How I've Learned to Face Fear and Embrace Me
Fear. A little 4-letter "F" word with a lot of power. Everyone has had to face fear at some point. Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat (normally faulty) that occurs in us, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior , such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events.
Fearless is the word I chose for my "word of the year" in 2017. Why? Because I'm tired of living in fear, which is where I spent the large part of my first 40 years. In a very fear based world. I did a very good job of making my life look and feel comfortable. I had literally mastered comfort as a skill. I had to face many fears in college and in graduate school and the day I graduated, I thought I was home free. WRONG. It really could never end. I either had to learn that I was going to settle for status quo and continue living in my comfortable little world, or I was going to embrace me, be vulnerable, do the uncomfortable things, and face my fears. Chase my never ending dreams and become FEARLESS.
The Road To Fearlessness
I lived comfortably for so many years. Working part-time in a very comfortable job (which I still do and love), then just taking a background position in my family life. Catering to my family's every need and setting some of my desires off to the side. I have at least 10 dreamy ideas that go through my head every single day, because I am a dreamer! And I decided I was just going to leave them there. In my head. Because that was safe. THAT was fear.
I wouldn't have admitted to it being fear back then, I would have just said I wasn't acting on any of the dreams because I didn't have time or it just didn't matter to me. Enter an opportunity for me to start a home-based business and on that day, 3.5 years ago was the day that I realized that living in the comfort zone was no longer an option. How did this push me? Because I had made the decision that I was going to do this and that combined with my relentless "never quit" attitude, was never going to allow me to fail. Well not without a fight and not without conquering fears.
Now, don't get me wrong, I have faced fears and failed a thousand times; but what I've learned is that I had to embrace me and get back up every time I failed. I had to embrace who I am, my strengths, and go to work utilizing them. And utilizing them in sometimes scary ways. Public speaking-check! No longer all that scary for me any more. Introducing myself to new people and making lots of new friends-check! Getting easier all the time. And you know why? Because I've practiced these things over, and over, and over.
My most recent fears I've faced include tackling technology and setting up a webpage, Facebook page, and blog. Actually writing out and publishing my first blog---scary! Oh my! This one just literally happened last week. I published my first blog and was just sick to my stomach, my heart was beating out of my chest. I really put myself out there. Being real, being vulnerable to people and putting it in writing and then hitting the publish button! Yikes! I never thought I would do it. And here I am, still alive a week later and getting ready to publish my third blog! Fear is often completely irrational.
I've come a long way, I'm still a work in progress (and will be until the day I die), but I will not be a slave to fear. I was in the past and will not continue to live in that place. We get one shot at this thing called life and I'm going to do my best to become FEARLESS and to live life being soulfully me. Not worrying about what others think, not trying to please everyone or be everyone's friend. And knowing that in the end, this whole journey that I'm currently on will easily reveal who my my tribe and my people really are and who I am.
3 Tips to Overcome Fear
1. Break the vicious cycle of negative thinking-- it's easy to be negative in the world we live in. How did I break my negative thought patterns?
•I broke my negative patterns by finding MY people. Friends who love me unconditionally are who I surround myself with. They encourage me, let me bounce ideas off of them, and are my biggest fans. And I am there biggest fan, as well.
•I turned off the television and the news and only get my news now from listening to very limited highlights. Too much negativity in the news!
•I'm very cautious about the information that I let into my head and heart. I don't go a day without personal development, whether I've read a book, a blog, a webinar or listened to a podcast. I don't go a day without it.
2. Let go of control and Embrace You--You cannot and will not be able to control everything around you. Namely, you cannot control other people's opinions. Let go of that. Just embrace you. People want to know you and you will find your people and your people won't be everyone. Be honest and authentic and it will all work out. Don't try to control the outcome either! It's impossible to predict, just follow your gut instincts, gather the information you need to become good at what you want to do, and do it! And give yourself TIME.
3. Just Do The Thing You Fear-- If something is actually causing you to be fearful, if it's invoking that much emotion from you, it's probably worth pursuing it. The simple action of doing will separate you from a large majority of people. Don't wait until you feel like you're an expert or until the timing is perfect, just get into some sort of action. You are an expert on YOU already, so embrace that and do the thing that YOU want to do! Fiinally, practice, practice, practice. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time. Most people won't ever act on their fears; I'm challenging you to be in the minority!
What fears do you have and what are you actively doing to try to overcome them? Let me know in the comments below!