6 Keys to Help You Overcome Fear and Doubt

overcome fear and doubt

If you are like most people, you have a goal or a dream that is meaningful and that you want to achieve. That goal may be related to personal growth issues such as weight loss, gaining self-esteem, finding inner peace, increasing your energy levels, or overcoming depression.

Or, your goal may include going back to school, entering a new career, or bringing your creative talents into a greater public light. Having a goal is the easy part. Attempting to move through your own inner obstacles can literally leave you terrified, completely paralyzed by your own fear.

Moving past the fear and doubt

If you have tried to reach your goal and stopped because you encountered a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, don’t give up. That is the nature of goals. They take you into new territory and bring you face-to-face with your own fears and doubts. The issue is not about how to avoid fear, but how to make positive decisions that boost your confidence while fear is present.

Every day, many people give up on their dreams due to self-doubt and fear. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are six steps to overcoming doubt and fear and bringing your own goals to life.

6 simple steps to help you overcome fear and doubt

1. Make a Decision. Once you define your dream or goal, decide that you want to live this kind of happy and satisfied life. This may seem basic but many people never decide and commit fully to their dream. They simply keep “thinking” about it. Or, when the first obstacle appears and they give up. Make a commitment to yourself. Right now is not the time to worry about how to make it happen, or how you are going to move through your challenges. Instead, plant the seed of your dream inside of you and you commit to loving this seed until the day you can harvest the fruits of your efforts.

Honor your commitment to self. No one can let you down more than you can. Make a commitment about what you want and stand strong in your commitment. Don’t let fear get in your way. No matter how challenging, how fearful, or overwhelming it may seem, decide you are going for it!  Why? For no other reason than because you want it. There are no should’s, have to’s, or weak choices. This is something you want for yourself and a choice you have made.

2. You Are Not Your Fear. As you move forward on your dream, doubt and fear are going to show up sooner than you might have expected. To move beyond fear, it is helpful to learn to separate yourself from your fear. For example, instead of thinking an all encompassing statement such as, “I am fearful,” learn instead to say, “There is a part of me that is fearful and doesn’t want to move forward. But somewhere inside of me there is also a desire to continue moving forward.”

Fear is not all of who you are, rather it is an emotion that you are experiencing. The key is to recognize your fear, avoid becoming identified with your fear, and keep breathing. Breathing keeps energy moving and prevents you from being consumed in fear’s heavy embrace.

No matter how scary it seems, decide to sit with your emotion of fear for the purpose of accepting its presence, but not necessarily agreeing with it’s point of view. Acceptance helps because avoiding it doesn’t make it go away, looking the other way doesn’t make it disappear, and ignoring it does not make it any less painful. So, breathe. Then tell yourself that even though you are feeling intense fear, you can still take action. Look fear in the eye and let it know, “You are not the boss of me!” Then take the necessary steps to gain new tools and strategies to move forward on your dream once again.

3. Change your attitude about failure. Long ago, a quote arrived in my email that read, “You try things, some work, some don’t, and you do more of what works.” These simple words suggest that the formula for success is that if you want to grow and succeed, you also have to be willing to fail. Certainly, no one actually wants to experience failure.

However, if you want to succeed at something new, you will most likely experience setbacks, obstacles, and failures along the way. To be successful, redefine failure in a manner allowing yourself to see failure as “information.”Failure is really just feedback telling you to evaluate your experience, utilize the information gained to adjust your plan, and then try a new approach. When you experience a failure – get up, dust yourself off, access the information gained, revise your course, and begin again.

4. Build Your Confidence Muscle. Although achieving your dream will bring up stress, fear, doubt, this experience is precisely what is necessary for a confidence breakthrough to occur. It is not enough to make self-supporting choices when your journey is easy, you have to do it when it’s hardest to do so. That’s because to break through what is holding you back, you have to go through the fear and doubt. You can’t dance around it, wish it away, or analyze how to avoid the experience. Making self-empowering decisions under stress is what leads you authentic personal growth and solidifies inner change.

It’s the challenges of your journey that offer hundreds of opportunities to develop your confidence muscle and gain mastery over your experiences. Every obstacle, setback, or failure offers you a new chance to believe in yourself instead of falling into doubt and fear.

5. Decide You Don’t Have To Do Anything. Here is an experiment. For the next 48 hours, eliminate the words “I have to” from your vocabulary and substitute the words “I choose to.” Instead of saying, “I have to move forward on my goal” say, “I choose to take this specific action step today.” Or, you could just as effectively say, “I choose not to take any action step today.” Either choice allows you to understand that you are the person in control of your choices. You set the priorities. You are responsible. You have control. Feel how empowering this simple change of words can be.

6. Ask Yourself Empowering Questions. Certain types of questions can lead you to gain new insights and new motivation. Ask yourself the following questions, allow yourself to answer them from your heart, and see where your truths take you: Are your dreams important enough to change your daily lifestyle?

* Do you want to be responsible for your own life decisions?
* Do you have the courage to go after what you want and see it through?
* Can you accept that fear is part of the journey and move forward anyway?
* Can you recognize that fear is only your leader if you allow it to be?

Being able to overcome your fear and doubt so you can bring into reality the life of your dreams is one of the best experiences in the world! Take control of your life by practicing these six simple steps and learn how to tame your fear and create a happier, more successful life.

This is a guest post by Dr. Annette Colby

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This short video (6 min.) explains why many people feel disappointed and
let down by life, and what it really takes to experience greater satisfaction.


  1. Rebecka August 27, 2008 Reply

    Hello! I Love Your Blog.

    Best regards, Rebecka

  2. David March 27, 2011 Reply

    The best way to overcome fear and doubt is to do something. The more we hold onto our concerns and don’t act, the more we reinforce those feelings. Instead act, do something, take the first steps and soon you realise that the mountainous obstacle you thought was standing before you, was actually only an ant hill.

  3. Cherie August 27, 2011 Reply

    I appreciate this article, taken to heart this can direct conscious efforts to move forward

  4. Jacob July 10, 2012 Reply

    All solid points, and I would add another that has to do with finding support and avoiding naysayers.

    I find a lot of fearful people are very susceptible to the opinions of those around them. They could get through the 6 steps in this article, and one disparaging remark from someone they care about could totally derail their progress.

    One of the many fears that can dictate a person’s actions is the fear of disappointing others. This isn’t an easy fear to tackle in the beginning, so it can be really beneficial to make a conscious effort to avoid negativity and seek out support when one first taking this plunge.

  5. Yoram Baltinester April 5, 2013 Reply

    I love the distinction in #2. Most people I know let themselves be totally taken by their fears as if fear has them, not the other way around. Thank you for the article Jonathan.

  6. Diane April 28, 2013 Reply

    What an empowering article Dr. Colby has written. I like how she focused on all the small steps that can be taken, that when put together, become a powerful way to release the hold that fear and doubt can have on one’s life. For myself, I find that when I’m practicing mindfulness — trying to more consciously live in the present moment — its easier to catch myself. Fears and doubts (for me) are usually about me getting caught up in the past, or jumping ahead to the future. Thank you for posting this article on your blog.

  7. M. E. October 15, 2013 Reply

    What a great article on overcoming your fears to achieve your success! I too have faced a fear and in facing that fear I chose to act on my business rather than let this fear run my life. Remember, what you allow, will continue. – M.E.

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