How To Get A Handle On Fear

August 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

Interesting blog, see below, about managing fear.

Fortunately or unfortunately I have a lot to say about the subject.

Our instinctual flight or fight response means exactly what it says or asks.  Do I fight or flight what is happening to me?  In seconds our brain accesses the situation and makes a decision.

Twice before in my life I have been a victim of a crime – once in New York City and once in Los Angeles.  In both situations adrenaline and Cortisol kicked in and turned mind sharper while slowing down time to allow me to make the necessary decision – right or wrong.  This dynamic is pretty straight forward and goes back all the way to our cavern days.

Now, psychological fear – which is what we mostly deal with – has little to do with staying alive while a lot to do with being paralyze or ran over by our emotions.

Fear in these situations come as a result of us projecting our sense of worth and identity onto work and social situations.  “If I fail at my presentation what will others think of me?”  “If I say something stupid in front of others what will they think of me?”  With such high stakes no wonder it is easy for us to be engulfed by our out of control fear and anxiety?

The truth is sometimes we will say silly things, but that doesn’t necessarily make us silly.  We also may make a business presentation that doesn’t go well, but that won’t mean we are not good at what we do or a failure.

Unfortunately, knowing these truths doesn’t always keep our feelings under control.  So, what can we do? We can develop tools we can use when fear and anxiety strike.

In my business, I have to go to “buyers” and pitch them an idea for a film or TV show I’ve had.  It sounds easy, but its nerve racking.   Think about it: you walk into the office of someone you probably never met before who has the ability to green light a project of yours.  If they say yes to your project you will earn money and professional respect.  So, they hold the power.  You must tell them your story clearly and passionately and you can’t be side-tracked by anything else that might be going on in the office including their reactions to your idea.

I equate these pitch meetings to performing at a sporting event.  No second chances.  If I didn’t have tools to deal with the anxiety and fear that comes up when I have to go out and pitch,  I would probably not even be able to get into a car.

So this is what I do:

  • I talk to myself.  I remind my psyche that all I can do is present my idea in the best way possible. That is all I have control over.   If the buyer doesn’t spark to my idea that is nothing I can do.  It’s out of my control.

By reminding myself that I’m not in control of an outcome releases a lot of apprehension because I’m no longer making myself responsible for the results.  Working on the presentation is something I can do.  So, I work on that.  I work on what I have control over.

  • I remind myself to breath.

When we get anxious we tend to take short and superficial breaths.  But, long and deep breaths have the ability to calm and ground us.  So, I breathe.

  • I give the event the respect it deserves without becoming obsessed with it.

What I mean is:  I recognize the need to prepare, but I don’t stop life and put the event on a pedestal to the point that it will create tremendous anxiety.

Please read on…

How To Stop Fear In Its Tracks

By Mary Pritchard

It’s midnight. You’ve had a little too much to drink, so you’ve decided to “walk it off” by hoofing it the five blocks to your apartment. Halfway there, you hear footsteps behind you. You stop and turn around. Nothing. You start walking again, a little faster. The footsteps behind you speed up too. You break out into a flat-out run — in high heels, no less — and make it to the safety of your apartment, never really knowing what it was that spooked you. Not really caring either, because you’re safe now…Continued

 

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