Get Ahead

Tim Ferriss says this simple 3-step exercise can help you overcome your fears—and it only takes 30 minutes

Courtesy of Tim Ferriss

When working towards success, identifying your fears can be just as important as focusing on your goals.

To combat your fears, productivity guru and author of bestseller "The 4-Hour Workweek" Tim Ferriss recommends "fear-setting," an exercise he says he's used at almost every one of the pivotal points of his life.

All you need to try Ferriss's fear-setting exercise is a pen and paper.

"Don't rush this," he says, during an interview with life coach and motivational speaker Marie Forleo for MarieTV. "This will generally take at least a half hour and it will be the best time perhaps you've ever spent."

To begin, consider a decision or action that you may have been putting off because it makes you uncomfortable. Ferris gives examples: ending a relationship, quitting a job, starting a company. Whatever it is, make sure that it "strikes fear in your heart in some way."

Once you've picked your goal, write it down on a piece of paper after the words, "What if I —."

Then, draw three columns and label them "define," "prevent" and "repair."

In this first column, detail all the worst things that could happen if you pursue your goal. The more specific, the better your end results will be. "'Company fails' — not specific enough," says Ferriss. "Ask 'so what?' 'So what?' 'So what?' Let's get into the nitty gritty."

Move to the second column, "prevent." Write down several things you could do to decrease the likelihood of each of the worst case scenarios you explored in the "define" column occurring. Ferriss says once you address the possibilities of these unfortunate cases, "these remedies or preventative measures start to come out."

Finally, move to the third column, "repair." If things do go badly, this is where you figure out how to repair the damage. Ferriss recommends considering all options, no matter how much you may hate them, in order to assure that you would be able to get back on your feet.

Ferriss isn't alone in recommending you conquer your fears by facing them head-on.  "Go and look at it. Go on the attack. Move towards it," former Navy SEAL, author and leadership coach Jocko Willink told CNBC Make It.

Willink says that avoiding fear will only make it worse.  "The more you hide from it, the bigger it gets. The scarier it gets. Don't allow that to happen — instead, confront it, face it and get after it."

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who once had an intense fear of public speaking, agrees with Willink. "Address whatever you feel your weaknesses are, and do it now," he wrote for Forbes. "Whatever you want to learn more, start doing it today."

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Courtesy of Tim Ferriss
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