Can you overcome fear of the unknown? Absolutely.
This lesson came alive for me while still volunteering at my mom’s job at the mental hospital where she was working. The campus, in my opinion, was huge with several buildings all over the campus. When I looked at the vast campus, I wasn’t sure how I would survive it. First, I volunteered in two different departments in two separate buildings on the campus. Then my mother worked in yet another part of campus. To be honest, I was scared and afraid of getting lost. I had to figure things out for myself.
This time in my teenage years introduced me to several ways to overcome my fear of the unknown.
1. Deal with your assumptions
(or in my case, my opinion) about what lies ahead. In this case, the layout of the hospital made me focus only on how huge the campus was. In my life skills curriculum for high school students, I help students examine some of my own challenges, like this one, as they face and explore theirs.
2. Acknowledge your fears before so you can confront them.
I had to admit I was scared and afraid of getting lost, before I came to the place I understood I had to push through the fear and figure things out.
Would you believe it if I told you that after only one week, I knew the whole campus. I had overcome my fear of the unknown. Later, I applied what I learned to other campuses when I went to college, grad school and at work. This opened my eyes to a third way to overcome fear of the unknown.
3. Apply what you already know to your current situation.
Whenever I joined a new campus, I still felt fear. However, that fear became familiar in new places. I could breathe easy and tell myself, “you got this.” I found comfort in knowing I could make it on that big campus on my own without my mother having to hold my hand every step of the way. For a teenager, that’s a big lesson. I am glad I gave it time to all come together.
I know that with patience, focus and determination, anyone can overcome fear of the unknown. They can venture into uncharted unfamiliar waters and swim, not sink. With time, big things can easily be brought down to size.
I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges. provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.
Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker? I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.