How to turn fear into a tool for achieving our goals

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Aren’t you scared of making the first step into the unknown? At least, a little bit perhaps? If not, you should tell us how you do that. But in any case, we would like to share with you Niki’s story how he got over this same problem. Today we would like to show that anyone can learn how to use fear to their own advantage.

Niki and the seminar

Ten years ago he took part in a very interesting conference. For three days he lived with the excitement of the captivating topics under discussion. The speakers’ ideas as well as the many questions from the audience made for a stimulating and thought-provoking atmosphere. There were countless things that he wanted to share.

At the same time, he was torn in his desire to raise his hand and talk about all that was on his mind. Back then he was way too worried to do that in front of so many people.

What was Niki Trifonov afraid of?

The reluctance to speak in public is one of the most common challenges we could face. Still, there was something much more subtle about his internal struggle. It is something that we all are very well familiar with.

These are the fairy tale stories our limiting beliefs tell us. We think in the line of these: “Who am I to try to say anything of importance!” or “It is way over my head.” Low self-esteem like that can easily take over us and we never get to pick up the microphone.

The turning point

In the end, Niki made it happen. He overcame this type of “stage fright” and talked at length about his visions. However, this single act didn’t transform him overnight as if by the wave of a magic wand.

On the contrary, only now, after many years, he can claim that this uneasiness is gone for good. Today, he can speak for hours without any trouble to an audience of hundreds at our “GoalBuddy” workshops.

The very first thing for him was to realize that our fears constitute a major barrier that stops us from fulfilling our dreams.

This feeling of apprehension that makes it so hard for us to act

The difficulty to get out of the comfort zone could be so big that you never get to start acting. Deep down we all know what needs to be done. And yet, the uncertainty makes us postpone or take on easier things which in the end won’t turn out to be of any use to us.

Of course, it could always take a turn for worse.

Fear is what kills our ability to aim higher

The nervousness can paralyze us to such an extent that we become incapable of having bigger and bolder goals. Or another possibility is that we don’t define the objective in a careful and detailed way.

The mechanism is simple. You have a goal which you don’t reach and therefore it’s a failure. While, if you choose not to aim at anything at all then there can’t be a failure either. It’s a slippery slope because not having any dreams and not working toward them, you’ll never be able to reach your full potential as a person.

The good news

It’s all a matter of attitude. To prevent fears from becoming as damaging, you have to change the way you think about them. And that takes time.

Let’s have a look at several ways you can make these negative feelings work for you.

One more way to discover your true goals

If an objective is not at least a little bit frightening then it simply belongs to your to-do list of tasks.

A goal that is worth dreaming of must be challenging. Unless you learn how to deal with the “scary” part of it, you won’t get far. Still, your to-do list should have at least one that makes you overcome yourself and do the extra effort required.

Fear is your compass

Imagine several dots that you have to connect drawing a line from the first to the last one. But instead of moving the pencil straight from point to point, you begin to zigzag and do all kinds of swirls and loops around the dots. It will take you longer to complete this simple assignment. In life, these “detours” are the false justifications to delay and the distractions by other low-priority objectives.

In such a situation the feelings of fright can point you the right way. What you so stubbornly avoid should be what you must definitely aim for.

Boost your confidence with the help of fear

It may sound counter-intuitive, but think of when and how you showed most courage? Of course, it is when you’re scared. Only then your action is truly brave. Showing character in the face of trouble will give you the peace of mind that you can take on tougher things next time.

So, we can continue, but you must be already curious to understand how our system can be of any help. It can do that in 4 distinct ways and give you the needed support!

# 1 90-day goals and small steps

Get your bigger worries broken down into several smaller ones.

Make it simple and divide your big dream into parts that can fit in in a foreseeable period – quarterly objectives, and even weekly steps. This is how you get the “2 in 1” effect:

  • First, they are far less intimidating and it’s more likely that you can overcome the psychological barriers.
  • And second, they are much easier to accomplish and you can begin to register quick progress right away.

An objective seems impossible because of the time perspective. If it is too big to fit into your short term horizon, then this makes it much more difficult. And that, of course, would be troublesome. Our system resolves the issue by providing for a wide range of time-frames – from the 30-year vision that sets the direction, through the 90-day goals, to the small weekly steps.

Considerable progress

The biggest advantage of breaking up a dream into realistic intermediate targets is that you are able to move forward on a regular basis. Little by little you are bridging the gulf that separates you from the finish line. No other approach can give you as much as this one.

# 2 The right understanding of failure

The truth is that we rarely achieve success on the very first try. Not that it would never happen, but it would be quite an exception.

Therefore it is imperative how we look at our initial efforts. If we see them only as a defeat, our limiting beliefs become reinforced and this makes us less willing to persist. In fact, the best lessons come out of our mistakes. Anyone who has reached their top aspirations has, in fact, paid the price for the many wrong moves in the beginning. Ask Mr. Thomas Edison!

It all depends how you view a misstep. If you can find a lesson in it then you will move on. And if you see it only as a blunder then you will be unwilling to go on or draw anything positive out of it.

Doing our homework

According to Einstein, it’s crazy to do again and again the same thing and expect a different outcome. We need to consciously change our efforts according to what we’ve already learned.

In our system, we use regular review and evaluation of what happened so that we plan better for the future. We have to know why and what went wrong so that we can make well-informed decisions.

Every 90 days we do a review with our Buddy. As a result, we adjust our course of action on the fly. And last but not least – we start the next quarter with renewed strength and deeper understanding.

# 3 Breaking the spell of fear and acting decisively

Or raising our hand…

The only way to break free and away from our insecurities is to take real action. Everything else – excuses, doubts, worst-case scenarios just make us captive to the unhealthy state of daydreaming.

And some people have been living in this type of fantasy land all their lives.

Releasing the energy

When you take the first step, you will find yourself on solid ground. This will unlock the forces of enthusiasm and motivation which, in turn, will open the way to all of your other efforts. That’s a perfect manifestation of the “domino effect”.

# 4 The past and the future

There is something else that can greatly encourage you. It is to focus not so much on the long road ahead of you, but on the distance already covered.

How often has the ill-defined perfectionism made it impossible to have a realistic view of how well you performed! Let’s say that you made a list of 10 tasks and you have completed all but one. And yet, in the evening the only thing in your head is “Ah, I didn’t do it all and that’s bad…” It is good to strive to do your best, but at the same time, it is even better not to get inflicted with self-blame. Just try to be appreciative of what has already been accomplished!

A matter of timing

Anyone can learn how to do that. You get up in the morning filled up with resolve and determination to get things done. And then, at the end of the day, you should be grateful for all the progress regardless of its magnitude. Moving forward means just that – heading in the right direction, no matter how small your advance might have been!

This same mindset could be applied to your 90-day goals so you can ramp up the much-needed confidence at the end of the quarter. And why not use this technique in your long-term vision that makes for a life marked by growth and development.


In order to be successful…

We need to find out what the true goals are. These are the ones that come from the heart, not the ego. And choose your battles carefully to save energy for what truly matters. The Buddy is the person to be relied on for helping us realize when we are getting off-track.

After all, we are all human and fear is quite normal and even useful. Except that there is this one thing that will make all the difference. It is how we look at it and what strategies we will put into place so that we have the life of our dreams.


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