How to Deal with Fear

 

Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“Dear, Mike, you have spent most of your career helping people live and lead more courageously. Have there been times in your life when you were afraid? If so, how did you deal with that fear?”

Wow. That’s a very personal question. “Had there been times in your life where you were afraid? If so, how did you feel with that fear?”

Yes. There have been times in my life where I was afraid. Here’s what happens with me, though. When I get afraid, I tend to get mad. It’s not something I’m necessarily proud of but I do have a tendency if I’m scared or if somebody surprises me or shocks me, and if it’s something I’m afraid of, I do tend to get a little bit irritated or agitated.

Here’s how I deal with it. Did you ask for that? Yes. If so how did you deal with that fear? The first thing I do is I take action against it. Right. First thing I do is I ask myself a series of questions. Questions are very simple. What’s the worst thing that can happen in this situation? What’s the best thing that can happen in this situation? What’s the most likely thing to happen in this situation? Then I say what’s my plan in each situation?

I don’t sit back and wait for it to overwhelm me, I don’t wring my hands, I don’t perseverate or think about it constantly. What I do is I have a tendency to act on it. I tend to feel it, I don’t pretend it doesn’t exist, I acknowledge it when it occurs and then I ask myself the three scenarios and then what’s my specific plan. Here’s the deal, fear is always a prediction about something that’s about to happen. It is not about what’s currently happening.

If you’re afraid of speaking in public, you’re not afraid of speaking in public, you’re afraid of what you think it’s going to happen if you speak in public. I want you to just ask yourself whenever you deal with those things to have a plan and then to deal with that. Remember that courage is not the absence of fear, courage is the presence of fear but acting anyway. That’s how I generally deal with it.

There’s even one time in my life where the fear was really overwhelming, it was almost an anxiety attack and in that case, I actually acted it out physically. I went for a run and I am not a runner. I think running should be illegal to tell you the truth, but I just took off running through some orange groves and it was gone in a matter of minutes. Thank God or I might have died from a heart attack from running.

First, you accept the fact that you have it. Secondly, the scenarios, what’s the worst, best, and most likely case, what’s my specific plan? If it’s physiological, racing heart so on and so forth, then you want to act on that by taking some physical action to countermand your physical symptoms.

That’s how I do it, that’s how I’ve always done it. I feel fear very, very seldomly now because of practicing those things over and over, but there have been times I’ve had to make courageous plays. I’ve had to act in a high-risk environment. Even though I wasn’t afraid, I knew there was a big risk. Hope that was helpful.

 

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