Job search got you down? Or maybe you’re vying for an internal promotion but something’s holding you back. Pssst. Here’s a secret: It may be the shade of gray, a certain je ne sais quoi disgused as the unknown. You know it too well: The four-letter word better known as fear.

We checked in with Jonathan Alpert, author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days, for the inside scoop on making progress with your search to kick fear aside to the curb once and for all.

1. The fear of rejection. Alpert explains, “Accept the notion that “no” doesn’t necesaarily mean no.  Redefine what no means to you.” Instead of taking it personally or seeing “no” as a slammed door, think of it as an opportunity to find a cracked window.  In fact, he suggests seeing it as an opportunity to “find out more precisely what the person or editor’s needs are.” Alpert explains:

“For instance, if you are pitching a story and an editor comes back to you with a “no”, then find out why.  Find out what they do need.  Find out what would make your story idea stronger.  Remember, it’s about them, not you so don’t personalize it.”

2. Fear of being thought of as a fraud. Maybe you have the “fake it ’til you make it mentality.” Maybe not but if you’re uncertain, the author reminds us to think about what got you where you are today. He says, “Write out a list of all the skills and qualities that got you to where you are.  Own them!  For example, if you successfuly published an article or book, list out all the things that you did to make this happen.”

3. Fear of being under-qualified for a job you’re applying for. Let’s face it — underemployment can happen to the best of us. Instead of letting it get you down, Alpert recommends flipping it upside down by focusing on positive attributes instead!
“Rather than thinking of all the reasons why you think you can’t do something, think of all the reasons why you can.  Change that self talk and make it positive.  On a piece of paper draw a line down the middle.  When you get a negative, self-defeating thought, write it on the left side.  On the right side reframe it in a more positive way.”
As an example, thinking you’ll never get hired because your resume isn’t strong enough can easily turn optimistic with the right frame of mind. He adds, “This statement becomes positive on the right: ‘I don’t know whether they will hire me but I am going to highlight my strengths and give it my best shot.’”