“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Fear is one of the strongest emotions we feel. It often dictates the decisions we make, the options we choose or the next step we take.
The fear factor is often responsible for shutting down a new idea, tamping down a different perspective or halting an attempt at trying something new.
In some instances, like crossing a busy street or walking down a dark alley, fear instinctively shows up and warns us that danger may be imminent and that’s good because it causes us to look both ways before we cross the street or think twice before we walk down that dark alley. Much like “good trouble” that’s “good fear”
Fear doesn’t discriminate and it isn’t discerning. It shows up uninvited, especially when a new opportunity appears or we don’t see ourselves making fast progress on our goals. Wagging its finger in our face, fear reminds us of our past mistakes, our failures and the time we used poor judgement.
It shows up like an imposter, sometimes posing as a mental bodyguard, reinforcing the need to stay safe within the boundaries and within your zone of comfort.
What can fear teach you that you may not already know? How can you manage fear so that it’s not managing you?
What I’ve learned is that fear is deeply connected to our stories.
The stories we tell ourselves about what we’re good at and what we’re not so good at, where we belong and where we don’t and what we should and shouldn’t do.
Fear thrives in moments when we feel insecure, when we compare ourselves to others and when we hold on to expectations rather than follow our own path.
Fear has a default button that remains activated unless we intentionally turn it off.
When we challenge our fears by taking time to reflect and consider the positive outcomes, it helps us to see ourselves as resilient and capable.
Leveraging fear can teach us that we’re much stronger than we thought and that things may not be as bad or as hard as we imagined.
Trust trumps fear. When you trust yourself, you open your mind to thinking differently and allow yourself to become curious. You open the door to what’s possible. You recognize that mistakes can teach you to take an alternate route that may have been unknown before and that failure leads you closer to success and that you can keep trying until you get it right.
The next time you feel fear approaching, ask yourself “is this a chance for me to grow?” and if so, politely acknowledge the fear, look straight ahead and keep going.
Here’s to a fearless 2022!