Fear can be either a great motivator, or a fierce road block. Because we often establish our own limitations, these road blocks can actually be a good thing. They can alert us to be cautious, and they can cause us to analyze whether or not what we are doing is right for us.

Sometimes, however, a road block needs to be knocked down in order for us to grow. Overcoming a road block gives you a learning experience that you can’t get any other way. Deciding to take action and move forward is the first step towards freeing yourself of whatever it is that confines you. But what do you do if you feel you can’t take action?

Sometimes we’re just not able to attack something head on. It seems too big, too unfamiliar, and we feel as though we don’t have the support we need to get through it. Overcoming a fear is a great liberator, as whatever is holding you back is a great weight on you. Below are 5 sure fire ways to overcome your fears and get what you want. Use them to empower yourself to make change, and you’ll feel lighter, more energized, and more relaxed all at the same time.

1. Take small steps – Afraid of something big? Break that big monster down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. We don’t start out in life driving cars or running for President, but we can work up to those things. Afraid to ask your boss for a raise? Start by asking other people for small things you normally wouldn’t ask for, then challenge yourself by raising the bar each day.

2. Realize you are not alone – Afraid of flying? I used to be afraid of flying, and plenty of other people are too. Go to the airport and watch how many people get on and off planes each day. Some of those people are afraid to fly but they do it anyway. Some of them used to be afraid to fly. Maybe one or two of them just took their first flight and overcame their fear. They did it and you can too. Now, go buy your ticket.

3. Use a friend – Yes, the buddy system works. Find a friend that you can confide in about your fear and tell them you need their help. This needs to be a supportive person who will not judge you and does not have an interest in the outcome. With the help of a friend, I overcame my fear of roller coasters. What helped was that she really enjoys roller coasters and was excited about both riding the coasters, and helping me.

4. Learn – Many times we are afraid of the unknown more than anything. In these cases, getting familiar with the subject or situation can make them seem less intimidating. Are you afraid of home improvement projects? Take a class or read a book. Home depot stores offer instruction on many different types of home projects, and they also sell books as well. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and learn first hand how a house is built from the ground up. Whatever the subject, there’s a way to learn about it.

5. Visualize – When children play “make believe,” they are actually confronting fears. They pretend they are in totally unfamiliar territory, doing unfamiliar things, yet they are in total control over what happens. Use this same technique by using your own imagination to create the outcome you desire. As adults using self-improvement methods, we usually call this technique visualization. A group of basketball players once practiced by pretending over and over to shoot the ball through the hoop. When they actually got back on the court, their shooting had improved! Imagine that you are overcoming your doubts and taking action in your most ideal state. Run the scenario over and over again in your mind until it is second nature. See yourself conquering your fear. Now go do it!

Combine these techniques for even more powerful results. For example, using a friend to help you take small steps will help you realize you’re not alone. Learning about the subject or situation will help you to visualize and reach your goal faster.

When you just can’t seem to get up the courage to tackle your fear head on, use these five techniques to move ahead. Used alone or in combination, these methods will expand your horizons and move you to bigger and better things. Imagine if Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison let fear of failure prevent them from doing great things. Decide today to take action and notice the difference it makes.

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