Fear. A chain reaction triggered by a stressful stimulus, causing a series of involuntary events in the body. Muscles tighten, breathing quickens, and the heart begins to race as the body evaluates the situation determining whether to fight or fly.
That familiar feeling is most obvious in the presence of a physical threat like a falling brick, an angry dog, or a poisonous spider. But most of our darkest and most powerful fears have little to do with harm to our physical bodies – but rather with taking risks in our lives.
One of the greatest risks is going for something that matters to you. Maybe it’s the attractive woman or man at the cocktail party – the fear of rejection can stymie an attempt to talk to her/him, solidifying the fact that you two will never be an item. Or perhaps it’s going for that job promotion – fear that you won’t measure up and be awarded with the position you want can be enough to talk yourself into staying put.
You see, the thing about fear is it is an emotion hardwired into our bodies for the purposes of saving us from danger. But the big danger in the world for some of us is rejection or learning that your best may not be enough. Sometimes that fear is so powerful we give up before we try, and relegate ourselves into a life of mediocrity because it’s “safe.” No one can hurt you there….right?
WRONG. There is no more dangerous place than living a life in apathy afraid to take a risk for something better. It’s a condition that deadens the heart, weakens the soul, and kills relationships, passions and un-lived adventures around you.
While we can understand that fear is a mechanism for protection, it behaves similar to a shark cage. Locked in fear, you are locked in a shark cage, safe from sharks like rejection, failure or effort. But do you know what it also does? It keeps you locked away from the open waters of success, where you could swim to your goals and dreams.
Now that we understand how fear can be helpful in that it protects us, but harmful in that it can hinder us, how do we overcome it?
The way to defeat fear is to face it by taking action. Understanding what it is about the action that scares you can help you rationalize the unlikelihood that you will fail. For example, many people are afraid of public speaking. This is a natural place to have fear, given that as mammals we were raised to find safety in packs. Public speaking is the antithesis of being in a pack, as you’ve separated yourself out and drawn attention to yourself. Therefore, the best way to overcome public speaking is….public speaking!
This is true with anything else. Fear is supported by worry, and most worries are completely unfounded. By experiencing the very thing you are afraid of, it takes down the irrational idea of it and makes it something you can face, take on and conquer.
Now an important distinction to point out – being fearless is not the absence of fear. Being fearless is about having the courage to face fear. In other words, if you have butterflies in your stomach – get them to fly in formation! Get them to take you to where you want to go. Energy is neither created nor destroyed – so take the energy you have from your fear and harness it into energy that you can use to accomplish your goals.
Fear is the ENEMY of ACTION. Therefore the only way to break free of your fears is to take action. Contact me and let’s start working to conquer fear.