“Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much.” – Jim Carrey
All of us, if we are breathing, have fears. Common fears include: fear of making mistakes, fear of embarrassment, fear of getting hurt and fear of rejection. These fears are all very related to one another and indeed are the same fear showing up as different facets. For example, fear of public speaking is often linked to fear of embarrassment and fear of rejection. Another example: fear of developing a serious romance is linked to fear of rejection and a fear of getting hurt. This may be a stretch for many but all these fears are linked to one core need. As humans, we have a compelling desire to experience love. When we feel connected to others, loved by others, we feel safe, whole, and honored. When we feel disconnected from others we feel scared, separate, and misunderstood.
The operative word is when we “feel”. So let’s talk about that word for a moment. Where does feeling come from anyway? There is always a thought in our minds that is triggering the feeling. If we think of the moment when we lost our beloved pet or family member member we cared for deeply, we feel sadness. Now, when we think of a moment when we went on our most favorite ride at Disneyland or even the moment we walked through the gates at Disneyland, we feel exhilarated, delighted and/or excited. It’s the thought that carries with it a feeling.
Okay, so now what? Why does that matter? As a Life Mastery Consultant, I teach people that thoughts are extremely powerful. Our thoughts have massive control over lives. How we experience life is determined by the dominate thoughts we carry in our minds. The decisions we make are absolutely related to our thoughts. If we make a decision when we are filled with fear of rejection, we will play small because we are afraid someone will think badly of us. We will play it safe so that we don’t ruffle any feathers.
To really lean in and be our very best authentic and beautiful selves, we must learn to overcome our fears. To do that, we must be willing to pay close attention to our thoughts. We must learn to befriend our fears. There’s an expression, “keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer.” When it comes to your fears, you’ll want to get to know them intimately. You’ll want to recognize them the very second they pop up. This takes a little practice, of course, but with time it gets easier. So here’s a 4 step process that you can use again and again. This process works extremely well and will transform your life in beautiful ways as you practice this regularly.
Step One: Recognize your fear. Meaning, notice that it’s there. Acknowledge it rather than dismiss it. You’ll want to notice it objectively without judgement. Some of us like to get mad at ourselves for having that fear (at least I used to) but we must remind ourselves fear is natural. It’s a normal human condition. There’s no reason to get mad or frustrated. Simply and objectively notice, “Huh, I just noticed I have the fear of speaking in groups. I never noticed that before.” By the way, your internal voice may word this fear differently such as, “I don’t want to go to that meeting. I hate speaking in groups.” Regardless, notice your fear with a curious nature. You can even give thanks that you are now aware of the fear because now have a chance to re-pattern it.
Step Two: Press your internal pause button on any associated feelings you have. Part of you might be feeling not only afraid but also anxious or angry, for example. Those are simply reactions to your thoughts. However, you actually have control over how you choose to respond to your thoughts. Our minds tend to assume the worst. A good practice is to start assuming the best instead. We’re going to do that on the next step. On this step, simply remind yourself that you have a choice about how you choose to react to your initial thought.
Step Three: Choose the thought you would like to carry instead. If the thought you noticed was that you are afraid to speak in groups, you’re going to remind yourself that up until now that may have been true, but now speaking in groups is actually good. Also, start assuming the best outcome instead of the worst. For example, you could ask yourself, “What if this goes better than I expect and people really appreciate what I say?” I also like to remind myself that fear is speaking to me because I’m stepping outside my comfort zone. This takes the power out of fear by reminding me that it’s a normal reaction and not a big deal if I don’t make it so.
Step Four: Take action from this new state of mind. Now that you’ve adopted a new positive thought, take action to support this new thought. Only by taking action will we get over this fear. For example, actually practicing speaking to groups is the key to getting more comfortable in that setting. I will add that you also must give yourself permission to make mistakes in the beginning. It will not go perfectly the first time or two. In fact, it may never go perfectly but you will certainly get better at it and people will love your willingness to try and your authenticity. The truth is people are turned off by people who pretend to be perfect. We all would much rather see people being authentic and real.
Each of us is here for a reason. We have a unique skill or gift that we bring to this world. We will never touch as many people’s lives as we have the potential to if we play small. Today is your chance to lean into your beautiful authentic self by no longer letting fear get in your way of giving your gifts. Embrace who you truly are and know that the people who you were meant to serve will love you for you.
Blessings to you this day!
Life Mastery Consultant