Conquering Fear

Sheila Murphy
July 2, 2024

In the movie Speed, there is a scene where they are unloading bus passengers from a moving bus because the bus has a bomb that will explode if it goes at a certain speed. Yet, we see one of the passengers hesitate to walk onto the ramp that will bring her to safety. Why? Because she is afraid and moving outside our comfort zone. While we may not be experiencing as dramatic an event—as that passenger, we still feel fear in moving outside our comfort zone in our career and business development. It feels safer to stay in that comfort zone.

But here’s the truth.

Nothing will change if you stay there.

You will stagnate and not grow.

Here are three of my tips to overcome fear to leave your comfort zone

Tip 1: Understand the Facts and Re-frame Fears

When we think about leaving our comfort zone, our mind creates a narrative of fear that is often untrue. For example, if we ask for a promotion, we will be considered pushy and “punished” for it. Instead, the truth is people are rewarded for asking for what they want and need—even if it does not happen because they get valuable information.

It is essential when fears prevent us from moving forward—that we understand the reality of the situation so we can move forward. We think these fears protect us, but they do not. The passenger in Speed probably thought her brain was protecting her from getting injured. In reality, it was putting her in harm’s way. She was much more likely to be harmed by the bomb than by the disembarking plan. Many of my clients have discovered that they hurt themselves by listening to their fears rather than facts. They did not obtain a promotion or a piece of business because they played it safe. Take the time to understand and accept the facts.

Tip 2: Have a Support Network

Having a great support network is extremely important when overcoming fear. These people can reinforce the reality of the situation and be your cheerleaders as you move forward. On the bus, fellow passengers encouraged the reluctant rider to understand the facts and take the necessary steps. They also cheered her on—as she moved forward and celebrated her success. You want the same when overcoming fears that are holding you back.

Tip 3: Take Small Steps

In facing our fears, breaking our goals into smaller, more achievable steps is often better. For example, in conquering my fear of public speaking, I did not start by speaking in front of a group of 400 people. I started in front of smaller groups. And at first I wrote out everything I would say. I then moved out to bullet point and finally with no notes. At the same time, I started speaking to larger and more senior groups.

Each time I achieved success, I celebrated it. Doing this made me more confident, and my ultimate goal did not seem so scary.

Wonderful things await you on the other side of fear.

So isn’t it time to get off the bus?


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