Let’s take this example so commonly used by other people to prove this point. If they use it, it’s probably real so I’m going to use it too because I’m too lazy to think about a new one. Let’s say that you are a very hard worker in your company and you have excellent results, but your salary is not hard or excellent. You’re afraid to go ask for a raise because you think your boss won’t give it to you anyway and you’ll make him/her mad. Let’s put this in the 10 question format, as above.
- What am I really afraid of?
– I think I’m afraid to make him/her so mad that I’ll get fired.
- What are the worst things that could happen (related to the answer above)?
– I get fired.
– I won’t be able to pay my bills;
– I won’t be able to provide for my family.
- How would my life look like if those things really happen (describe one day of your “new” life, the sour version)?
– I’ll probably sit around the house very sad because I won’t know what to do. I’ll probably apply to other jobs for a few weeks until someone would hire me.
- What are the best things that could happen (related to what you want to do)?
– I get a bigger raise that I ask for.
- How would my life look like if those things really happen (again, describe one day of your “new” life, the sweet version)?
– I’d go out with my family more often. I’d buy some new things for the house and I’d also fix that toilet seat (maybe I’d change it with a puffier one).
- Do I see myself doing it for the rest of my life despite the potential shitty outcome?
– I don’t know if this applies here. I like the work I do so I’d probably try to find a new job in the same field.
- What do I really want to achieve with this?
– I’m busting my ass here every day and I work so much more than my colleagues. I deserve it. If I can make sacrifices for them, they should make some for me.
- Is this achievement worth the process and the potential shitty outcome?
Well, yeah. I don’t want to work for nothing. I put passion in it, but it doesn’t pay my bills.
- What can I do to diminish the chances of those shitty things to happen, but still going for what you want?
– I guess I can have some numbers that prove how much work I’m putting in. I can try to find a moment when my boss looks more relaxed so his/hers reaction won’t be that dramatic. Also, until I find that moment, I guess I could look around for jobs just in case.
- If I fail and the worst things happen, would I be able to move on with my life despite it?
– It would be harder in the beginning, but I’ll manage it. This job is not my life. My family and I are much more important.
Just writing down how our lives would be just in case the worst scenario happens can have a great impact over that fear because now we have control over that outcome. “Knowing” how our lives can be and knowing that it’s not that horrible as we imagined (actually, we haven’t really imagined… it was the fear the one creating those exaggerated outcomes so we won’t get out of our comfort zone) is important because we’ve seen that we can survive to that worst case scenario. We might even find some positive aspects in all of that. At least, those dragons are not unnameable anymore and we have some sort of a plan to face them.
How do you challenge your fear?