Written by Shweta Sharan

Writes on education for The Hindu and Deccan Herald. Founder of Bangalore Schools, a 54,000-member parent and teacher community. Digital marketing strategist and social media expert with various schools in the city. Editor at Toka Box, a Seattle-based STEAM activity box and book curator for children. Gig worker. Other experiences and areas of expertise include technical writing, copy editing, business development, and video editing. Interests include literature, education, and cinema. Key strengths include exceptional writing abilities, creativity, a knack for mobilizing online communities, creating dynamite marketing campaigns and experimenting with new-age marketing and communication skills.

September 25, 2017

The other day, I was at a doctor’s appointment. My doctor is a remarkable practitioner in his field and is so popular that students from prestigious medical colleges shadow him and work with him every minute of every day.

When I walked in for my appointment, a young medical student was seated next to my doctor, looking at my file.  After running me through my test results, my doctor turned to the student and asked her why I should be prescribed one medication over the other. He asked her a very technical question relating to the medication.

Her face turned white.

Let’s be clear, I am sure she was intelligent and perfectly capable, or she wouldn’t be in a great med school. Instead, she looked fearful, as if she was in a practical exam, and started rattling off textbook answers. She didn’t want to learn or discover. She just wanted to escape blame. The doctor then proceeded to explain the answer and she nodded, accepting everything he had said.

Two things caught my attention – one, that she was so fearful of answering the question and using her brains. Two, that she accepted his explanation without critically examining it.

All of us are that med student at some point. We are conditioned by a culture that tells us that if we fail at a task, we are failures. As we get older, we learn to lock this fear back into our basements but sometimes during crucial meetings or discussions, it can rear its ugly head.

What I understood about fear

Last week, I went on a sales pitch with a colleague. We were prepared and raring to go but for some reason, I just shut down at the critical moment. Thankfully, my colleague took over immediately but I left the meeting feeling awful. I had let fear had completely cripple my abilities. I had not stepped up during an important moment. I was 37 and still dealing with fear.

For a long time, I believed that confidence came from a place of ability, this sheer bloody-mindedness that some people naturally have, which is just amazing. I was wrong.

It comes from a place of self-awareness.

Find a strategy

The first thing I did was to understand my fears. When I sat down to write what my fears are, I realized that they were completely different from what I expected. Here are my top 3

  1.       Fear of having no money
  2.       Fear of humiliation
  3.       Fear of missing out

I realized that the fear of missing out was what drove most of my insecurity and my anger.

I’ll be lying if I said there is one trick to getting rid of fear. There are many ways to approach it and it depends entirely on a person. Here are some great strategies that really worked for me.

The Rocking Chair Test by Tony Robbins

I have scoured books and resources to find the ultimate way to vanquish fear. It’s called the Rocking Chair Test. It blew my mind, because in many instances, whatever scared me or bogged me down seemed so small when compared to how big life was.

GAP vs FED by Sean Stephenson

If there is anyone who has the right to talk about fear, it is Sean Stephenson. His ideas on insecurity really hit home. When I listened to his GAP vs FED strategy, I thought – why the hell didn’t I think of it this way?

The Growth Mindset

So much has been written about the Growth Mindset that its own originator, Carol Dweck, has said that people have oversimplified its message. When I read her book, I realized that the growth mindset perfectly sums up my personal philosophy – things may not work out but I need to move on and life is too interesting to not move forward. People with a growth mindset look at life as a journey of constant learning and reinvention of the self.

Will we always be without fear? Not really but we can refuse to let our lives be ruled by them!


Rocking Chair Test – Source- Anthony Robbins, Coach and Motivational Speaker

The article with the link below explains the concept well.

GAP vs FED – By Sean Stephenson

The above blog is by Shweta Sharan

Image illustration by Shweta Sharan

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