Fear Setting for Effective Job Search

Going out and looking for a new job is both terrifying and exciting. However, you can actually engage in the proven technique of Fear Setting, to calm your nervous system (and fears) down to a manageable level so that you can search for a new job more easily. Let’s look at some ways in which you can take that all-important next step.

Let’s look at some of these corresponding fears. This will help you to gain massive control over your thinking and feeling and will leave you feeling stronger, rather than weaker, in your job search.


What is “Fear Setting”?

Fear Setting is a technique that actually puts your primal fears into perspective. You see, humans have an innate fight-flight-or-freeze response to anything that threatens to harm us.

Being rejected on job interviews, failing in your job search, not paying your bills, being homeless, and failing in front of your friends and family. These are all possibilities of going out on a new job search, whether or not you are employed right now.

Setting your fear is a technique that is designed to take all of these perfectly understandable concerns of yours and put them into perspective. In fact, this whole exercise is about perspective.

First, we will define the worst-case scenario. Next, we will closely look at and define each of your fears, one by one. After that, we will separate out real optimism from fear that is pretending to be optimism. Sometimes, accepting that you will be afraid for a while is a very empowering method. Lastly, we look at the likelihood of the worst case scenario in either direction, action, and inaction.


First, Define the Nightmare (the worst case scenario)

You may have already defined the worst case scenario if you go out looking for a job and fail. However, you should also do this in the opposite direction. Have you defined the worst case scenario if you do not go out and look for a job at all?

You should definitely allow fear to work on your behalf. This can be done by imagining the worst situation for inaction, not simply the worst situation for action. What if you never put your foot out the door? What if you never worked on your job search skills? And, if you stayed at your current job, would you be happy and enjoy a successful career?

The worst of the worst cannot have a complete hold on you if you define its edges and parameters. If you also define the parameters and consequences of inaction, your fear will start to be empowering, rather than discouraging.

Fear of Falling Drawing


Second, Define Each of Your Fears

Now, in this step, you will make a list of all of your individual fears. These can be something small, like being nervous in your new workplace for a little while, or something large, like placing a trade that breaks the bank. For now, don’t worry about the size of your concern, just put it in a list. Write down every single little fear that you have.

In your list, you may have one or two things which give you extreme terror. That’s okay. We all have a couple of those. This would be a great time to google “help with fear of…” and define this particular concern. You can also ask a mentor to help you put your “terror subjects” into perspective with you.

Support from family, friends, and mentors decreases the worst concerns you will have. This is why people have mentors: to help them through the really gnarly patches of weeds. By defining your fears in the rest of your list, you are taking control of them and owning them as yours. This acceptance takes part of their power away.

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Note: If you try to deny any of your fears, then that area will continue to hold sway over you. By acknowledging these concerns, you are actually removing their power and putting that power and control back in yourself.


Is Some of Your Fear Pretending to be Optimism?

There are two types of stress: distress and eustress. The second word is pronounced “YOU-stress”. Distress is negative and weakening stress, like fear and worry and anxiety. Eustress is a form of relaxation, which often involves triggering your endorphin-release. Exercise is a form of eustress to calm down at the end of the day.

It is easy for some of your fear about searching for a job to “pretend” to be good stress (excitement, optimism) when, in fact, it is fear masquerading itself. How can you tell? You may have rid yourself of most of your well-defined worry, but you still have a tightening and seizing in your chest or abdomen. This simply means that you are pretending that some part of your worry is good.

Sit down in a quiet location, by yourself, with a cup of herbal tea. Think about the areas of your life in which you still are worried about. Slowly and deliberately chase the last of your fears down and define them. Write these concerns down immediately. Fear setting requires that you define your concerns and immediately document them. Why? Because it is easy to forget why that good stress is really bad stress. The fear will try to hide again.


The Likelihood of Both Scenarios

Last, but not least, think about the likelihood of both scenarios. If you stay in your current job, you know that you will be unhappy. This is something that is very likely to happen. If you look for a new job, your rate of failure will probably not be as high as you think. This is something that is less likely to happen.

This will encourage you to act on your job search needs, rather than sitting frozen in inaction.

If you do not look for work that you enjoy, you will not have the money and self-support that you need. Your lack of funds is a very high likelihood. If you stay unemployed, the chances that you will have money for your housing and food are slim. This is not very likely to happen.

Do you see how empowering that is?


Now You are Ready to Look for Your Next Work

Congratulations. You have now gone through the entire process of setting your fears. What should you do next?

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Fear Setting for Effective Job Search