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There is one emotion that holds us back from realizing our dreams. It paralyzes us often right as success is within our grasp and it convinces us to give up too early.

That emotion is fear. We each experience it in many ways—fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, fear of the unknown. But why are we so afraid? It’s because we all have experienced adversity. Whether we have been bullied, abused, ignored, made fun of, or just failed at something, we remember these negative experiences and over time they erode our self-confidences. Unless we learn how to overcome our fears, we limit our happiness and the possibilities for our lives.

Here are 10 ways to release yourself from the claws of fear so you can experience the joy of moving forward and reaching your dreams.

  1. Shift your thinking. Instead of looking at a situation as a dead end, find the lesson or a better the opportunity from it. Ask yourself: “Does this fit my skills and interests? Is this where my focus should be right now? Is this truly what I want for myself?” When we shift our thinking to seek the positive, we begin to trust the path instead of questioning each step. Some things make more sense when you look at them backwards. Picture yourself at your goal and see the progression that got your there. Once you shift your thinking, fear begins to dissipate.
  2. Find ways to get back into the heart space. All thoughts come from either love or fear—they are opposites. Love opens our hearts and allows energy to flow. With fear, our worlds constrict, we see fewer options, and our thoughts are clouded.
  3. Remember that F.E.A.R. is only False Evidence Appearing Real.
  4. Break it down into smaller pieces. Women often become overwhelmed because we look at everything as a whole. Instead, focus on one problem at a time. Deal with the car, the job, and the relationship one at a time, not all at once. Do the same to reach your big goals by breaking them down into single steps. Compartmentalize with purpose.
  5. Determine what the main issue really is and strip away all the other parts. In The Women’s Code, we learn there is an ego-RHYTHM for each phase of our lives. When we know which ego-RHYTHM we are in, we can set a Main Focus to prioritize what is most important right now.
  6. Stop thinking about how you feel and start doing something instead. Overcoming fear means you feel afraid but you do it anyway. Set tiny goals. As you achieve them, your confidence will increase and you’ll be on your way to bigger things.
  7. Build momentum. Succeeding with small, achievable goals not only builds confidence, it also inspires you to reach the next goal. What is the first step can you do today that gets you into motion?
  8. Trust that the right opportunities are coming to you. In terms of energy, we attract what we are ready for, which means you can judge your progress by the quality of what you receive. If you attract men who won’t commit, are you actually ready to commit? If your job opportunities don’t pay what you want, are you selling yourself short by not truly believing in yourself and your abilities?
  9. Never give up. Our defining moments occur when we are in our darkest times. We often have to muster our greatest strength when we are at the bottom. But once we break through from those depths, we realize we that always had, and always will have, the strength to make it no matter what comes our way.
  10. Apply the power of positive thinking. Positive thinking is not the same as being content to sit on the couch eating potato chips and watching funny movies. Rather, it is finding a thought you can believe in that will get you through. It could be something simple like: “I will overcome,” or “this will not define me.” The thought that works for me is: “this cannot be all there is for me.”

Every single one of us faces adversity. We experience fear only if we lack confidence in our own abilities and don’t have the courage to change our circumstances. Maria Shriver says you don’t need courage unless you feel fear.

In my coaching practice, I often see how people give up too soon because they are afraid things may go wrong. They revert back to doing what they’re familiar with even though it doesn’t make them happy. If you are scared out of your mind, go for it anyways because the absolute worst thing that can happen is— nothing changes. And if nothing changes, you are no further away from your goal than you were before. At the end of the day, we are celebrated our successes but our failures make us who we are.

We need to claim our lives and take control of our futures. Nobody will hand us the lives we want. Remember, everything is energy and the universe matches our thoughts and actions. If you think you are nothing—you are right. But if you believe you are here to develop your greatness—you are also right. Which one is it going to be?

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