Courage is the direct byproduct of confidence. So first build upon your confidence. And the easiest way to boost your confidence is to focus on what you are good at - your strengths!

The ONE mistake to avoid when confronting your fears


February 1, 2017

Haven’t you heard this? ‘Conquer your fears’, ‘Confront your fears’; ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’; ‘Take your fears head on’…

While it is endearing to be inspired by empowering quotes, it is absolutely anarchic to blindly implement them without checking on your residual courage.

Courage is the direct byproduct of confidence. So first build upon your confidence. And the easiest way to boost your confidence is to focus on what you are good at – your strengths.

A decade back, I shuddered and shivered at the mere thought of speaking to two people at a time. My so-called weakness was not only brought to my notice, but highlighted at the most inopportune of occasions by my near and dear ones.

The most embarrassing of situations was at a get-together, when one of my family friends took it upon herself to ‘help’ me. As the lunch was being served, and we waited for our turn, she announced, “Please pass me another plate. It’s for Nisha. She will starve but never ask.”

I thought, ‘I’m not hopeless as she thinks. I sure can fend for myself.’ But I could not have blamed her as that was the image my silence at public gatherings portrayed.

I decided to confront my fear at that moment. I made a conscious effort to start a conversation, I attempted contributing to group discussions at my workplace… But all I did was fumble and mumble. Either I got the pronunciations wrong, or my timing of reply was inappropriate or I was never acknowledged. My confidence hit the nadir. I was a miserable bundle of nerves.

So I was back to doing what I always did during such times. Recoiled myself. Shut myself up and poured out my frustrations and emotions in my diary.

Interestingly, I was never afraid of sharing my written words. So I started letting my words be ‘heard’. Emailed them to my friends and colleagues.

Slowly, the reception to my ‘silent words’ grew. My readers increased. That made me write more and go public. I started my blog. That was the turning point. My confidence lifted.

We are all creatures longing for acceptance. When we get that, we change for the better.

I then decided it was high time I learnt to speak loud and clear, too. I took professional help. Joined Toastmasters International. Today, I can comfortably address a packed hall.

So, the crux lies is NOT confronting your fears first, but in honing your strengths first.

Focus on your strengths. That will help build your reservoir of confidence.
Confidence fuels courage, which in turn will help you burn off your fears.

Instead if you choose to only concentrate on your fears, you will drive yourself crazy, eroding your confidence and affecting your self-esteem, too. And that’s an unpleasant situation to be in.

So the ONE mistake to avoid when you decide to conquer your fears is to tackle it head-on! Chip at it bit by bit! Build your mettle before you take it by the horns!

Nisha Sanjeev

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