Is Fear holding you back? Step out of your own way!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?”
Marianne Williamson – A Course in Miracles
(and quoted by Nelson Mandela as part of his inauguration speech in 1994)
There are two great forces in life – fear and love. Fear is anything that weakens your spirit. Another name for fear is anger, frustration, jealousy, self doubt. Love on the other hand is everything that lights you up – it’s joy, generosity, contentment and it lives with you. Unleash the flow of love and let the miracles begin. So many of my clients have fear as the root cause of being stuck that I have designed a course around it – check out my course on Overcoming Fear with Courage.
We are born with fear – yes fear has always been there – back to the cave men and women who lived on instinct and emotions. They knew survival and how to hunt, eat and fight. They knew very little else! Our bodies reaction to fear is the same whether we are faced with a physical or emotional threat. What happens is that the brain releases chemical messengers in the form of adrenaline which triggers the “fight or flight” phenomenon. This happens whether the threat is real or perceived and gets stored in the long term memory. Every living creature is capable of this response as they need to have it inbuilt to protect them in times of danger. Its a really good thing usually as it helps us react very quickly in order to survive the danger we are in. With this response we can react quickly and effectively and stay alive!
Fear’s number 1 job is to guard you against any negative feelings that would confirm your worst fear – that you are not good enough which sadly perpetuates your inability to accept yourself. Yet deep down we want to own our power and strength and courage. Fear is the gatekeeper of your comfort zone. Fear keeps us “SAFE” when there’s a danger of not being accepted, approved or understood.
Throughout our life we add to the list of real and perceived threats born of experience. We run away from the danger of being failures, of being ridiculed, of being rejected, of being played for a fool. Let’s take a child who accidentally touches a hot iron. The immediate response is pain and will invoke the emotions and howling! There will be a clear understanding that this thing hurt and won’t touch it again. In the same way, as adults, we don’t want to risk being burnt emotionally. Every negative experience, however, fleeting can be a lesson in fear that is well learned by our subconscious mind. Fear has been with you all along, filing away all the hurt and heartbreak and flashes warnings to tell you “don’t go there. Don’t do that; don’t say that. You could potentially experience rejection, disappointment or the feeling that you are foolish. Too dangerous! Our instinct then is to protect ourselves.
Generalized fears, the kind not resulting from an immediate survival threat, work on our psyche in a powerful way making it exceedingly difficult to separate fact from fiction or opinion. Remember when the recession first hit and we all thought about stashing our cash under our mattress? And the outbreak of bird flu and mad cow disease? No-one would eat beef for fear of being poisoned. And then there are all the micro level fears we face every day. What if Mary doesn’t get enough points in her final exams? What if John’s business fails? What if that pain in Mum’s tummy is something more serious?
Some tips on managing your fear:
- Trust yourself you know what makes your heart sing. It’s all about asking the right questions. Check out my course on clarifying what makes your heart sing.
- Identify your Fear. You cannot overcome or move through your fear if you don’t recognize it as such. You can blame someone else, you can call it impossible or you can just admit that you are afraid. Once you admit that fear is operating, you can begin to change it.
- Recognise your inner thoughts. The vast majority of people no matter how confident they appear to be, harbour paralysing fears that lurk beneath the surface of their psyches. Gain understanding from the fear. What am I basing this fear on? Choose to see a deeper truth. We experience fear when we believe the lies that our ego is telling us. We believe what we have accepted as truth either consciously or unconsciously. What do you believe as true?
- Don’t feed the mind monkeys!
- Challenge yourself to have the courage to face the fear. Fear doesn’t know you are an adult who craves adventure and love and fulfilment. That’s why it takes great courage and often a crisis to show your fear who’s boss! When we become aware of how fear is running our lives and what our fears are, we have the power to break free of our conditional and make choices about how we behave.
- Analyse the risks of consequences and actions.
- Commit to Courage. The more you try to suppress or numb your fear, the stronger its hold on you. Even if you’re not consciously feeling it, you may find yourself rationalizing that your dream isn’t worth the effort or isn’t what you really want anymore anyway. 10 is made up of ten 1’s. So is Courage built one success at a time. Remember parachutes weren’t proven trustworthy by having people carry them around on their backs. The device showed its worth once someone jumped!
- Stop being critical and putting others down. Our fear of making mistakes is tied to a fear of being judged, ridiculed and criticised.
- Practise building courage. Courage is like a muscle; it can be strengthened and developed through consistent training. To become/be courageous is not an easy feat, especially when it has been a part of your character to run and bolt under pressure.
- Develop thick skin and don’t let the words of others affect you. Remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. It’s not what they say to you that’s the problem it’s what you say to yourself after they have stopped talking that’s the problem. I have a course on Confidence & Self Esteem Boost your self-esteem – have your needs met.
- Don’t be afraid, you’ve got nothing to be afraid of.
- Just watch the reaction on faces after you’ve said it the first time and there will be no going back.
- Practice saying “no” and do not give a reason. Often we feel we have to justify saying no. Just say “no thank you” and leave it at that.
- Practise Graciousness. What you give out comes back to you three-fold! Celebrate others success and your own.
- Take Action – Take small steps toward what you’re afraid of; you don’t have to do it all at once. Each of us has a different level of risk tolerance. You need to honour that and, at the same time, push yourself slowly out of your comfort zone. Each step you take will prepare you for the next and the next. If you struggle with your goal setting check out my course Little Goals Big Results.
Personal Development coaching is all about taking control of the areas of your life and transforming the limiting thoughts, beliefs and fears. Being aware of how your thoughts are driving you about life, money, people and making change empowers you and your experiences alter.