Grow From Fear. . .
We all experience moments of fear in our lives. At work, we might be scared of speaking up or giving honest feedback. In our relationships, we might fear moving to the next step, or being vulnerable with our partners. Researchers have found that “anticipatory fears,” the predictions we make based on our fears, can end up holding us back from taking action, and cause us to remain frozen in place. But when we can take a minute to pause and empower ourselves to move forward in those moments, we can unlock our potential.
Start with one small step – When I began writing, I made a pact with myself to pursue the understanding of my fears and commit to taking one small step in understanding those fears and the small steps to overcome them every day, believing that even small steps can lead to big destinations! Today, I feel I have created a life in the city of my dreams and I’m doing the work I was put on this earth to pursue. Its a mindset so do what you must to find, support and invigorate that mindset.
Remind yourself how good you’ll feel afterwards – One tip that I use to help me face my fears is reminding myself how good I feel after I face the fear. I always feel very proud and brave after completing something scary, and those are feelings I look forward to when I’m anticipating something scary. Those good feelings are kind of like a reward after doing it.
Write down what you’re feeling – I find that most of my fear-based moments are just that: moments. When fear creeps in, it knocks my nervous system out of balance and anxiety kicks in. I’ve learned to lean into ‘this too shall pass’ which has helped me find my center in those moments of internal chaos. Once I’m back on emotionally solid ground and able to look at the situation with a stable mindset, I take notes in my journal on the experience. Overtime, the notes have become research, and they help me understand the themes and roots of my emotional wounds. It is a process that I am committed to in order to evolve past my fears.
Use positive self-talk – I recently faced the fear of speaking up for myself. I was being asked to take on a role that I was not comfortable doing. First, I took a breath, and I then had a talk with my inner self. I said, ‘Jim, you don’t want to do this so you have the right to say so in a positive way.’ I walked through my fear and said what I needed to say. I felt great relief in my heart that I stood up for myself. I find it more effective when I actually use my name in my self-talk.
Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen? – One of the tools I have learned to use when fear creeps up is the deconstruction method — the one that says: ‘What’s the worst that can happen? They say no?’ The instant I replace fear with this logic, a feeling of instant release chases the tensing and tightening up, away. I try to remember the ingredients that make children fearless, I remember the beautiful outcome that comes with being fearless— ultimate freedom.
Talk to a loved one about what you’re feeling – As I’ve gotten older, I have realized that our fears truly hold us back from living in the present and enjoying the precious moments we have now that we will never get back. When faced with fears and stuck, I first try to look inward and identify the source. If that’s too painful, I seek out someone who will listen without judgment or bias. This can be my coach, a therapist or a loved one. The worst thing you can do is hold on to your fears and allow them to grow and take over your entire life.
Think about what your fear is teaching you – I’ve found that looking for a lesson in the fear is a fantastic motivator to help you to keep moving forward. When I first started my public speaking efforts I was much more scared than I expected. I thought about canceling my bookings and retreating into my other work, but something made me curious about this fear and what I had to learn. So I held my course, and what I noticed was that public speaking was challenging me to look myself dead in the eye and question my fears. I had to rely on myself to understand myself, and it challenged me to learn to trust myself and my skills. Fear contains powerful lessons!
Remind yourself to maintain perspective – One tip that has helped me to face my fears is reminding myself that if the situation goes wrong, it is not the end of the world, and that situation does not define me. It is only one page in the book of my life.”
Focus on the end goal – When I am overcome with self-doubt and find myself retreating from sharing my voice and work, I use visualization as a tool to move through my fear. I spend a few minutes each day imagining how it will feel to have a project come to life, or to reach a goal that feels unreachable. I don’t focus on how I will get from here to there, but rather on how it will feel once I get there. The feeling of possibility and excitement motivates me to move forward, no matter how big my fear appears.
Peace and Love, Jim