As men and women who have yet to be realized dreams and aspirations we need to be very aware of what our relationship is with fear.
But first, what exactly is fear and where does it come from?
One of the best acronyms I have come across for fear is, “False Expectations Appearing Real!” Or, “Face Everything And Rise!”
Fear has been a major influence throughout most of my life. I was pretty much a high-introvert for most of my childhood and adolescent years. I was so afraid of being rejected by my peers at school that I found it easier to blend into the background and do my best to stay invisible.
Obviously, this didn’t always work so I frequently found myself at the mercy of bullies both at school and outside of school just to remind me of how much fear ruled my life. I didn’t know it then but this fear was a gift, and this gift sent me on a life-transforming journey of self-discovery.
In order for me to conquer my fear I had to first become aware of how I was creating it and why it was so crippling for me. As I dove into learning about fear, where it comes from, how it works and what created the triggers I started to ask different questions.
The question I had been asking was… why am I so afraid? When the real question I needed to ask was… how can I turn fear into power?
It didn’t take long though before I understood that fear is both real and imagined. It is real in a sense that when we are afraid our body goes into fight, flight or freeze mode. This happens whether the fear is imminent danger or just in our head.
The chemical response in the body is the same regardless of whether our fear is real or imagined. Your adrenaline starts pumping, heart starts beating faster and breathing gets shorter and faster. Interestingly, this is also the same physiological response that happens to our body when we are under excess stress.
Most people spend their lives imagining that the worst is going to happen. They live in fear of the future and worry about things that may or may not ever happen. At the same time, they tend to hold back from saying and doing what they really want out of fear of being judged and not approved.
When I started to realize that this was how I had been living – the penny dropped. All of a sudden the words that appeared in my head and which I felt all through my body as strength were… that’s enough!
I’d had enough of tip toeing through life trying not to be seen or judged. I’d had enough of allowing fear to control my destiny. I’d also certainly had enough of being afraid to live a much fuller life.
That’s when I decided to walk towards my fears instead and confront them consciously from the front. To help with this, I studied martial arts to strengthen my body. I read personal development books and went to workshops to strengthen my mind, and I studied meditation to strengthen my connection to spirit.
It didn’t take long before fear was no longer an issue for me. In fact, I had conquered a myriad of fears such as:
- Fear of flying
- Fear of heights
- Fear of being alone
- Fear of the dark
- Fear of being bullied
- Fear of failure
- and so many more
I knew that either I mastered fear or it would keep mastering me. I had learned where it came from and what triggered it withing me and how 99% of all my fears were imagined. I then took this information and retrained my brain to associate fear with power.
It wasn’t that I didn’t feel fear anymore, it’s that I knew how to recognize what could potentially cause me harm or damage versus what was just imagined. If it was a real threat then I had a choice to so something about it. If it was imagined, then I just need to take a few slow, deep breaths, re-center myself and walk towards it.
Now that I am able to look at fear from the inside-out, rather than the outside-in it has been a much easier transition to work with it to have a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
I now look at fear as an opportunity to grow and let go of limiting beliefs and habit that are holding me back from stepping up in all areas of my life.
The real gift of fear is the preparation you need to overcome what’s in front of you and the courage that you develop as you step towards it.
Fear is actually quite practical but you can’t change the way you approach it if you aren’t aware of what you’re afraid of.
If in doubt, ask yourself this…where am I letting fear hold me back in both business or life and what can I do today to face it? Just by asking yourself different questions about fear instantly changes the relationship you have with it from one of powerlessness to empowering.
Leave me a comment below. Let me know what fears you have identified and what you did to turn fear into power.