Monday, February 28, 2011

3 Ways to Bulldoze Fear

Part of my blog is the idea of "exiting safe." We all have our own cocoon of safety, and that cocoon often morphs as our lives change. Sometimes the safe zone is a good place to be, but other times we can feel ourselves outgrowing it, yet we dig our claws in and cling.

Why is it so hard to leave safety sometimes?

I can only speak for myself, but fear is a big part of it. I've clung to many cocoons over the years--being okay with an extra five pounds because I was afraid of giving up thirty minutes to exercise every weekday, doing chores my children could do because I was afraid of moving into a new phase of parenting, rushing to try to learn everything about writing because I was afraid of being left behind--or worse, quitting.

I still fight those extra five pounds; I still occasionally do chores on my kids' lists, and I still work hard to learn about writing--but I'm no longer motivated by fear in these areas.

We can work through our fears. These concepts aren't new but they are worth reviewing.

1. Focus on the steps rather than the goal.I'm not saying the end result isn't important--we should have a concrete idea of what we want to accomplish--but the thought of getting there can paralyze us. The goal can feel far away, unreachable. It's easy to give up on "losing forty pounds," or "writing two novels this year," because we don't know if it's possible. We fail before we even try. It's less threatening to "work out on the treadmill at 3mph for thirty minutes," or "write 500 words."

2. Get support.

No matter what your fear-inducing goal is I guarantee there's a support group ready to help you. An Internet search can lead you to forums and professional organizations. It's much easier to keep going when you can share your struggle with someone striving for the same goal. Not every day will be perfect. Not every week will be perfect. But when we have friends cheering us and pushing us forward, we can find the courage to keep going.

3. Stay accountable.
This is the tough one. In order to leave our safe zones and go after our dreams, we have to be honest with ourselves. If we really want to change, we're the ones who have to do the work. We have to carve out time to do new things, some of them scary, and we have to do them repeatedly.

Our precious schedule will have to be adjusted. Our family might fear the changes will affect them negatively. Through all this, we have to stay focused and stay accountable. If you want to lose weight, consider logging your workouts and keeping track of your food. Weigh yourself once a week. If you want to write that book, jot down how many words you wrote or how many chapters you revised. Add it up each week. It will be obvious if you've slacked off. Forgive yourself and move on.

We will always be striving for something. Life never becomes perfect. But when we truly work toward our dreams, we build confidence and we change our lives.

How do you work through fear?

Have a wonderful Monday!


  1. Great points. I just work harder and refuse to give in to it. Or I sink into denial until someone points it out to me. :)

  2. Those are good. Baby steps are much easy to do then looking at the full goal and getting overwhelmed.

  3. Very good post with great points, Jill. Sometimes, I don't work through fear. I work in spite of it. I do it afraid because I know all those things I need to accomplish are things God has asked me to do and will be a blessing to myself and others. But man the knots in my stomach!

  4. Most recently, I've used the technique in The Healing Codes. It really works, and in ALL areas of your life.

  5. What works for me, take one step at a time and laugh a lot

  6. Good morning!

    Laura: Not giving in to the fear is a huge step!

    Jennifer: Me too. Sometimes the task seems too big.

    Jessica: Oh, I like that. Working in spite of the fear. Good!

    Em: I can't wait to read that book. You sold me on it!

    CJ: Laughing definitely helps!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. We are on the same wave today, woman. I wrote about risk and how fear impedes being able to take risks.

    Support certainly has helped me--knowing there are others out there rooting for me helps me keep running this wackadoo race.
    ~ Wendy

  8. One of the things that helps me is to take a deep breath and just jump right in. Everyday you don't do the thing you're afraid of, it grows bigger, and I refuse to give away my power!:) I am bigger than fear. Have a great day, Jill:) Love the post:)

  9. All good points Jill! Support and inspiration from other's stories of achievment help keep me working toward my own goals and dreams.

  10. Thanks, Jill, for the great post!! Reminders on how Fear can control our lives, and what we need to do to stomp him, are always needed & much appreciated. Baby steps, sometimes wearing blinders, are surely the key!!

  11. Jill, your points are so valid. It scary and surprising how often we make choices based on fear. Thanks for this excellent advice to move beyond it.

  12. I'm experiencing some fear myself right now - my novel has become a behemoth to me. I think I'll combat the fear by breaking it down into workable bits. Let's hope it works!

  13. Great post, Jill :) I agree that fear really can be a huge de-motivator for things we want to accomplish and I struggle with that all the time. My wife gave me a great piece of advice I try to follow which is, "if you're afraid of something, do it several times, then you will probably find it's not so scary afterall."

  14. I frequently battle fear. Your first tip helps me, Jill. By breaking a task into parts, it can seem less daunting. Right now, for example, I'm preparing to write my next story. If I look at the big picture, Second Book Syndrome could take over, causing me to experience a bout of doubts.

