Tuesday, May 13, 2008

3 Simple Steps To Overcoming Your Fears And Firewalk

Here are 3 simple steps you can take to overcome your fears. I'm going to use a firewalk as the analogy or context for these steps.
Last year, I -- make that we (since my wife Michelle and our daughter Jalyna, who just turned 12, also participated) -- participated in a firewalk while in Australia. The coals were 1200 degrees fahrenheit, glowing red and still flaring. It was an unnerving sight and it brought up more than a little bit of fear.
As I've written before, fear is for the most part all in your head. In my case, the primary fear was imagining that I'd end up with severe burns to my feet and unable to walk. Then of course that would lead me to fall down onto the hot coals, and have my clothing catch fire. Heck, perhaps I'd even spontaneously combust! (We did have to sign a waiver acknowledging death as a potential outcome.)
Of course, none of those things happened. We all successfully navigated the bed of burning coals and felt exhilarated when we got to the other side. We were able to successfully overcome our fear by following three simple steps.
Step 1: Decide
The first step is to decide you will proceed in the face of your worry, doubt, or fear. In the absence of the decision to proceed, nothing will overcome the inertia and fear will rule the day.

In the case of our fire walk, we each made the decision that it was something that was important for us to do. Why? Well, for me, it was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to myself that I'm able to rise above my fears and do something my mind is telling me I can't or shouldn't do. This was important to me. Besides, other people were doing it, so why couldn't I do it?
A strong desire for something that's on the other side of your fear is a prerequisite to making the decision. But the decision is the foundation.
Step 2: Keep Moving Forward

Once you've embarked upon your goal, you must keep moving forward. If you allow fear to set in, you have a tendency to freeze (like a deer in the headlights) which is when things you don't want to happen are most likely to happen.

In the case of the firewalk, if we stopped part way along the path and simply stood there, then there was a very high likelihood that we were going to start suffering burns.

Moving forward means taking the step by step actions required to maintain momentum.

Step 3: Focus On Where You're Going

You must keep your eye on your destination ... don't look behind you or off to the side to see what's happening. When you do, you will be prone to misstep.
In the case of the firewalk, if we started to look behind us or at the crowd, we would be putting our safety in peril. That is how we'd most likely trip or misstep and then really hurt ourselves. We had to keep our eye on the other side of the coal bed, which served as our "lighthouse" of sorts that served to guide our navigation.
And then, celebrate!
You can be sure there were a lot of high fives and hugs in celebration when we made it to the other side of the hot coal bed ... as there should be. Living a life of inspired abundance means deciding to go after what you desire, moving constantly forward, and keeping your eye on where your're going at all times ... and then celebrating your successes along the way.
There you have it, 3 simple steps to overcoming your fears that I believe apply to literally any situation ... including doing a firewalk.

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