Friday, March 23, 2012

FOCUS to Overcome Fear

By Jack Canfield

As you move forward on your journey from where you are to where you want to be, you are going to have to confront your fears. Fear is natural. Whenever you start a new project, take on a new venture, or put yourself out there, there is usually fear. Unfortunately, fear stops many people from pursuing and achieving their dreams of success.

Millions of years ago, fear was essential for protecting us from dangers like saber-toothed tigers. Today, however, most of our threats are not life-threatening. The fear we feel doesn't protect us; it hinders our growth.

F.E.A.R. is an acronym for Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real. I've come up with a new acronymn: F.O.C.U.S., which means Fantasized Outcomes Creating Unlimited Success.

Here are 5 ways you can F.O.C.U.S. for bigger results:

1. Monitor your thoughts. Thoughts produce emotions. If you want to change how you feel, you must change the thoughts you are thinking. When you feel fear, retrace your mental steps. Review the thoughts that lead to your feelings of fear.

Also, start to vigilantly monitor your thoughts. When you catch yourself indulging in thoughts that don't support your goals, immediately change your way of thinking.

2. Choose more positive thoughts. You can't rid yourself of negative thoughts simply by not thinking them. The Law of Replacement dictates that anything you want to remove must be replaced. Therefore, if you want to eliminate a negative thought, you must replace it with a positive thought and a positive visualization.

When you identify a negative, fear-producing thought, immediately visualize its positive opposite. For example, if you want to become a best-selling author, be on the lookout for thoughts like, "What if publishers reject my proposal?" Instead, visualize what will happen when a publisher accepts your proposal and agrees to bring your book to the market.

3. Use "affirmations." Noah St. John, author of The Secret Code of Success, developed "affirmations," which are questions you can ask yourself about the reality you would like to create.

Some people are skeptical about using affirmations, with which you declare what you want as already true (for example, "I am a wildly successful author"). Because what they are affirming does not yet exist, they feel their minds arguing. They know that the statement isn't true yet, so they don't believe what they're saying.

Affirmations give an opportunity to see how their dream reality could realistically become a possibility. If you find yourself thinking, "What if this doesn't work?" ask yourself, "What if this does work?" Ask yourself, "Why will this work?" Ask yourself, "How will it work?"

4. Charge your visualizations with emotions. As you're visualizing what it will be like to achieve your goals, fuel your images with emotions. Just as the emotion of fear can paralyze you, intense positive emotions can motivate you toward greater success.

Researchers know that images or scenes can be locked into your memory forever when accompanied by intense emotions, which stimulate the growth of additional neural connections. When you add the same emotional intensity to your visualizations with inspiring music, real-life smells, deeply felt passion or even by enthusiastically shouting your affirmations, the ultimate result will be more powerful.

5. Be realistic about risk. A practical -- and often overlooked-- strategy for overcoming fear is to make sure that you're not risking more than you can afford to lose. To grow and achieve greater success, you have to risk something. Just make sure that you can bear the loss if you don't succeed the first time.

Take on smaller challenges and work your way up. If you're starting your first job in sales, call on prospects or customers you think will be the easiest to sell to first. If you're asking for money for your business, practice on those lending sources who you wouldn't want to get a loan from anyway. If you're anxious to take on new responsibilities at work, start by asking to do parts of a project you're interested in. If you're learning a new sport, start at lower levels of skill. Master those skills you need to learn, move through your fears, and then take on bigger challenges.

High achievers recognize that although it's natural to feel fear when reaching for a goal, it's not necessary to be controlled by this inhibiting emotion. Use these five simple strategies to overcome your fear and live with F.O.C.U.S. instead.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading author on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at

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