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Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

Stepping Through Fear Exercise

The eight questions listed below are designed to interrupt your automatic fear-based response, help you think through your fear and ultimately step through it.

1. What is the risky thing you want to do, but are afraid to?

2. What exactly are you afraid of? Is it fear of being:

  • Rejected? What if they fire me or fail to promote me?
  • Wrong or making a mistake? What if I delay the project or cost the company money?
  • Alone? What if I’m the only one who speaks up?
  • Embarrassed? What if I ask a stupid question?
  • Hurt? What if I get mocked or criticized?
  • Losing? What if we lose the deal?

3. Is the threat real—what is the probability that this will actually happen?

4. Is everything you’re telling yourself about this risk true? (Just because you believe it does necessarily make it true.) How much valid evidence is there to support your fear?

5. Assuming that what you fear will come to pass, how bad could it actually be? What is the worst-case scenario?

6. Assuming the worst-case scenario, would you be able to cope with the consequences? What is the probability that you will be able to say, “So what?” and move on?

7. What are some alternative ways to interpret the outcomes from the risk you are considering? What if you allowed your dream/idea to live for a little bit instead of instantly shutting it down? Can anything good happen?

8. How will your life, career, and company be positively impacted if you step through fear and take this risk?

9. Go back and re-read the truths about fear above. How will your life, career, company be negatively impacted if you do nothing? Will you be able to cope with this?