“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
When we are striving towards our dreams sometimes it is easier to fool ourselves into thinking that we won’t get the new contract, or get the promotion, or we won’t meet the love of our life, so why even think about it?
Playing small can feel deceptively safe and comfortable.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned to expect my regular visits from Gabby, my inner critic or my saboteur, who from time to time overstays her unwelcomed visit. Typically, she arrives when I’m thinking about doing something new or challenging like talking to a new business lead, speaking to a group of women, or promoting my coaching services and programs.
There are days when I can simply tell her where to go, or just plain ignore her. And then there are other days, when it seems she’s overly persistent about unpacking her bag and hanging out for a while.
Sometimes when she’s settled in, I can feel myself beginning to question why I am doing what I’m doing. I start asking myself, wouldn’t it just have been much easier to stay in corporate, earn a paycheck and play by someone else’s rules. Have you ever felt like that?
On those days and in those moments, when Gabby’s voice is loud and booming in my ear, and I sense myself slowing down and stopping, I remind myself of my own parents, who were both entrepreneurs.
My father opened his first dry cleaners in the 1950’s and eventually had a chain of dry cleaners, small restaurants and even multi-family units. And my mother was a “special occasion” seamstress. My mom, was the person you went to when you wanted a special dress, for your wedding, or prom or a big event.
My mom was the ultimate designer and her work was both unique and beautiful.
I imagine that for both of my parents, who were enormously gifted and creative, it wasn’t an easy ride. I’m certain that without commitment, perseverance and faith, they would have given up and not been as successful as they were.
Their demonstrated examples of endurance and patience and of what it meant to choose faith over fear, instill in me, a sense of fortitude and renews my spirit to forge ahead with clarity and purpose.
We all feel this way at points in our life, so if you’ve felt like this know you are not alone. There are some techniques I use to help me turn my fear into faith and overcome self doubt, I’m going to share those with you now!
Mindfulness is a practice which can help you become more aware of what is going on in your body, mind and spirit throughout the day, I recommend it to many of my clients who find it very powerful.
We spend so much of our time distracted, moving from activity to activity and flicking through our phones in between. The frantic nature of our world has left us disconnected from ourselves, it’s strange that in this world where we have never been more “connected” we can feel this way. But we can and do feel disconnected even if we don’t identify it as the problem.
When fear arises it’s important to recognize when it is happening. Without a certain amount of awareness we can easily become trapped in a cycle of negative thinking unable to take ourselves out of it. There is a short exercise I highly recommend you start practicing 5-10 minutes per day to start growing your awareness.
Find a quiet space free from distraction. Sit either in a chair or cross legged on the floor, if you prefer you can also lie down but it’s better if you can sit up right. Just take a minute or two to come into the space, close your eyes and just breathe. Notice how it feels to just breathe.
If you like you can continue unguided in this way, feeling your breath and just starting to notice how the breath feels in your body. Where it arises, how it moves in your body. Anything that comes up at all during the exercise is meant to be, whether a thought or many thoughts come up, a feeling, a sensation, just notice what is going on. Or, if you feel you need some guidance, then you can use these guided mindfulness practices.
2.When Fear Arises Notice Where And How It Arises
The first step to overcoming fear is to recognize it as fear and this is where your mindfulness practice becomes practically useful in everyday life. It is much easier to ignore emotions and thoughts that are uncomfortable, to attempt to hide them or cover them up. But you will notice that if you just start to get to know your fear a little bit, that it will start to lessen. It might sound strange but it really does work like this. Start by noticing where the fear is in your body and how it feels. Does it feel hot or cold? Does it sit in your stomach or in your chest or both? Can you notice how you are breathing is in this moment, has the fear quickened or slowed your breath? There is no judgement here at all, this is simply starting to get to know your fear a little bit, becoming aware of how it feels in your body
3.When Fear Arises Address It Directly
The final stage is to directly address it as you would an old acquaintance. You can even get a bit comical with yourself at this point. If you like you can name your fear, I spoke about Gabby earlier in the post. When I have moments of fear and self doubt I treat it as something to be addressed “Oh, so it’s you again, ok!”.
Give your fear a name and see what happens when you address it directly!
Choosing faith over fear means that you can crush self doubt and move ahead. Having faith gives you the hope that inspires you to take that next step and make that next move. Faith is the source that gives us energy to endure the long winter, and delight in the first blossoms of spring. It is the belief that tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities and a fresh new start. Choosing faith over fear lets you exhale and take in a new breath, and sometimes, all we ever need, is just a chance to start all over again.
I would love to know in the comments below, do you have any techniques you use to turn your fear around?