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High Performance Fear - "Smart Fear"

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© George Hartwell first presented September 13, 2003

High Performance Fear - "Smart Fear"

Yes you can make fear work for you. Top performance can be fueled by fear. You can learn to convert fear. Here are ten ways to channel fear positively:


1.Develop a clear sense of your mission. Be settled on the principles to live, work and play by. Know yourself. Be your confident self.

2.Prepare well. Master the fundamental skills and then focus on improving your skills. Program yourself at deeper levels by watching videos and visualizing your performance. Inner self-talk: "I am prepared."

3.Learn skills for handling fear and pressure. You practice those skills by putting yourself in pressure situations. Self-talk: "I can handle pressure."

4.Learn to immediately recognize your nervousness as fear. Acknowledge your fear. In public speaking admit to nervousness.

5.Convert the energy of fear from nervousness to calm energy. Use these techniques:

a)Time Out - for example, take a sip of water and a deep breathe. "Relax."

b)Releasing - give up trying to control outcomes. "I can let go."

c)Prayer: "God you are in control." "You make me adequate." "You get the glory." "What people think doesn't matter. You love me."

d)Get mad - convert fear into anger. This can be brief anger fit: "I am mad. I am not going to give up. I am going to get going. Focus, damn it."

e)Get excited - I use the wind surfing image. Cue: "I enjoy challenges."

f)Be passionate - remember those who love you, those who you are passionate about, experience passionate feelings. "I love you. I want you."

g)Use the gift of humour. 'After being shot, Ronald Reagan eased fears by telling his wife: "Honey, I forgot to duck." Cue words: "Hah!" "I laugh at my enemies." (See Psalm 2)

h)Be confident. Remember your success image. Be your confident self. "I can do this."

i)Mentally cue yourself: "Get focused now." "Keep moving." "Use your routine." "Let's get the job done." "Focus on the ball." "Relax and focus."

6.Move into a state of determined calm focus on the job at hand. You forget everything else including what could go wrong or being afraid. You concentrate on the fundamentals that you have learned. "I am calm and focused."

7.Let go of trying to control - control of outcome, opponent, time, action or emotion. Allow yourself to go with the flow. "I can let go and go with the flow."

8.Stop thinking too much. Let your mind be focused on the here and now - see and hear. "Watch the ball."

9.Use a ritual or routine that helps you relax and click into automatic mode. In the zone of high performance. Be intuitive, automatic, without thought control or mental interference. "Relax, breathe, do your ritual."

10.Use encouraging self-talk. "Go for it. "Relax, release, see it and do it."


© George Hartwell, April 2003. www.HealMyLife.com. (416) 234-1850.

Resources - 

Overcoming Fear by George Hartwell (416) 234-1850, www.HealMyLife.com


1.Beck, Aaron & Emery. Anxiety Disorders and Phobias, 1985. Outlines a treatment program based on cognitive therapy. Tends to be for the clinician.

2.Benson, Herbert. The Relaxation Response, 1975. Presents a specific strategy for reducing stress - learning how to relax.

3.Benson, Herbert. Beyond the Relaxation Response, 1984. Describes a strategy of harnessing faith in a healing power inside or outside oneself.

4.Bourne, Edmund. Beyond Anxiety and Phobia, 2001. A self-help book focusing on life style changes needed to help combat anxiety and panic attacks. Library.

5.Carrington, Patricia. The power of letting Go. Helpful self-help book with a new approach to overcoming anxiety involving releasing of control. Recommended.

6.Clarkson, Michael. Intelligent Fear, 2002. A clearly written study on fear and on training and harnessing one's fears to enhance performance. Highly recommended to expand on the concept of high performance fear or 'smart fear.'

7.Donovan, Denis, and D. McIntyre. What did I Just Say!?! Insights into children's thinking and adult language and how to communicate with your child. Includes some examples how adult talk created childhood fears. Recommended.

8.Gallwey, Timothy. The Inner Game of Work, 2000. The Inner Game of Tennis. The Inner Game of Golf. An innovative understanding of how we need to get our mind out of the way in order to maximize work, music and sports performance. His work help's one to understand how to structure work and play, management and coaching so that one is able to access full potential. Recommended.

9.Hartwell, George. Listen to God, 2002. An outline of some of the methods used in Listening Prayer Therapy to deal with different topics. Listening Prayer Therapy is a treatment method harnessing the power of prayer to penetrate root memories and bring healing to the negative beliefs resident in these memories.

10.Maltz, Maxwell. Five Minutes to Happiness, 1962. Thoughts to Live By, 1975. Self-help in relaxing, positive thinking and establishing a new self-image.

11.Peurifoy, Reneau. Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic, 1995. A well-rounded self-help book covering good variety of topics. In Toronto Public library system.

12.Siegel, Robert. Six Seconds to True Calm, 1995. A self-help book based on a training program for relaxation and relief of stress with innovative components.

13.Seligman, Martin. Learned Optimism, 1990. An excellent self-help book focused on positive thinking based on psychological research. Encourages one to develop a more optimistic life style.

14.Watson, David and R. Tharp. Self-Directed Behavior: Self-Modification for personal Adjustment, 1972. Includes instructions for self managed desensitization.

15.Wilson, Reid. Don't Panic: Taking control of Anxiety Attacks, 1986. This book is highly rated by clinicians and is considered an easy to read self-help book. The book provides specific instructions on relaxation techniques similar to those referred to in "Overcoming Fear."