Fear and Bravery
One way to look at fear is that it is just a fact of life.
And I remember when I had so much anxiety as a child. And I used to think to myself, I'd be like, "If could just get rid of this. I just wish somebody could remove anxiety from me."
But remember that anxiety and fear were given to us for a specific reason: the sabertoothed tiger.
Because a long time ago, we needed to rely on our fear instincts.
I want to have some element of that ability to feel fear because, to be quite honest, I live near a mountain and these animals are around, and I need to be cautious; I need to turn on the lights, I need to make noise, I need not to be thinking about something else when I go outside at night and to be quite honest during the day as well. But really, at night, when I can't see anything.
So, I think again to understand that fear is something that was given to us to protect us and for us to know that we don't want to get rid of it entirely, but we also don't want it to rule our lives.
So Susan Jeffers, who wrote the fabulous book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, says, "the fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow."
Again, I talk a lot about comfort zones and that a comfort zone isn't something that is bad. It's just trying to keep us "safe."
And when I use the word safe, I'm putting it in quotation marks. I'm putting it in quotation marks because the fact of the matter is that life begins at the end of our comfort zone, but here's the biggie: so does success.
And in time management, and all my coaching, my private coaching, my group coaching, I talk a lot about doing that one to three things every day that makes you want to vomit in your mouth just a little bit.
Makes you just a little bit uncomfortable, just a little bit. Why?
Because then you expand your comfort zone and you build the thing that will help you with fear more than anything else: self-esteem.
One of the things that I also believe is that you can use fear to succeed.
Now, this might be impossible; hear me out.
If you start to look at or reframe the idea that fear is a bridge to success. It becomes easy to succeed. Just do everything you are afraid of, and then you will succeed.
And the reason why I think that we know what our next step is, we just don't want to do it. We just don't want to do it.
But the question I always pose to my clients is the following: how bad do you want it?
How bad do you want it? Do you want to give in to fear, or do you want to go after your dream? Do you want to give in to that fear in that moment?
Or do you want to choose the thing that will get you to the next level, which will get you to the success that you want?
And to do those things you are afraid of, and I call it rule number one and rule number two. Rule number one is to do everything you are afraid of.
Rule number two is when in doubt; go back to rule number one.
In other words, you can't get out of it if you want to grow or succeed.
So remember, the fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow. The only way to get rid of fear is to go out and do it, i.e., rule number one: do everything you are afraid of.
Rule number two: when in doubt, go back to rule number one.
Also, remember in that process of doing everything that you are afraid of or doing that thing that makes you want to vomit in your mouth just a little bit, remember this: you can babystep it.
It doesn't have to be all-out frightening. It just needs to be that next little step until you can feel that you can take that next bigger step.
And this can be done.
Now, not only will I experience fear whenever I am in unfamiliar territory, but guess what? So does everybody else.
And remember that doing things that you are afraid of makes you feel better about yourself and builds that phenomenal thing that only you can give yourself, which is self-esteem.
Of course, the problem is that you have to earn self-esteem from the hardest person on the planet to earn it from, which again is yourself.
"Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from that feeling of helplessness."
So, that brings me to catabolic and anabolic energy, catabolic energy is energy that eats you, that kind of that works against you, that destroys you.
Anabolic energy is energy that builds, strengthens, and expands. And again, that is the law, one of the laws of the Universe, expansion. The Universe wants you to succeed. The Universe wants you to expand.
Why? Because as you expand, it expands. You are a part of it. It is a part of you.
The lowest form of energy is catabolic energy and is the energy a victim. It's the "I can't. I can't. I won't. I'm not able. I'm helpless, and I'm hopeless."
And your chance for success when you are living in that energy is so low.
Then we have the energy of anger conflict.
Now, that is stronger than victim. And I am a huge believer because I've used it several times in my life that the energy of anger, yes, is a catabolic energy. Still, it can also be the thing that lights the match, that brings you into that first energy of anabolic energy.
Responsibility. It's like you get so sick of being sick and tired, you're like, fuck it, I'm going to change. And when you change, what happens then is you start to take responsibility.
With taking responsibility comes an understanding and a true learning that you can handle things.
You will never be given more than you can handle, but you will be given more than you can control.
And this a good exercise is, when you start to feel anxious or icky about something is, taking that step back and observing and asking yourself, "Am I handling this, or am I trying to control it?"
And if anxiety is involved, chances are it's control.
And again, when you are in that moment of anxiety, ask yourself, "What am I not taking responsibility for that could be causing me to feel this anxiety?"
Because you might be living under that fabulous line of the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness. Because you're not helpless.
You're not hopeless. It requires just a mustard seed of bravery. And the understanding of these principles around fear and around bravery to change.
You can change.
I only know it because I did. And I always say, "I never teach or coach anything that I haven't guinea-pigged on myself."
I want to remind you of two tools here that you can take away, and then I'm going to read you one of my favorite quotes about being brave.
I want to remind you that when you're feeling fear, if you can, take yourself out of the house or wherever you are. Go get yourself a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or an iced tea or whatever, just a nice beverage with pen and paper, and ask yourself, "Am I controlling? Or am I handling? How could I handle this situation?"
And if you need to, you can even make two columns: what am I trying to handle and what am I trying to control?
Because what you are doing when you do that is putting distance between you and the thing you are frightened of.
Is there something that you need to babystep in order to handle?
Again, take that step back, observing and saying to yourself, "What am I not taking responsibility here?"
You may find it might be something on the handle list, but you have been finding yourself just staying in that underlying fear from feeling helpless, in which case you are just making yourself miserable.
You're just making yourself miserable. And you are choosing to stay in that misery, and you don't need to do that.
Asking yourself, "Am I in victim? Am I in anger, or am I in the energy of responsibility?"
You are again stopping and taking that step back and observing where you are at with fear and where you are at with bravery.
My favorite quote of all time in my entire life and the most influential quote of my life is by Helen Keller. It says,
"To keep our faces toward change, and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate, is strength undefeatable."
The fear will not win, but we need to do the legwork.
We need to go outside of that comfort zone.
The following quote, which I love, is from Jen Sincero from The Badass Books when she says, "You're going to have to push through your fears, fail over and over again, and make a habit of doing things you're not so comfy doing.
You're going to have to let go of old limiting beliefs and cling to the decision to create the acting career you desire like your life depends on it. Because guess what? Your life does depend on it."