If you were to ask me that question, the answer is simple. Hands down the tangible thing that I fear most is snakes! I can’t stand them. In fact, I can hardly say the word without having a visceral reaction.
In high school, I trimmed Christmas trees with several of my friends, and my fear of snakes was well known throughout the other workers. One day as I was trimming, I saw something move near the bottom of the tree I was trimming. Without a thought, I threw down my shears and ran the quarter mile or so for the truck. For whatever reason, I felt that the highest point was the safest, so I ran right up the hood, and didn’t stop until I was standing on top of the cab.
As I turned to face the field again, I noticed that all of my friends were on the ground laughing at me, because apparently, one of them had thrown a stone under my tree to scare me. And it worked! Needless to say, besides feeling like I wanted to inflict bodily harm to them (JK), I felt intense fear.
For me with snakes, fear shows up in some really normal, concrete ways. My heart races, my breathing shallows, my palms begin to sweat, and my body temperature rises, but there are also many other ways that fear shows up…ways that are harder to recognize.
So, don’t be fooled into thinking that fear only shows up in these very concrete kind of ways. The other ways are a little more deceptive. It may be in driving that perfect someone away, because you’re afraid you’re going to get hurt in a relationship…all the while blaming it on their table manners or not being ready for a relationship. Fear may show up in keeping you stuck in a job that you no longer enjoy, and instead, you may just keep putting your “nose to the grindstone”, because you are afraid to make a change. Or maybe you’re afraid nothing better exists, or afraid you’re not good enough for anything else. Fear also disguises itself in the way of excuses and procrastination that keep you from making that phone call or having that difficult conversation.
Notice how fear shows up for you, because if we are really going to be those people that are going after life, striving forward, and making those changes, creating BOLDreams and living a life we love, we need to redefine our relationship with fear.
So, there are a couple of concepts that will help us recognize fear and redefine our relationship with fear.
Fear will be our constant companion.
If we are going to go after life, fear will be our constant companion. The idea of fearlessness is a myth. We can’t make changes in our relationships, careers, and lives, without fear showing up! So, we must learn to redefine our relationship with fear, and actually expect fear to show up. Yes, that’s right…expect fear to show up! Being able to recognize how fear is showing up, before we do the habitual retreat to the safety of our comfort zone, is definitely key to moving forward in life.
Fear is simply feedback.
When we feel fear, it is simply feedback. This feedback isn’t telling you that you can’t do something, but just that you haven’t done it yet. I felt fear before I did a Facebook LIVE. I felt fear sending what at that time felt like a huge check to reserve my summer home in Malibu. I felt fear beginning my trip to drive across the country. I felt fear leaving for college, and applying and interviewing for my job. Fear simply meant that I hadn’t done it before, not that I couldn’t do it. Think about it…I am sure that you’ve felt fear many times throughout your life.
Behind all fears is the fear that we won’t be able to handle ‘it’.
I recently made this video about fear. You can check it out below.
Even your greatest fear boils down to the mother of all fears and that is we won’t be able to handle it…whatever ’it’ is. Maybe ‘it’ is going after our dream job and not getting it, or going after it, and getting it! Maybe it is pursuing the person of your dreams and being turned away or having them actually love you back. Maybe it’s investing in a program and not getting the results that you had hoped. Maybe it’s ‘failing’, and not being able to handle other people’s opinions of you, or worse yet, what if you can’t handle your opinion of yourself? All of these are rooted in that big fear of “What if I can’t handle it?” And the truth is, you can! I am sure that you have already handled many things in your life, that you never imagined you’d have to or be able handle.
After reading Susan Jeffers’ book, “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway”, I adopted her mantra, “No matter what happens, I’ll handle it!” Many times when I was more focused on fear instead of the thing that I really wanted to be, do, and have in my life, this mantra has empowered me. What about you? If you knew you could handle it, what would you be doing differently?
Dial up desire.
One of the most powerful ways to overcome fear is to increasing our desire. If we continue to focus on our fear, we will feel more of that fear. But, by tuning into and increasing our desire, we can weather the storm of fear, and move forward toward the results we want.
We get this great idea and we want to try something new, something different…a new style of clothes, a new job, a new relationship, taking a different vacation or doing something different for the holidays, and we start stepping out of our comfort zone. Almost instantly, what happens?
Fear shows up telling us all the reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t do the thing we want to do! We hit this Terror Barrier, and we get so scared. Unfortunately, most people return quickly and safely to their comfort zone, stuffing away that new idea and vowing never again to try anything so different and exciting…resulting in feelings of being bound, stuck, unfulfilled, and unhappy.
However, with a new awareness, we are able to recognize what is happening and push through the Terror Barrier by increasing our desire. So, the next time you are about to change things up a little and feel fear, shift your focus away from your fear and dial up that desire!
I want to invite you to take a look at your own life…how and where does fear show up? And how can you break through that Terror Barrier and create the changes that you are desperately seeking in your life?
What can you do to dial up your desire this week?