t dwell on failures. Draw from the things you’ve done right. My talk last week was far from perfect. But if I dwell on the things I did wrong, I’ll psych myself out of future opportunities. I’ll be scared to say “yes” when somebody asks me to speak. Instead, I’m trying to focus on the things I did right so that I can emphasize them in future presentations. Confidence is built slowly, one success at a time. I’ve learned that in order to overcome fear, I need to employ a variety of techniques.

Try some of these tips to become more confident and to embrace your fears:

  1. Thinking Big:
    To think confidently, act confidently. You’ve heard the phrase “fake it ’til you make it”. Research has shown that faking confidence actually leads to the real thing.

  2. Stay open to all possibilities.
    Let go of outcomes. You may think you want to go right, but life takes you left. So go with what life presents. Left might be more fun anyway.

  3. Embrace change.
    Even change that appears negative. Change is constant and is part of the evolution of life and the human experience. Don’t fight it. It will happen anyway, so follow it where it leads you.

  4. Think like the other person.
    Remember that people are all the same. We each have the same fears and the same desires

  5. Make plans, but make them loosely.
    Set goals for yourself and work toward them. But remember, you are staying open to possibilities and embracing change. Work toward your goal, but watch for signs to recalibrate.

  6. Write a mission statement.
    When you apply your values and vision to every decision of your life, you have a roadmap that keeps you from veering off in directions that don’t support who you really are or want to be. Here’s an article on writing a mission statement.

  7. Find mentors.
    Look for people whose lives or work you want to emulate. Watch what they do and how they do it. Ask for their help and guidance.

  8. Challenge yourself.
    Find those areas in your life where you feel fear. Look those fears in the eye, and accept a little discomfort so you can reap the great rewards of stepping out of your comfort zone.

  9. Think big.
    Why not? Why not make the biggest plans, the boldest actions, the most challenging decisions? You don’t know unless you try. You can stay small and safe. Blah, blah, blah. Or you can live an extraordinary life. Read about Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity. This guy has done more in his thirty years than most people have done in a lifetime.
  10. Action, action, action.
    That is the greatest cure for fear. Decide what you want to achieve, then start doing the work. Focus on the task at hand. Then the next task, then the next.

Start today!