At College Plus, when we interview potential students, we ask them what they feel their biggest challenge will be in school. Many times they’ll express nervousness about being new and not knowing what to expect in the college environment. When they do confess it, oftentimes sheepishly, I tell the student that it’s very common to feel that way and reassure them that we are there to help them through it.
It makes me wonder, though, how many people are stopped right in their tracks when they come up against the unknown? How many dreams are unrealized because people are too afraid to pursue them? I think the sad truth is that many of us seriously limit our achievements because we are unable to push past our fears. This quote sums up the notion nicely:
“Fear echoes your self-defined limitations, not your actual ones. To change your self-image, you must face what scares you.”― Vironika Tugaleva
As scary as it is to move outside our comfort zone, it really is worth it. At the conclusion of the semester, most of the College Plus students are much more at ease with the college experience and express a desire to continue their courses. There wasn’t any way around their fear; they faced it head on.
“To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around.” ― Richie Norton
If you’re not sure where to start in overcoming your fears, here are some small, practical steps that can yield big results.
Understand what’s driving itDo a little self-searching by asking yourself which situations cause fear and why. Try using journaling, poetry, drawing, music, or some creative outlet to explore it. I truly believe expressing yourself through the arts can be very revealing to what’s deep down inside! Once you understand your fear, and what drives it, you’ll be better prepared to overcome it.
Know the factsThis is where you ask yourself about the chances of your fear coming to fruition. Do you avoid flying because you’re afraid of crashing? Then, research actual statistics on it. Knowing the risk level can help you feel more comfortable. It’s 1 in 29.4 million, by the way, so you’re not likely to become a crash victim.
Focus on the GoodTake some time in quiet meditation and visualize in your mind how you will fight your fear. Take yourself through scenarios in which you overcome the fear. This step takes practice, but over time you will begin to think more positively of your ability to combat that fear.
Of course, pace yourself. Focus on one fear at a time and make small steps to over come it. For instance, if you are nervous about asking questions in class for fear of sounding unintelligent, approach your teacher after class and ask him/her privately.
It's worth it
Stepping outside of our comfort zone is terrifying, but on the flip side it’s exhilarating. When we push past our fears, we build character and blossom into the person we’re meant to be. I’ll leave you with one last quote:
“Overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most.”― Matshona Dhliwayo