How to Turn Fear to Your Advantage




Steps to Take

Consider these five steps in the process of using fear to fuel your actions.

1) Learn to recognize the signs. Understand the physical and psychological signs of fear, so you are prepared to manage them and not be managed by them.
2) Develop skills to control your reactions. Techniques such as cognitive reflection, meditation, deep breathing, reframing (thinking differently), gaining perspective and even going for a walk, listening to music, watching a good movie or spending time with people you trust are effective strategies.
3) Clarify the root of the fear. Consider Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” which suggests we have basic physiological and safety needs, and higher-order needs such as belonging, esteem and actualization. Pinpointing your fears is a useful exercise. For example, if you are afraid of losing your business, determine if your fear is a result of a loss of your pride or a realistic fear that your family will become homeless. Gaining perspective can help you identify which fears are worth prioritizing and which are not.
4) Determine what you have direct control over and what you do not. Remember that you can only change yourself or your perspective; you cannot change what is beyond your control. If you cannot stop the failure of your business or your spouse from leaving, consider what you are able to control and then identify steps to take back control.
5) Change your reaction to fear by associating your physical and emotional feelings of fear with positive actions. This cognitive pairing will need to be very conscious at first. When you feel your heart beat faster or doubt creeping in, tell yourself to change your breathing, go for a jog or meditate and then remind yourself what you are in control of and the actions you are taking to resolve the situation. Retrain your body and mind to react differently, so you can put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your life.

Did you know that the simple act of smiling, of standing up and raising your arms in the air and saying “Yes, I can!” will begin to change the way your brain perceives your situation? Do not hesitate to take action and tap into your support systems by rallying your friends and supporters. You do not have to tell them why; just invite them to take a yoga class or go climb a mountain.

By being mindful of what is going on inside and around you—and how you are reacting and behaving—you can learn to recognize and identify your fear, understand and manage your own reactions and regain control. Once you do this, you can turn your reaction to fear into motivators for future success.

Other articles by Tara:
Can You Identify When Fear Is Holding You Down?
What You See Isn’t Always All There Is
Who are Your Influencers?
Fake It Until You Become It
Business Leadership For Uncertain Times
How to Enable your Connected Employees to Find Your Next Connected Employee
How Connected Employees Can Lead to Disruptive Change
How Connected Employees Can Boost Your Bottom Line
Can Disruptive Innovation Lead to Change?
3 Tips On Social Networks Vital for Business
Hiring Emotionally Intelligent Employees
Do You Maintain Composure in Business?
Hiring Better Fitting Employees

For more posts, see Tara’s mentor page

Tara Orchard is a coach, trainer and consultant who applies her insights into people and understanding of psychology to facilitate performance improvements for individuals, teams and business. Working with business owners and team leaders she uses personality typing and social and emotional intelligence assessment to consult on relationship and team management, employee development, screening and hiring, social networking and customer communications. She is currently working on a book about the psychology of successful social networking. Tara invites you to connect with her on LinkedIn, Career-coach Canada ( or Careeradex


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Tara Orchard
Tara Orchard is a coach, trainer, consultant and writer who applies her insights into people and Masters training in psychology to facilitate performance improvements, relationships and communication for people and businesses. She has worked with organizations to deliver clarity on culture and brand, develop their people and manage relationships with social network communities. Over the past 18 years she has consulted with 1000's of people who want to make effective transitions in their lives. Tara has a knack for hearing what people are thinking and helping them see what they need to see. She is the founder of her own career and social network coaching business, works with several other organizations as a coach and consultant and is about to complete her first book on the "psychology of effective social networking".