    What's working for me is to focus on the next step: reading a reference book. That's doable. As I move from one task to the next, the book will get written--and I won't be as likely to fall prey to fear.

  15. You make some great points. The goal itself can seem agonizingly far out of reach sometimes. But the steps along the way are achievable, one at a time. Support and accountability are crucial on any journey, especially to counteract the inevitable negativity that also seems to come. If you inundate yourself with enough positive encouragement though, you can truly be unstoppable!

  16. Kind of sounds like AA. Come to think of it, I think those steps could apply just as well.

    Find a sponsor, work through the issues one at a time until you reach your goal. We should all get writer's anonymous chips and definitely have a 'sponsor' in this field. It's always great to have someone provide objective support and insight. Kudos!

  17. Great post, Jill! I can't think of anything to add that hasn't already been said, but I will say that this post is timely as I set my goals for March. Time to step out of my cocoon!

  18. Great post! Fear can be such a hindrance. I love some of the Psalms to help me work through my fears.

    PS. Love the pic of the mermaid pose.

  19. Hi Jill -

    I deal with fear by: 1) Prayer. 2) Quoting scriptures I've memorized on the subject. 3) Diving into whatever task I'm avoiding because of it.

    Susan :)

  20. Fear was a gaping foothold in my life before I came to Christ. Now, I have the privilege of leaving my burdens with Him. Some days, I do this just fine. Other days, I need a reminder:)

  21. Wendy: We are on the same wavelength! Support keeps me sane!

    Maren: What a terrific motivator--I am bigger than fear! Thank you!

    Lynn: Same here. I love reading how other people work through their problems.

    Patti: Hand me the blinders!

    Constance: Yeah, if we tallied up our choices each day, it would be surprising how many are based on fear. Good point.

    Melissa: Don't I understand that! Sometimes novels are like the big bad monster in the closet!

    Aron: You're wife is a genius. She is. :) It's true that the more we do something, the more normal it becomes.

    Keli: I'm with you--breaking a task into small bits today. Much easier than thinking of all I need to do with it!

    Angela C: Yes, and sometimes we need someone else to believe in us on the days we can't.

    P.W.: Support chips! Love it!

    Ralene: You've had such a life-changing few months. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, and do enjoy getting out of that cocoon!

    Georgiana: The Psalms are great for getting out of fear--I agree. God is the ultimate bulldozer!

    Susan JR: You're too smart. I'm writing your steps down!

    Tamika: You're right. He always takes our burdens, even if we do need a reminder!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  22. Wow! These things have been on my mind lately. I love the way you answered some of my questions without even knowing. It must be God. Thank you so much, Jill. I'll have to add this post to my favorites so I never forget.

  23. I love your advice to focus on steps rather than the goal. I'm all about tackling things in small chunks.

    Have a great week, Jill! :)

  24. Hi Jill,
    I hopped here from Jody's blog, and I'm so glad I did. Couldn't be more timely. I'm presenting a workshop on blogging to my writer's group this Saturday. Though I'm a relative novice, I'm slightly more "expert" than they are. I would like to include your article on blogging in my handouts. I will also be adding your site to my handout-list of helpful sites for writers.

    Thank you for your helpful blog. I'm pleased to follow and share it.
    Though I'm writing a nonfiction Christian living book, my blog isn't about writing. It's about Christian living. Please stop by and visit.

    Blessings to you,

  25. I really like this post, Jill, especially #3.

    The best way that I've found to get over fear is to work through it, bit by scary bit. Most of the time I end up looking back and think, what in the world was I so afraid of??!? Fear is a funny thing. It can run our lives if we let it. I prefer to stomp it out!

    "Fear not!"

  26. I love the idea of "exciting safe"... I tend to lean towards the "exciting side" and need to trend towards "safe". This is great advice.

  27. Ellie: It must be God. I'm honored this touched you.

    Sarah: Me too. I'm a list girl. Have a wonderful week too!

    Susan P: Welcome! I'm so glad you're giving a workshop. Please use any materials from my site. And if your group has any questions I could answer, I'd be happy to talk to any of them.

    Loree: Boy, do I understand that! I often look back and think, "I was afraid of THAT??"

    Erin: Trend away!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  28. Very good, sensible steps. I've got some changes to work on myself. I like especially #1 -- when I remember this principle, it helps me a lot.

  29. Prayer is a big one for me. Thanking God for all the good things in my life and praying for other people help me put everything in perspective.

  30. All the ideas are good. I love it where you say to "carve out time for new things and then do them repeatedly." That is something I can take away and put on a card and use. Thanks.

  31. Erm... I don't?? Hehhe.. no, I completely agree with you.. this is great advice.. baby steps first :)

  32. Kinda like I jog-plod, plod, plod.
    Not pretty, but often the job gets done.

    Did I add that the Perseverance word in my Concordance section of the Bible is worn thin?

    Blessings and love,


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