Clear the Fear, Be Here

everythingBy Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D.

Fear can come in many forms and when we feel it, it can stop us dead in our tracks. Fear can paralyze a performer or athlete in the middle of a play or at the end of the championship game.

When we experience fear, we get in our own way. Of any single thing, fear keeps us from reaching our potential and holds us back the most. This fear might include the fear of failure such as the fear of losing a match or game, letting others down, or making mistakes. When we tend to worry about things not under our direct control, we begin to build fear in our mind.

You can see fear of failure by how easily frustrated someone gets if they don’t perform their best. You might see them fretting over mistakes. And you will likely be able to see the fear by looking in their eyes. Their eyes may seem glossy and unfocused. Their body will appear tight and not relaxed.

Striving for perfectionism can create fear. When people strive for perfectionism instead of excellence, for example, they don’t accept or allow mistakes. Yet in order to achieve success, it is necessary for us to fail. This failure can be a good thing because we learn lessons that allow us to keep pushing and striving to be at our best.

Fear rests in our perception of the event and to change the fear, we must change our perception. Here are a five ways clear the fear:

  1. The most important point to addressing the fear is to recognize the fear. By being keenly aware of your mind and body, you are better able to recognize the fear and address it.
  2. One way to address that fear is to take a deep centering breath while clearing your mind and relaxing your body. Taking a deep centering breath can allow you to brush off the mistake or concern and move on.
  3. Learn to love challenges. By simply changing our perception of the importance of challenges and that they provide us with an opportunity to learn and be better, we embrace adversity and clear the fear.
  4. Changing your frame of reference to perfectionism is important. It is impossible to be “perfect” – no one is. Strive for a high standard of excellence instead.
  5. Focusing on the outcome of the performance directly creates fear. To address fear, work to focus on the process and not the outcome such as winning or beating a rivalry. When we focus on the small things we need to do to perform at our best, the fear will clear.
  6. Savor the day and enjoy every minute. When you are happy and enjoying the moment, the game or the performance, it nearly impossible to experience fear.

When you clear your fear, you address the fear head on and your mental game strengthens. As a told the Maverick Baseball Team before they left for the College World Series, “Clear the Fear and Be Here.” Use this mantra the next time you recognize fear and then work to get back to the moment. Look to see fear and failure as an opportunity to grow and learn about yourself. If you clear your fear, you will be more likely to reach your potential and dominate your next performance.