It’s Time to Kick This Four Letter F-word to the Curb!

Did you know you can significantly enhance your life by removing a certain four-letter word from your mindset?  Do you know the one I am referring to?  Would you like me to spell it out for you?  It starts with an F and when used frequently, it can truly prevent us from becoming the best version of ourselves.  It seems silly, doesn’t it?  To allow one tiny word to have so much power over us… Yet, I imagine we have all surrendered to this word at some point throughout our lives.

If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement, please know this: you are not alone!  In fact, this is one of the words most commonly used by clients in my therapy office when I ask the following: “What is contributing to your hesitation, or causing you to feel stuck?”  Do you know what they say? Yes, you guessed it….“F-E-A-R!”



If I were to ask you what needs to occur in order for you to live your best life- would you know the answer?  And more importantly, would you be willing to follow the necessary steps to enhance your life? Or would that pesky four letter f-word creep into your mindset and cause you to second-guess yourself?  If you find yourself leaning towards the second option, I encourage you to ask yourself what is at the root of your fear.

Perhaps it is one of the following:

  • The fear of failure
  • The fear of success (yes, this is a real thing)!
  • The fear of the unknown
  • The fear of what other people will think
  • The fear of not being good enough, strong enough, or smart enough

If you can relate to any of these previously mentioned notions, I want you to remember the following:

A reasonable amount of fear is healthy.

Fear can help us to fully think through our decisions.  In fact, fear can also allow us the necessary time and space to explore and identify all of our options.  However, when fear causes us to remain stagnant, it can truly hold us back from living our best lives.  If there is potential you’ll look back on your life and feel like you settled for less, didn’t live up to your full potential, or had regrets because fear got in your way, please know that you can reclaim your power at any time.  The only way fear will win is if you allow it to!

Sometimes the biggest thing standing in your way is YOU. 

If that’s the case, you are in luck because you have the power to overcome your fear.  One of the primary ways to do this is by challenging any self-limiting beliefs you may have.  A self-limiting belief is something that causes you to doubt yourself.  Go ahead and focus on your strengths rather than your perceived weaknesses.  I dare you!

Balance out the “what if” mentality.

If you find yourself thinking “Well, what if…. [insert worst-case scenario] happens” – please do yourself a favor and acknowledge the negative thought. Then shift your focus to the best-case scenario(s).  The more time, effort, and mental energy you put into what you want to see happen, the more likely it is to become your reality.

Don’t be confined by your comfort zone.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be tough, but guess what?  The more you step outside of your comfort zone, the larger your comfort zone becomes!  In fact, there is a quote by John A. Shedd, an American author and professor, that states: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”  A pretty powerful quote when you really stop and think about it!

Inhale confidence & exhale doubt!

Once you decide to confront your fear and go after what it is you truly desire, I encourage you to keep this little mindfulness trick available to you at all times.  As the fear begins to seep back in (as it often does), take a deep breath and think to yourself, “As I breathe in, I inhale confidence… and as I breathe out, I exhale doubt.”  Do this as many times as you need to allow these words to truly resonate with you.  Such a simple, yet powerful, phrase to help you face your fear and embrace positive change.

John A. Shedd Quote

Kathryn Schuster is a clinical therapist at Healthwise Behavioral Health & Wellness. After being born and raised in Iowa, she made the decision to “step outside of her comfort zone” and move to the great state of Minnesota, in order to fully pursue her career passion, live her best life, and encourage/assist others to live their best lives as well.  Kathryn provides individual therapy, couple’s therapy, and family therapy services to adults and adolescents.