What are you afraid of and what does it stop you from doing?

Episode 27 in Part 2 of our Introduction series: Getting to know yourself.

Habits:  Stretch | Action Oriented

Skills:  Facing Fear | Courage

Description:  In this episode, we discuss the concept of facing your fears and explain that facing your fears critical if you want to take action on the things that are important to you. We outline what fear is, where it comes from, and provide a simple idea to help you reduce your fear so you can take action on your goals. 


How this lesson might be applied in the classroom

This episode outlines the impact of fear in preventing us from taking the actions that we might enjoy, or that might propel us forward in our learning, understanding or experiences in life.

We briefly outline the dictionary definition of fear, and discuss how this might be an overly simplified explanation of how fear shows up for many people. Instead we review a concept presented by Susan Jeffers in her book 'Feel the fear... and do it anyway', that fear can be broken into three levels, and that the first level of fear can be segmented as either:

  • Fears of things that can happen to us (e.g. aging, getting sick, being alone, or fear of change)

  • Fears that require us to take action (e.g. making friends, losing weight, making a mistake, or public speaking)

We also discuss how fear affects us all, but that the level of fear and the way in which it shows itself, can vary wildly from person to person.

Fear can be a good indication though that you are doing something that is pushing your comfort levels and is therefore stretching your skills, but it's important that fears don't prevent you from doing the things that are important to you. 

We recommend that one simple action to reduce your fear of things that require taking action is to practice. A lot. Practice, particularly perfect practice, helps to build your confidence and in the process reduce your fear levels.

When discussing this episode, some prompts might include:

  • What are some common fears that people might have?

  • How do you think these fears might get in their way of a successful, happy life?

  • Do you have fears?

  • How do your fears restrict you from having more success or happiness?

  • Do you agree that feeling fear is a sign that you are pushing yourself and growing? Why/Why not?

  • Do you believe that being better prepared will make it easier for you to take on your fears? Why/Why not?

  • What could you do to help someone else take on their fears?

Some specific discussion points

Discussion around friends, family, celebrities, or current events featuring prominent individuals offers an opportunity to discuss people who are known to have taken on their fears to achieve. One good example might be King George VI (The subject of the movie 'The King's Speech') who worked to overcome a stammer, in order to be able to deliver public speeches. 

Some possible questions may include:

  • Can you think of anyone, a friend, family member or famous person who has a fear that holds them back?

  • How do you think this fears impacts upon their life? Why?

  • Can you think of anyone, a friend, family member or famous person who has conquered a fear?

  • How has this made a difference in their life?

  • Do you think some people are born without any fears? Why/Why not?

  • Do you think that anyone can overcome any fear? Why/Why not?

  • If you have a fear of something, what do you think it would take to conquer it?

Discussing the quote from this episode:

"Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or be limited by the fear of it." — Judy Blume

Possible areas of discussion may include:

  • Do you believe this quote? Why/Why not?

  • What do you think Judy Blume means when she says 'To experience adventure or be limited by the fear of it.'?

  • Why do you think handling our fears 'will determine where we go with the rest of our lives'?

  • How do you think confronting your fears might change your life?

  • What would you need to do to confront your own fears?

Further information on this topic

If you'd like to dive a bit deeper on this topic, you might be interested in watching:


Karen Thompson Walker: What Fear Can Teach Us.


Or you might like to read:

Feel The Fear... And Do It Anyway: Dynamic techniques for turning fear, indecision, and anger into power, action, and love.
by Susan Jeffers, 1987.

Please let us know how we could improve this episode?

We're always keen to hear how our work can be improved. If you can think of anything we can do to improve either the delivery of our content, the content itself, the exercises, or our guides to how the lesson can be applied in the classroom, please let us know.