I've blogged about fear before, but it seems a subject that can always be talked about again. Fear is something that never misses an opportunity to show up in our lives. I know it's showed up in my life lately as I've got a lot of changes going. I have been living in Missouri for 11 years. I have never lived anywhere longer. I just a few days I will be relocating to Dallas, TX. Not only am I relocating myself but also Evolution U Coaching.
I'm sure you can imagine how fear has shown up in my life lately. Fear around moving to another area. Fear around moving from a small city to Dallas, TX. Fear around moving Evolution U Coaching and working to get established in the community. Lots and lots of fear showing up.
Everyone experiences fear. Fear is that irrational belief about stuff that appears real. The truth is that fear is really in our heads and has no basis in reality.
Here is an excellent acrostic for fear:
FEAR-False Evidence Appearing Real!
If you allow your fear to get the best of you it can also stand for:
FEAR-Forever Escaping and Retreating!
Can you imagine what your life would be like if you always allowed FEAR to decide for you?
There are many types of fear that prevent you from stepping into the life you deserve.
Fear of failure
Fear of the unknown
Fear of rejection
Fear of success (What? Really?)
Fear of what others will think
I know I have experienced every one of these fears in the last couple of weeks as I have been preparing to relocate.
Think about a time in your life when you've experienced fear. What about the situation caused fear to show up? Were you going to try something new? A new job? Were you trying to make a change in direction in your life? A career change? Or maybe life threw you a curve ball. You found yourself unemployed or single again. These situations along with many other things experienced in life bring fear.
Here is the 411 on fear:
Fear keeps us from pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones.
Fear keeps us small.
Fear keeps us from playing full out (Insert 100 emoji here).
What can you do to overcome fear?
ACKNOWLEDGE: This first step is to acknowledge your fear. Acknowledge that you are feeling fear. It is best to address the pink elephant in the room. Right? When you recognize your fear, you can take authority over it rather than allowing fear to take you over.
UNDERSTAND: Next, understand your fear. You want to understand what the fear you’re feeling is about. Take a few minutes and do a little bit of research into your fear.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
What about the situation or circumstance is causing the fear?
Which fear is it? Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, etc. (see the list above).
How is the fear making you feel? (Anxious, shortness of breath, nauseous, headache)
MAKE A CHOICE: This step is the most powerful. You get to choose how you think about your fear. Are you going to look at the fear as a negative or a positive? See, as I said above, everyone feels fear. It doesn't matter who you are. The most successful people in the world, people like Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Tsai Ing-wen (first female leader of Taiwan) all feel fear. (click here for a list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017).
The difference is how you choose to look at the fear. If you look at it as a negative and allow it to rule your decisions and keep you from playing full out, well then fear is a bad thing. On the flip side, if you acknowledge your fear, understand it, use it by making it a positive, then you are willing to step out of your comfort zone. You are eager to play full out and step into the life you deserve. You have a choice!!!
TAKE ACTION! The final step is just that, take a step. Just take one baby step in the direction you want to go. Do one little thing outside your comfort zone. The first step is always the most difficult, but you can do it. When you take action, it creates confidence. Every step you take builds your confidence. You can do it.
Some of my clients experience anxiety, especially when they are experiencing fear. So, the thought of taking action can cause you to freak out. That's okay. You’re okay! It is entirely reasonable to feel that way. Here is something you can do for that.
A: Accept the anxiety and don’t try to fight it.
W: Watch your anxiety level and start to breathe longer on your out-breath.
A: Act normally. Carry on behaving as if nothing is different. This sends a powerful signal to your unconscious mind that an overdramatic response is unnecessary.
R: Repeat these steps if necessary.
E: Expect the best. You’ll realize you can control fear much more than you thought possible.
These simple techniques, taken from positive psychology, can help you focus on reality and give you the ability to think more clearly. This will require some effort and practice, but you will see that you can reduce your fear to an acceptable level and you will be able to move forward.
Don’t let fear stop you from living the life you deserve. Understand that everyone experiences fear. The difference is how you deal with it. Do you allow it to keep you playing small in your life? Or, do you acknowledge it, understand it, choose to think of it as a positive, and take action in spite of it?
Words of Encouragement
I want to leave you with this quote from Dale M. Kushner of Psychology Today about fear.
“A helpful way to think of fear is an edge we come to about what we know about ourselves. As fear is the unknown in us, understanding our fear enlarges our perception of ourselves and can be a transformative experience.”
I want to encourage you, sit down and allow your fear to write a letter to YOU. This is a great exercise especially if you are feeling unsure of yourself. Allow your fear to have a chance to express itself formally to you. This exercise helps you to acknowledge and understand your fear. Be mindful of what comes up. You might be surprised.
Read the letter with an open mind and an open heart. Respond to your fear by writing a letter back with love and kindness, and respectfully explain how you appreciate all that fear has done for you, but you've got a new plan. When you respond to your fear, you are choosing how you will receive fear and taking action on how you will move forward.
What kind of fear are you experiencing and what are you missing out on because of it? Are you willing to allow fear to write you a letter? Will you respond? I'd love to hear your thoughts? Share in the comments below.
If you get the opportunity to practice AWARE, I would love to hear your thoughts?