How to overcome fear with a strong reality check

What is the probability of your worst-case scenario actually happening?

Now that you’ve finished Step 4, it’s time to stop for a reality check. Step 5 will help you come to complete peace with your worst-case scenario. In this fifth step, you will ask the question, “How likely it is that my worst-case scenario might occur?”

When you complete a reality check, it must come from objective reality – the purely rational part of your brain. By evaluating the probability of your worst-case scenario when emotion skews the truth, your worst-case scenario seems more likely than it actually is.

When you overcome fear, you are in control of your mind and emotions. Fear is a normal part of life and we all have it, but irrational fear causes undue frustration, anxiety and stress. That’s why identifying your fears and mastering them is so important.

Another critical reason to identify and conquer fear is it almost always blocks you from greater success and happiness.

This six-step process may be helpful if you have any of the “Big four fears:” failure, success, rejection or selling.

The six steps to overcome fear

  1. Identify your fears.
  2. Embrace your fears.
  3. Disidentify with your fears.
  4. Understand your worst-case scenario.
  5. Do a reality check of your worst-case scenario.
  6. Develop a fearless focus.

Just a reminder: Defeating fear does not mean it disappears. It means your conscious and subconscious fears are controllable.

Evaluating risk versus reward

What is the probability of your worst-case scenario actually happening?

Let’s look at an example of an entrepreneur: If a new business owner shifts a major strategy, what’s the probability it could significantly damage the financial health of the company, or worse, take the company under? If the probability is 50/50, it’s an unacceptable risk for many entrepreneurs.

But what if the risk is 90/10? If there is a 90 percent chance of a big upside to the risk and only a 10 percent chance it won’t work out, many entrepreneurs would jump at the opportunity.

In each situation, an objective evaluation of risk and reward is necessary.

During my career, I’ve mentally trained many Olympic athletes, especially winter athletes, including freestyle mogul skiers. For these athletes, what do you think their worst-case scenario is?


Death is rare, but it is the worst-case scenario. A more likely scenario is sustaining a severe injury. These are common, and almost all world-class skiers experience an physical pain or damage during their careers. In addition to the worst-case scenario, sometimes, all majorly concerning factors need to be included in the risk versus reward assessment.

When does it make sense to take a greater risk?

Skiers in the Olympics (at the pinnacle competition in their sport) may take a higher risk than those in non-Olympic runs because the reward is greater. In a big event, sometimes that’s the right choice. The level of risk you are willing to take is, for the most part, directly proportional to the level of potential reward.

Once you’ve chosen the risk level you are willing to take, you have to come to peace with it and not focus on your worst-case scenario. Accepting the risk of your worst-case scenario allows you to now focus on obtaining what you want.

Now you’re ready for the sixth and final step in overcoming your fears: Developing a fearless focus, which will be the next and final article in this series

Categories: Business Insights