Being clear about the six-stage process of facing any fear gives you enormous awareness and can help you to move through fear 10x faster.
“It doesn’t matter how many fears you face—we all go through the same process over and over again.” – Michele Poler
The Basic Psychology Behind It
- When it comes to making decision we have two systems, just like in a car, you have an accelerator & a brake on a car
- Accelerator aka Behavioral Activation System: triggered by reward, encourages us to take action, leads to growth
- Brake aka Behavioral Inhibition System: triggered by risk, keeps us from taking action, keeps us in our comfort zone
1. Discovery Stage
- You see someone do something, you’ve never considered doing before. Or you envision a bigger future for yourself.
- Almost automatically and instantly the next stage is triggered
2. Denial Stage
- Our mind comes up with reasons, why what we want to do is impossible, improbable and dangerous.
- In an attempt to keep us safe, our behavioral inhibition system is trying to keep us out of situations that are unknown, uncertain and expose us emotionally.
- It’s easy to get stuck in this stage.
3. Determination Stage
- We need to realize that our subconscious is trying to talk us out of a new experience.
- Ask: What if I do it and things go right? (activates the behavioral activation syste):
- Then make a simple plan, gather your support network and tools.
- You are 100 percent determined to making it happen.
4. WTF Am I Doing?! Stage
- Right before you are going to do something, your subconscious is trying to keep you safe again.
- Feeling: The sinking feeling in our stomach: What did I get myself into?
- Thoughts: Our mind is considering all the worst-case scenarios. “You won’t be able to do this!” “You are not good enough for this!” “Who do you think you are?”
5. Action Stage
- You tune down the fear by asking:
“What’s the best that can happen?”
- You are out side your comfort zone, you are uncomfortable and take action.
6. The Celebration Stage
- After going through all of this, for something we really want, we feel proud – regardless of the outcome.
- Stop for a moment to celebrate – let it sink in.
- Then go back to stage one.