How to Rise Above Fear

“Decide that you want it
more than you are afraid of it.”  ~ Bill Cosby

According to Steven Reiss, Ph.D., there are three fundamental fears: the fear of injury (e.g. getting hurt and feeling pain), anxiety reactions (the fear of experiencing emotional or physical discomfort from heightened anxiety such as an anxiety attack, shortness of breath or fainting), and embarrassment (such as making a noticeable mistake while public speaking and experiencing a sense of mortification).  Dr. Reiss suggests that fears can be overcome by reducing sensitivity.

Somewhere I read an article about people who were terrified by snakes, but in three hours were able to get close to snakes, handle them, and permanently overcome their fear.  Their sensitivity was lessened in steps:  First they were given protective suits, helmets and protective face masks.  Second, while wearing their protective gear they entered a room where there was a snake in a cage.  Third, they stood and watched someone else handle the snake without protective gear.  Still in protective gear, they handled the snake until finally, they were able to handle the snake without protective gear.  The key was watching someone else handle the snake first!

I experienced the power of seeing someone else ‘do it first’ when I was training a sales representative to cold call.  I asked the sales person to learn the product, put together a script, then call each prospect on a list that I provided.  The sales rep learned the product, put together a brilliant sales pitch, but wouldn’t pick up the phone to dial prospects until I made the first call.  Once I demonstrated a live phone call, the sales representative picked up the phone and called the rest of the list without hesitation.



  1. To rise above fear is to be determined to make a difference. Sometimes, we feel stupid because we have made a certain mistake in the past. Like Paul in the Bible, moving on after a certain error can eradicate fear from our lives. For me, accepting faith and saying ‘no’ to fear has been one of my greatest achievements. Frankly,fear simply means ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’. Fear is mostly accompanied with defeat, but faith is foolishness but is accompanied with success most of the time. Rise Above Your Fear starting today.

    • Elizabeth Rose says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Most of us feel fear at some level so we need all the coping tools and encouragement we can get. I really appreciate your acronym for fear: “False Evidence Appearing Real” How true!