Fear is the killer. It’s the destroyer of dreams. It can crush your business and bust your sales. It can strangle your talents, skills and ambitions.

Our ability to achieve personal and business success is directly related to how well we can break through fear. What fears are holding you back from achieving the things you want to do?

Some common fears are: the fear of poverty, the fear of criticism, the fear of ill heath, the fear of rejection, the fear of success, the fear of failure, the fear of old age, the fear of death, and the fear of the unknown.

From CEOs to celebrities to salespeople, and everyone in between, we all suffer from fears that hold us back from getting what we want. If you’re ready to break through your fear, then consider practicing some of these proven and practical habits to live the life you are capable of.

1. Discover what fears are holding you back. Research shows that we are born with only two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. What that means is every other fear we have is learned. Unfortunately, we seem to acquire too many unhealthy fears that end up holding us back from living the life we deserve. It is essential to become more aware and to identify when we are fearful, how we respond to that fear, and how to break through it. Write a list of things you fear and then list ways you can overcome the fears that are holding you back.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.”

– Henry Ford

2. Focus on what you desire, not what you fear. Focus your mind on what you want to do, so that you have no time to focus on what you fear. To make sales calls you must focus on the opportunity and reward for making sales calls. Focusing on rejection and criticism will only paralyze you. We generally experience whatever it is we focus on, so you might as well center your thoughts and actions on what you desire. Your focus will become your reality. Bill Cosby had great insight into this when he said, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”

3. Take baby steps. Inch your way to conquering fear. If you have a fear of climbing a ladder, try climbing two rungs only. Once you feel more comfortable, then try three rungs. Within time you’ll have the courage to climb all the way to the top. Develop your courage by slowing expanding your comfort zone. Take the advice of Mark Twain, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

4. Establish a relationship with a mentor. Leaders know they don’t have all the answers. It’s extremely important to seek help from successful leaders since we can learn from their experiences. You can accelerate your progress and avoid possible pitfalls to your eventual success. After you find a credible mentor, consult with your mentor on a regular basis. Make sure to report your activities and success to your mentor. Keep in mind that your mentor will continue to help you as long as you respect his or her time and knowledge, and you consistently progress toward your goals.

“I learned that courage was not absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

– Nelson Mandela

5. Tackle challenges immediately. A broken water valve can cause enormous damage if it’s not attended to immediately. Running away from challenges will never make them disappear. James Baldwin was correct when he wrote, “There is never time in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is now.” Challenges are part of life and must be viewed as opportunities to learn and grow or life will surely offer only defeat. Keep in mind that challenges are like schoolyard bullies who end up shrinking when confronted.

6. Create your own mental movie. Carl Sagan shared, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” Become the director, the actor and the audience of your own movie. You can create a mental movie in which you see yourself overcoming your fear. You can use a mental movie to create and reinforce any desired behavior. Play the movie over and over until your new behavior emerges.

7. Use your body to control your frame of mind. When you want to feel confident, you need to stand up straight, throw your shoulders back, breathe deeply and look slightly upward. The same is true if you want to be courageous; simply adopt a keyed up and courageous body posture. You can use your body to feel happy or sad, love or hate, energetic or lethargic. You have the power to feel any way you like simply by adopting the proper physiology. So, stand up straight and walk with certainty in the face of fear.

If you are tired of living your life in fear, then now is your best hour to do something about it. You can practice these powerful tools today to help you break through fear. If not, your option is to continue living a limited life.

Best of success to you!