feel the fear
Fear can be the biggest thing holding us back from going after our goals and dreams, regardless of what’s going on in the world.
It’s a powerful and primitive emotion that alerts us to the presence of danger and it was critical in keeping our ancestors alive.
We experience it as an anxious feeling, which is caused by our anticipation of some imagined event or experience.
Unlike our ancestors, most things we now fear are not a matter of life or death. Instead we are fearing:
• fear of being judged
• fear of not being good enough
• fear of failure
What we are fearing in these instances is actually the fear of a feeling a feeling. The feelings of shame, hurt, rejection, defeat, etc. And, while they are unpleasant and feel bad, reality is they won’t kill us.
Something that is worth noting at this point is the feelings of shame, hurt, rejection, defeat, etc. only come from our thoughts. We experience shame or rejection or any other negative feeling because we tell ourselves things like “you stuffed up”, “what an idiot”, “what were you thinking”, “of course they rejected you because you are too fat, too stupid, too old, too ugly, too…”
It’s thoughts like these that cause us to feel negative emotions. And, it’s the anticipation of these thoughts, and the feelings they cause, that we fear and that prevent us from taking action.
If, instead, we thought thoughts like “oh well, that didn’t quite go as planned, what will I do differently next time”, or “not everyone is going to like me, they are just not a match for me”, the feelings experienced will be completely different.
Compare these two scenarios:
Scenario 1:
• Action – You call an old colleague and ask if they are interested in your new business. They say no.
• Thoughts – I knew I was bad at this, they would have been interested if I was any good, now I feel stupid. I might as well give up.
• Feelings – Rejection, deflated, hurt, shame, hopeless
• Result – Give up on business dream
Scenario 2:
• Action – You call an old colleague and ask if they are interested in your new business. They say no.
• Thoughts – The time wasn’t right for them, not a good match, how can I adjust my sales pitch. Onto the next person
• Feelings – Curious to learn more, committed, determined.
• Result – Make another business phone call
Same scenario but different thoughts, different feelings and therefore a different result.
But, while it’s just a feeling that we are fearing, and those feelings won’t kill us, the fear we feel from them feels real and terrifying because our primitive mind is operating as if it is a matter of life or death. And, as you can see from the above scenarios, that’s enough to stop us from taking the action we want to take, in order to achieve what we want to achieve.
Thoughts from our primitive brain will be loud and strong, so, we need to kick our modern, human, rational brain into action, so it takes over the primitive brain’s survival mechanism.
So, as you head into this week, here are a couple of questions to ponder to start doing that:
• What’s one thing fear has stopped you from doing?
• What is the worst thing that would happen if you did that thing?
• How different would your life be and how different would you feel about yourself if you did that thing?

Read more articles on managing your mindset here

Fear truths from Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the fear and do it anyway

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