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  • 4 Ways To Avoid Letting Fear Control Your Career

    For some people’s careers, fear is public enemy No. 1.

    They overanalyze even the most minuscule of details, are afraid of speaking their mind, and never try to take that next step in career advancement.

    If this sounds like you, then stop settling for mediocrity and confront your fear head-on. Next time when all you want to do is retreat into fear and stay in your comfort zone, think about these four ways to break free once and for all:

    1. Tell yourself you can

    One of the most common things people do when they’re afraid is make excuses to themselves about why they can’t do something. In fact, you may even be pretty good at it — justifying our failures is a negative skill, but a skill nonetheless. The thing is, it’s all in your head!

    Next time you get caught up in this mindset, try thinking about all the reasons why you can. For as many reasons you can think not to do something, there are just as many on the flip side. Your mind just tends to focus on the negative more so you believe those are the only options.

    Think of similar or relevant previous experiences where you’ve had success, list the skills needed to get the task done, and look up resolutions to your problem online; do anything you can think of to combat the dreaded ‘I can’t.’

    2. Follow a plan

    Fear feeds off of unpredictability. To combat this, create a plan for yourself regarding what you want to accomplish in your career. Figure out the path to take in order to reach your goals, and do some research on the best way to accomplish them.

    It could be five years or two months, but whatever the goal, make sure you challenge yourself to stick with it. Having a step-by-step course to follow is the best way to stay organized and on-track. There are even a ton of apps out there designed to keep you focused!

    3. Take a deep breath… and relax

    Whether you believe it’s silly or not, relaxation exercises, such as yoga or meditation, do wonders to combat fear. If you’re reluctant to try it out, check out one man’s testimony to meditation. There’s bound to be a yoga class near you, but if you don’t want to be around a bunch of people, meditation works just as well.

    To help you meditate, clear a small area in your living space and turn off all your electronic devices. Turn on some relaxing music or sounds of nature and sit, criss-crossed and barefoot, on a mat or blanket. Then, for the next 25 to 30 minutes, close your eyes, listen to the music, and just breathe.

    Doing this may seem strange when you think about it, but it actually puts you into a state of relaxation and causes you to think clearly about resolving any career fears you may have. Do it regularly and you’ll be on your way to conquering your fears in no time!

    4. Gather support

    Many people have learned the hard way that facing fear alone only magnifies it. If you’re afraid to go for that promotion or to move to a new company, it helps immensely to talk to people about it.

    Be honest with a friend or colleague about your problems. You might be surprised at the emotional support or practical advice they provide to help you through it.

    It never hurts to have your fear constructively analyzed from a different perspective than your own, and taking their words to heart could very well be the push you need to overcome your career fears.

    Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president ​of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. She is also the author of#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist forExaminer.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com.

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