Everyone experiences fear from time to time. You might be afraid to confront someone, borrow money to grow your business, or introduce yourself to someone you admire. We all have moments of fear, but very few of us see those moments as opportunities.
Fear gives you the unique opportunity to develop a priceless inner force that expands your life. That force is courage. Here are the five necessary steps for converting fear into courage.
Step 1: Accept It
PHIL: Fear never goes away. It doesn’t matter how strong you feel or are—if you can lift 350 pounds, if you have 350 million dollars in the bank if you can boss around your spouse—you are still going to be afraid. To a large degree what you accomplish in life, what you are capable of, is going to depend on how you deal with fear.
Step 2: Identify It
BARRY: To leverage fear into courage, you have to be honest with yourself every time you’re afraid. If you don’t admit your fears to yourself, you can’t leverage them into courage. Look for the points in your life where you’re afraid, and see them as opportunities to learn to deal with fear.
Step 3: Feel It
BARRY: The greatest mistake people make when dealing with fear is to try to think their way through it. They analyze what triggered it, or start “playing chess,” projecting out what might happen next, and how they’ll deal with it. This doesn’t diminish fear; it actually increases it because there’s no way to outsmart the universe. Instead of trying, do the counterintuitive thing with fear: let yourself feel it. Then you’ll be ready to move to the next step.
Step 4: Face It
BARRY: Have you ever had one of those dreams where a dark, scary figure is chasing you? If you run away, it always gets much more terrifying. If you turn around and face it, something good almost always happens. It’s the same with fears in your waking life. The Reversal of Desire tool literally reverses the desire to run away and gets you to face your fear and move through it.
Step 5: Practice It
PHIL: Try to think about confronting fear as a skill—something you can practice and get good at, like ping-pong, or knitting, or anything else. This will make your fear seem less dramatic, and you’ll feel more in control of it. You can also gain a lot of satisfaction in the process.
Read the full article, including details on each step and how to work with the Reversal of Desire tool, on goop.com.