Updated: Mar 31, 2022
August 4th, 2021
Everyone experiences fear at one point or another. Fear of trying new things, fear of leaving your comfort zone, or even a fear of the dark. Being afraid of something dangerous like a wild lion or falling off of a cliff is a healthy fear that can keep us safe. But where that emotion can get in the way is when we want to do something outside of our comfort zone, but pointless and baseless fear keeps us stuck where we are. This blog post will detail a few of the strategies I’ve learned to overcome the fear of trying out new things, and I hope that maybe they can help you too!
Figure Out Where You Want to be
Before you can ever face a fear, you need to figure out where you want to be in life. If you are scared to attend a course, think to yourself: “Will this course help me in my career?” If you are too frightened to ask out that attractive person, will it help with your confidence? Will you be sorry you never talked to them? Take stock of who you are and what you want to do in life. Where do you want to go? And then ask yourself, “will overcoming this fear get me closer to who I want to be and to my goals?” Is the answer yes? Then you need to beat your fear. Whenever you come across something that scares you to try, think hard about if this is actually what you want. Consider if this activity will help you to be the person you want to be. If it does, then go do it! But how do you go about stepping out of your comfort zone?
Regularly Be Uncomfortable
One of the best ways to be able to overcome fear is to simply do it regularly.
Now I fully realize this is a bit of a catch-22 but bear with me. Beating your self-doubt and inhibitions is like working out a muscle. At first, hitting the gym is very hard and tiring. But over time, as you continue to work out, your muscles recover quicker, and you can lift heavier weights. The same concept applies to stepping out of your comfort zone. It is super hard at first, but the more you push yourself to do it regularly, the easier it will get. You’ll be able to do it more frequently and for bigger and better things. I implemented this concept to overcome my fears. At one point in my life, I had a serious fear of public speaking, spiders, and heights all at the same time! Thank goodness I never had to give a cliffside speech to an arachnid farm! The way I beat all of these was by allowing myself to feel uncomfortable and doing it frequently. I couldn’t talk in front of a crowd, so I would talk to random strangers to get some practice. Then I would speak in front of larger and larger groups. The more I did it, the easier it got to talk in front of people! Now, as far as the other two fears go, I used this method and the next one:
Instead of trying to tackle a huge fear or try something drastic right off the hop, break it down into manageable chunks. Start small. How I overcame a fear of heights was by safely exposing myself to heights. I started out by just going onto a balcony of a second-story building. Next would be a higher balcony. Eventually, I kept upping it and being uncomfortable regularly that I then was able to graduate to bungee jumping, ziplining, and skydiving! And I’ve had an absolute blast! I also did the same with spiders and gradually exposed myself to them. I even used a virtual reality game designed to combat a fear of spiders! And I did all of it by doing small manageable chunks. I probably wasn’t going to beat a fear of heights by skydiving right at the beginning. That might have just traumatized me. Instead, I did it a little bit at a time.
While I talk about irrational fears a lot, the concepts for trying new things stay the same. The first thing you need to do is figure out where you want to be. Will trying this thing and stepping out of your comfort zone help you in your life, relationships, or career? Then you need to allow yourself to be uncomfortable regularly. This will desensitize you to fear and help you develop the muscle for overcoming larger fears. Finally, to make it easier, start small. Begin with baby steps and gradually up the ante. Eventually, you’ll be surprised you were ever afraid of your previous limitations.