Unless you’re hanging from a cliff or in a burning airplane, most of our fears are unfounded. In modern life there are few physical fears. Most of our fears stem from protecting our egos. We fear what others think of us. We fear that others may yell or laugh at us. 

A lot of our fears come from our own self-talk, what we tell ourselves. Fears such as public speaking, asking the boss for a raise, or taking on the risk of a new enterprise arise from old tapes that play in our minds. Maybe we’ve had a bad experience in a similar situation or the situation has been blow out of proportion by our creative minds that think of everything that could go wrong.

To overcome our fears we must confront and challenge our old self-talk. We must see the fallacy in our fearful thinking. Then we must create new, positive self-talk.

To do this we use the ABCDE process:

A – What is the ACTIVATING event that is causing your fear?

B – What is the irrational BELIEF that you have about this event?

C – What are the CONSEQUENCES of such an irrational belief?

D – DISPUTE this irrational belief.

E – Replace the irrational belief with EFFECTIVE beliefs.

Let’s look at each step in the process.

First, what is causing your fear (the Activating event)? Let’s use the example of asking your boss for a raise. Here it is the mere thought of asking your boss for the raise that is causing your fear.

Second, what are your Beliefs about asking for a raise? You may believe that you will get yelled at, laughed at, or even fired (that actually happened to me once).  But these beliefs are irrational since they have no basis in reality unless, of course, you asked for the raise before and that result actually happened. But most times our imaginations get the best of us and we worry about the worst that could happen.

Next, we look at the Consequences of our irrational beliefs. This is a cause and effect relationship – Beliefs are the causes and Consequences are the effects. The consequences in our example could be worry, self-doubt, or depression. Our beliefs keep us from asking for the raise, so we remain unhappy with what we are paid and we may even resent that we are not getting paid what we think we’re worth.

To achieve success (in this case, ask for a raise) we need to see how irrational our beliefs are. We need to Dispute our beliefs and ask ourselves if there is any evidence to support them. Is there any logic? Are these beliefs beneficial to you? Have someone take your place as the beholder of the beliefs while you argue against them.

Once that you’ve seen how irrational your beliefs are, you can replace them with Effective rational beliefs. From disputing your beliefs you know what doesn’t work. Now you must find alternative beliefs that will bring about the desired consequences.

In our example, the desire consequence isn’t getting a raise (although that is our goal). No, the consequence that we’re after is to overcome our fear and ASK for the raise. Some beliefs that might help achieve this consequence are: If I ask for a raise I might get it; If I ask for a raise my boss will at least admire my assertiveness; If I ask for a raise I will find out how the boss views my work.

To achieve your goals and win in life you must overcome your fears. The ABCDE process helps you to challenge your beliefs and find new, helpful beliefs. Change your beliefs and you change the consequences!
 


Carl
01/20/2013 8:11am

Awesome advice .. re tweeting and forwarding to FB with credit to Author.
@brand-carl

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