We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Your heart begins to pound. Your palms start to sweat. Your stomach churns. You begin to feel less confident in yourself. You turn the other way.
That’s what happens when fear approaches. It’s what seperates the successful from the unsuccessful. The defeated from the victorious.
Fear is by far the most prominent reason for failure. After reading countless books and reading success stories one after the other, the most common reason for accomplishing greatness is overcoming fear.
In Hawaiian fear is known as – Maka’u.
Mai maka’u i ka hana, maka’u i ka moloa – Don’t fear work, fear laziness (Hawaiian Proverb)
In ancient Hawaiian times, courage and overcoming fear was the sign of a true warrior. A true leader.
One of the tests for a Hawaiian warrior to show he had no fear was to learn how to dodge a fleet of spears thrown at him. They trained to run straight at the spears, dodging, and sometimes catching them as they approached their enemy.
Now I’m not saying that we should all start throwing spears at each other. But in the case of the Hawaiian warriors, it was a matter of life and death. If there was any hesitation during the training session it would result in getting smacked with a training spear, but any hesitation during the line of battle meant death.
Submitting and not overcoming your fears, today, can be the cause of death for our dreams and visions. It will hold you back from reaching your potential. I believe you have so much to give, but fear is holding you back.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. – Mark Twain
So how can we dodge or catch today’s spears and use them towards our advantage. Fear can constantly be thrown at us but if we don’t focus on the purpose of the outcome we will never make the final kill or achieve our vision.
How can we be like the ancient Hawaiian warrior, and face our fears to achieve greatness. In order to overcome it takes action. These are the actions I’ve been learning as I continue my way towards attacking the fears I have, and I have many.
Ideas to Overcome Fears
I don’t have an exact formula for you because I’m still working on my fears. These are the ways I’ve come across through experience and learned from others.
1. Write down your fears. This is super important. At this moment, be honest with yourself and write down what you fear. Sometimes just seeing your fears on paper can make you sweat but it’s necessary to lay it out in front of you rather than tucked away. Out of sight, out of mind until it jumps at you.
2. Embrace the Fear. We all have fears, you are not alone in this. Our emotions get the best of us. Take a hard look at the fears you wrote down and really embrace them. Think of events that happened where that fear approached you. Really feel it. Only until you allow the fear to become part of you can you face it. You can make the choice to allow it to control you or not.
3. Focus on your vision. Like the Hawaiian warrior, his vision was victory. Your vision is victory. When fear approaches, tell yourself, “This is what needs to be done to achieve my goal – it’s part of my higher purpose.” Accomplishing your vision and reaching your full potential isn’t going to be easy. You will face challenges. Fear is the main one.
4. Be Nalu. Go with the flow. Our body reacts towards fear in many different ways: sweating, chest pains, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, trembling, etc. It’s important to train ourselves to stay calm during these situations. Be Nalu. Step back and take a deep breath. Acknowledge the situation and then focus on your vision to help you overcome that fear.
5. Surround yourself with support. I have many fears, one that I will be overcoming at the end of this post. Let the ones closest to you know about the fears your have. Let them know you would appreciate their help and support. Don’t keep those around you who enhance your fear or tell you what you are doing is ridiculous or not worth it. Those sort of relationships need to be set aside. That’s for a later post.
6. Follow the steps of Ho’omau. In this 3 part series, I go over what it takes to achieve greatness; persistence, perseverance, and prevail. These lessons will help you get rid of fears. It may take some time to overcome a fear, but the main focus should be to stay persistent, persevere, and finally prevail.
Now these steps won’t work unless you take action. Fear will always show it’s face. When fear comes, that’s a sign that you are doing something that is bringing yourself closer to your goal. Keep that in mind, and attack it. Be like the Hawaiian warriors and run at the flying spears with courage and a keen focus on the mission at hand. Victory.
Today is the day you start these steps. Not tomorrow. Now.
What are some of your ideas to overcome fear? Please feel free to mention them in the comments below.
Mahalo. Aloha. A hui hou.