We experience fear as a warning. It’s a signal to stop and be careful. In terms of our physical safety, fear serves to keep us alive. At the same time, fear works against us if we want to try something new or up-level our lives. But, if we are going to lead lives we truly want to live and pursue extraordinary goals, we will have to start feeling fear and doing it anyway.
Fear worked really well back in the days when we lived in caves. Today, while it is still useful when we might be thinking about heading down a dark alley by ourselves, or hiking in a forest with bears, it does not apply when we want to go after our dreams. It especially doesn’t apply when it comes to going after our dreams. Often, we use fear against ourselves. We allow it to keep us from going after what we really want and we keep ourselves from creating. As a result, we are too afraid to put our work out there and then we don’t take risks or allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
It’s normal to hesitate and delay taking action when something is new for us. Changing jobs or moving to a different country will be scary. Creating a video and posting it on social media can be terrifying. At the same time, we feel a nudge inside of us, a calling, and we know we want to do this thing, but we hold ourselves back because of the uncertainty.
Yet, what we fear is not death, although it might feel like it at times. What we fear is experiencing a certain feeling. Maybe it’s the feeling of discomfort. Or we are afraid to feel vulnerable or judged. Or perhaps it’s feeling disappointment.
We feel anxious that someone may put us down or criticise our work.
We dread making a mistake. And we fear feeling like a failure.
This is all perfectly normal. Everyone experiences this from time to time. It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you might be.
However, the important thing is what we do despite feeling fear.
It’s all about feeling fear and doing it anyway.
How do we go about managing our fear and moving ourselves forward towards creating the life of our dreams?
The first thing you want to do is ask yourself, “is this fear serving me”? Chances are it is not. Most likely it is holding you back and keeping you playing small.
Your brain’s primal response is to keep you safe in the face of risk. But it is clear that there is no danger of you dying or being harmed if you post something on Instagram or TikTok. However, your brain has trouble distinguishing between this and things that actually physically threaten us, and so you might be feeling like you might die.
In actual fact, you are afraid of feeling an emotion. You are not able to see that while you may actually experience the emotion which you fear (humiliated or embarrassed, for instance), you will not feel it forever. And it definitely will not kill you. You can experience it, allow for it, process it and then move on without harm. In fact, everything you want is on the other side of that emotion, if you are able to be willing to experience regardless.
If you know what it is you want to do but are too afraid, take a few minutes to write in your journal the reasons why this fear is not serving you.
Next write down why you want to do that thing you are afraid of doing.
By listing how this fear is not serving you and clarifying the reasons why you want to do it, you are refocusing your brain on what you want to create.
When we see someone who we think is very courageous, it’s easy to believe that they were born that way. We think they have a gift or it just comes easier to them. The truth is they probably had to build up to where they are now, just as we do. Everyone has to do go through it. They had to start somewhere. There is no way around it.
You too need to start somewhere and it’s OK to start small. Take one small step and then another, and keep going. For instance, instead of you posting your own work on Instagram, maybe you create a post with a quote by someone else, using a template from Canva. It’s OK to start small and build your way up. The important thing is to start and slowly work on overcoming your fear.
A lot of people will say they are not ready and will constantly sign up for courses, watch Youtube videos, and read articles, thinking that if they consume enough material, they will eventually become ready enough to take action. Learning all the things is fine, but it’s important to balance it out with taking action. Your brain, if you let it, will always tell you that you’re not ready and you will delay action and put off taking that first step forever. But this is another attempt to protect you.
The truth is you may never feel completely be ready, but by taking action, that’s where your greatest growth comes from. And that’s when the most improvement occurs. We keep learning and we become a little bit better. It’s OK to sign up for courses and watch videos, but take action at the same time. You’re not going to improve by accident. You improve by deliberately taking action and moving yourself forward bit by bit. You will start to build courage, and you will start to build your capability. At the same time, you’ll also develop your confidence. Your confidence will come from the increased skill and your ability to take action.
The more confident you become, the more action you will take, and this will move you forward towards your dreams. This is how we grow and evolve.
It’s perfectly normal to feel that you are not making progress or you’re not moving ahead fast enough. You might think you’ve made a mistake or something has gone wrong, and the doubt will start to creep in. This is very normal and nothing has gone wrong. Your brain is defaulting to the negative in an effort to keep you safe (another attempt to protect you).
The best thing you can do is not believe those thoughts. Everyday, we think almost 60,000 of thoughts and most of them will be garbage. Don’t believe every thought your brain offers you. If your brain is offering you the thought that you’re not progressing fast enough, ask yourself what else could be true? What else could be true about your progress? Where are you making progress? Make a list. Celebrate your successes.
Is it possible that you’re progressing at exactly the right speed and you’re in exactly the right place you need to be? It probably is. Choose what you want to believe and be deliberate in your thinking. Don’t accept whatever your brain offers you. Build awareness around what your brain is doing. Remind yourself that your brain is looking for the negative because it’s trying to protect you. It is harmless, as long as you don’t believe it. Then keep going.
Regardless of what happens, don’t judge yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Offer yourself only love and compassion. If you make a mistake, if you forget something, if you stop and start, it’s all OK. It’s really all a part of the process. Have your own back and keep going.
Feeling afraid and all the discomfort that comes from starting something new and different is very normal. You will experience failure. Things might not go as planned. You will make a mistake. However, adding on an extra layer of suffering that comes with beating yourself up, does not help. In fact, it will have the complete opposite effect that you think it will. Positive action will not come from making yourself feel bad. Promise yourself right now that you will not criticise yourself. No name calling. No judging. Speak to yourself the same way you would speak to your best friend. You will be less likely to become demotivated and give up on yourself.
Set that extraordinary goal for yourself. Go find that new relationship. If you’re thinking about changing jobs, start looking. Create your own business. Post that video of yourself dancing on Tiktok. Follow your passion and share it with others. You never know who you’re going to inspire and who needs to see your message.
Remind yourself that the worst that can happen is a feeling. It’s not going to harm you. Just allow for it.
How much different would your life be if you allowed yourself to feel your emotions and took action anyway? Your amazing results are all on the other side of those emotions.
Your dreams matter. You matter. Don’t wait until you’re ready. Don’t wait until you don’t feel fear. The fear’s going to be there. Tap into courage. In order to build the life you truly want, start building your capability then you’ll start building your confidence and always have self compassion for yourself. Feel that fear and do it anyway.
You’ve got this. Take that first step.
If you want help, schedule your private coaching session with me now. It’s a free session, focused solely on you and your life. Let’s talk about what you want to create for yourself. Schedule yours here.
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