Updated: Feb 3, 2022
5 Strategies To Overcome Intimidation
What do you think of when you hear that word? Many of us may think of those “David and Goliath” type moments in our lives that seem overwhelming. Perhaps it's a person that seems intimidating as you prepare to deliver your report. Maybe it's a contract that's intimidating as you think of what you’re getting into with your signature. It might be a conversation that needs to be held that you’re unsure of how it will go but you know it needs to happen.
One definition of “intimidating” is that of having a frightening, overawing, or threatening effect.
Does anything have a frightening or threatening effect on you? If so, that thing, person, or circumstance is intimidating to you. When you have an intimidating situation in front of you, how do you handle it? Let me give you 5 strategies to overcome intimidation.
1 - Realize That The Feeling Is Normal
When you’re getting ready to do something big or unfamiliar, feeling some fear and nervousness is absolutely normal. Think about it.
Your first date, your first time speaking publicly, your first time asking for a raise/promotion, your first time driving a car, or your first time taking on a big responsibility - How did you feel?
While there can be excitement, there’s also concern that comes with the situation. You have fears: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, and fear of all the “what ifs” that can come to mind. Some are realistic while others are made up by our often irrational emotions. It’s up to us to take a moment to recognize the feelings of intimidation and understand that they are absolutely normal especially in unfamiliar cases.
2 - Think Through The Fear Factors
After calming down and realizing that you’re normal, take the time to think through the factors that cause your fears. Analyze what your concerns consist of and determine whether they are steeped in reality or they are outlandish thoughts that need to be muted.
Let’s take the example of an interview for a big job. It may be a week before the big day but you’re feeling intimidated for a number of reasons. Let’s think through why someone could feel fear in this situation.
Fear of not looking the part
Fear of saying the wrong things
Fear of being unprepared
Fear of stumbling into the room
Fear of not getting the job
How can we address each fear? We do so by naming the fear and setting a course towards resolving the issue surrounding the fear.
Not looking the part: With a week out, there is time to find the clothes that make you feel confident. Getting new clothes that give you the “power look” that you need could be a simple part of alleviating this fear.
Saying the wrong things: Go practice the interview process. Hire a coach or practice with a friend the common questions given in interviews and questions specific to your work. Next thing you know, you’re well-rehearsed and you know how to flow in the interview.
Being Unprepared: Beyond the interview, practice points that you may be familiar with for the job itself. Study the company, study the workflow, and study what you’d be doing in the new role. Each of these efforts can help to reduce the feeling of being unprepared.
Stumbling into the room: Maybe you feel like you’ll be clumsy the day of the interview and all you can visualize is falling over and embarrassing yourself. The questions to ask yourself are 1 - Is this even a realistic fear or am I dramatizing my concerns? 2 - If it is realistic, what can I do to help alleviate my fear? Wear comfortable shoes, wear clothing that works for your movements, and focus on the mission - Acing the Interview.
Not Getting The Job: While this is likely this falls into the category of things you may not be able to control. There is the actual possibility of not getting the job but if you put your best foot forward then that’s all you can do. Fearing what you can’t control is a non-stop fear that would drive you crazy. Do your best and if that situation occurs, dust yourself off and do it again until you get the desired result.
This was just an example and you can insert this into any intimidating situation. List the fears and address the fears.
3 - Change Your Words
Have you ever paid attention to the words that come out of your mouth? Especially the words that come out while you’re feeling fearful. Those are the words that you’ll believe the most and they need to be reined in.
You may be familiar with the Bible Proverb that says Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, there is much truth to this point. If you say you’re a failure, it’s likely you’ll fail. If you say you’re a loser, it’s like you’ll lose. If you say you won’t get the job, it’s likely you won’t.
Instead of being negative, try accentuating the positive. Along with your own mouth, take care to limit people around you who add to the negative words in your life. They may say you’ll never make it, you’ll never succeed, or that you’re not good enough. Remove yourself from those who keep talking down about you. You may find that your attitude changes and your fears melt away with them.
4 - Practice, Train, & Prepare Well
Similar to the interview example, fighting fear and intimidation can be done through practicing, training, and preparing for the situation you face.
Public speaking is a high-ranking fear for many people. Perhaps you’ve been invited to speak or share some words at an event. This can be intimidating. But what helps to get this fear under control is preparation.
Writing your words, practicing how you’ll say them, and preparing your body movements can help eradicate much of what you may consider to be intimidating about the big speaking moment.
In any situation, if there is an element that can be rehearsed and perfected before going in, doing so will help to reduce intimidation.
5 - Pray
If you’re a person of faith like me this is a major point. Taking the time to reestablish that my life is in the hands of a God who cares about me definitely helps to remove intimidation. While every little fear may not disappear, at a minimum we can come out better prepared to face our fears and do what needs to be done.
Take the time to pray and watch your fears get smaller and smaller as you walk in increasing faith.
Overcoming intimidation is a necessary skill as we all move forward into the great things that we desire to accomplish in our lives. I do hope this article helped you to stand up to your fears and take on your goals with excitement.
Have a strategy that you use to overcome intimidation? Please share it in the comments.
Please share this article with someone who may need a little help overcoming life’s intimidating moments.
J. G. Pitts