Mental Game Tip 22: Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”  And how true that statement is!

While few of us are so fearful that we don’t venture beyond our own doorstep, many encounter fears that prohibit us from achieving our full potential.  The two most common fears are often the most difficult to recognize because they are often embedded into our core belief systems.  For example the fear of what others think, also known as the need for social approval, can masquerade as wanting to be a team player.  The fear of failure can often be disguised as under performance. For example, the athlete who is not willing to risk failure by taking the final  shot just before the buzzer,  Fear of Failure can also surface in the form of an “all or nothing mentality”. Thoughts such as “I either perform well or I’m a loser” or “If I can’t exercise at least 30 minutes every day I’m a slacker” are examples of all or nothing thinking.

To overcome fears, start by taking baby steps.  The first is to keep track of what you do well by creating a success journal.  When you feel fear creeping up on you, make a mental note of your successes to boost your confidence and to eliminate the fear distractions from your mind.  Use the 5-1 rule.  Following every performance, identify and write down 5 things you did well before you write down the one thing you wish to improve.  This exercise alone is a powerful tool to build confidence and trust and eliminate the fear of taking the last shot.  Remember, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

For more information on “Fear and Performance”, please send me your request by filling in the “information request” form at

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