Fear has always been the great enemy of success. More people are held back by fears than by any other factor. Fear is a tricky human emotion. It can paralyze you. It can keep you from your dreams. It can keep you small. But it can also keep you safe. Fear can be your friend in just the right doses, but too much of it can kill you.

People often do not recognize the impact fear has in their lives, simply because they use different words to describe the emotion – words such as worry, nervousness, stress, shyness or anxiety. Specific fears can also be hard to discover, even though they may constrain our lives immensely – fears such as the fear of failure, rejection, making mistakes, criticism, expressing your opinion or asking for what you want.

There are fundamentally two kinds of fear: Rational or Good fear and Irrational or Bad fear.

Rational fear causes you to look to the left and to the right before crossing the street. This kind of fear is able to give you common sense to keep you away from danger. That’s the rational kind. It’s rooted in our animal instinct of pure and absolute protection of our self and our tribe. Rational fear ensures self preservation.

Then there’s irrational fear. The fear that creates the same kind of physical sensation you get from rational fear: increased heart rate, blood flow to the extremities and rapid short breath. Except, irrational fear is rooted in the- “what ifs!” “What if blahblahblah happens?” What if? What if? What if?

Irrational fear keeps us on the treadmill of stagnation.

The goal is not to get rid of fear but to learn how to manage it. It is normal to be afraid; it just means you are human. However, you do not have to be paralyzed by fear; you can learn to dance with it. Here are tips 3 to manage your fears:

1. Embrace your fears. Get clear on what you’re afraid of? It can be anything. A lot of times our fears are like an onion that has multiple layers. So peel away! It also helps if you see fear as a fire alarm alerting you to check something out. This may propel you into action. This is good, not bad. Remember, fear is something to accept and explore not ignored.

2. Do it afraid. Here is a great quote: “Courage, confidence and even fearlessness are the result of facing, embracing, and dancing with fear. Looking it straight in the eye and having a partnership with it.” The people who succeed in life are not the ones without fear but those who step forward in spite of it. So, do it afraid.

3. Let go of the illusion of control. There is so much in our lives that we don’t have control over. We don’t have control over what other people say or do and we don’t have control over the future. In reality all we can control is our actions and the choices that we make today based upon what we’ve seen, heard or experienced. When we accept that life is outside our control it will help us be more flexible to adapt and change when life doesn’t turn out the way we planned.

Remember, the goal is not to get rid of fear but to learn how to manage it. It is normal to be afraid; it just means you are human. However, you do not have to be paralyzed by fear; you can learn to dance with it. As you learn to manage your fears, you will become more confident.

I want to end this blog with one of my favorite quotes on fear. I hope its message will inspire you as it has inspired me!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. Is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? … Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you… As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Nelson Mandela

When you think of fear, chose to Face Everything And Rise.  Chose to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous- chose to be an Optometry Diva! Don’t play small and don’t shrink into fear. Instead be confident and bold and change your world!

Connect, Empower and Promote a Stronger more Confident YOU!