THE BLOG
09/25/2013 12:01 pm ET Updated Nov 25, 2013

Fear Is your Friend, Shake His Hand

Who likes being afraid of the things in life? Tossing and turning at night, with fears spinning in your head, do you think, Who needs it?

Well, I'm here to tell you that you do. You need to have fear in your life -- and here's why. It is part of getting what you want and having the life you desire.

I don't know where the saying comes from, but, "Courage is when the fear behind you becomes more than the fear in front of you." I actually believe it's true. I believe we are all driven by fear -- that it's an inherent part of our lives.

The fear in front of us is how we feel when we risk it all and try new things, like meeting new people, getting the jobs and relationships we want, or taking a chance on love.

The fear behind us? It's the fear that we will die without living life at all. We won't love the way we should, we won't work at the job we want and we will just accept what comes to us as though we have no choice. That is by far my greatest fear.

We have to understand that it's not in our nature to step off into the unknown and not feel some trepidation. It's how our bodies protect us from danger. But we can act in spite of fear. It's a welcome and soothing thought that even when we have fear, we also have power. And the power to change is the greatest power we have.

So, welcome the fear that naturally comes with change. It means you're pursuing what you want out of life. Consider these things to help you through:

1. Accept It- Recognize why you must accept fear to get what you want out of life. I want to live a challenging and fulfilling life. To do that, I have to do things I've never done before. That's scary, but it can also be exciting. If I let fear stop me I will be giving up what I need to feel fulfilled.

2. Take Action- The worst fear is in our head. Having a small step in front of you that you can work on today can bring you out of that paralysis. Make a list of what you want to accomplish. Reach out to someone who's done what you want to do. Go research a topic on the Internet that interests you and learn more about it. Taking action lessens our focus on our fear.

3. Exercise- Getting out of our heads and focusing on our bodies is a good release. There is no substitute for consistent physical exercise to clear away the cobwebs in our minds and prepare us for good work. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week.

4. Meditate- In our busy lives it's important to stop, be still, and listen to our hearts. Ten minutes of daily meditation reminds us that we are human beings -- not human doings. Focus on your breathing and relax every muscle in your body once daily.

5. Welcome it- Several ancient practices advocate for making a welcoming statement when you are facing fear. Take a moment to say "I know I'm afraid, and I welcome the fear as part of having the life I want." When I acknowledge my fear, it dissipates. Even without exactly understanding why this happens, it lets me move forward in comfort.

Each time you face your fear and keep going, you become stronger and less afraid. There is wisdom that comes from having been around the block. I've learned that I can go through tremendous change and survive. I can even grow as a person.

The fear we face is often the beginning of wonderful change in our lives.

So, go get 'em Tiger!

Virginia Sullivan is the author of FirstClassWoman.com -- a site for those who are looking to reinvent the lives they have -- into the lives they dream of. Her focus is on continual self-improvement, boosting self-esteem and utilizing actionable steps. After many years as a successful marketing and finance executive, Virginia has focused on helping people look good, feel good, and design the life of their dreams