Left unchecked, fear can have a significantly negative effect on our lives.  Nothing blocks change out of our life the way fear does.  When its power is greater than our power to push through it, fear can be devastating. There are, however, things we can do to challenge our fears once we understand a few basics.

 Fear stunts growth.  It persuades us to do less than we are capable of doing.  Fear often triggers our internal defense systems to fool us into thinking that we have perfectly good reasons not to change and grow to our potential. Particularly, fear of making mistakes causes indecisiveness and stops us from knowing what we really want. It warps our perception of our life and what we can do to make it better.

 Fear is restrictive.  It keeps us from asking for help when we need it or benefiting from the emotional support offered by others. To calm our fears, we often develop unhealthy habits and behavior patterns. Fear makes us give up short of our goals.  Fear also keeps use from taking the risks necessary for personal and professional growth.

 Fear is controlling. It can control our life if we let it.  However, we can push through it if we can relax mentally as well as physically, and develop the habit of taking well-chosen risks - small ones at first, then bigger ones later as our confidence become stronger.  Positive self-talk and visualizations can be powerful allies. If we get into the habit of vividly seeing ourselves achieve success, we can overcome the paralyzing effects of fear and move confidently into the kind of life we deserve – self-confident, successful and rewarding on many fronts.

What types of fears do you have that are preventing you from positive change in your personal and professional life?  And just as importantly, what steps can you take today,  tomorrow or even later in the week to challenge those fears and to change your focus?  Don’t worry about making big adjustments in your thinking; after all, you’re on a journey, not a destination.  Start with small things and build on your successes.  Look in the mirror to confront the person holding you back.