Overcoming fear is a process of understanding where that fear comes from. Some fears are irrational, and yet feel really real. Have you ever feared the future but had no evidence that there is anything to be worried about?
It’s interesting isn’t it how we always gravitate towards the worst-case scenario without a thought of what might go right. And when we do so, we often scare ourselves into numbness. Sure there are those of us who blindly go through life ignoring life’s challenges as if there were no risk or potential pitfalls.
In my experience, even the most Pollyanna of us have an innate, seldom exposed fear of something. Fears can sit under a bright, chirpy smile as if challenging others to leave the truth alone, lest it is wiped from their lips!
Overcoming fear is a switch from our “Normal.”
Fear grounds us so solidly into “normal” its hard to even see what’s sometimes happening. Lately, the COVID debacle, drove so many into their homes, fearful of what the future would hold, they could scarcely deal with it. Fear has become the main driver not only for individuals but across whole communities, large and small. It is also irrational. We know its irrational, but it is still very very real.
Our inbuilt fear is an excellent mechanism for keeping us safe in times of danger. Still, somehow over the generations, we have learned to use it as our fallback, causing all kinds of issues.
Anxiety, stress and associated illnesses are at an all-time high, compromising immune systems everywhere at a time when we need them most.
Fear is a Natural Response
Social Media and the news feeds on our fears. Social media channels such as Facebook have been a flurry of “opinions”, half-truths, manipulation and a focus on bad news. Good news is no longer even attempted as the news channels, and YouTubers fight hard to make money by scaring the people half to death with varying opinions. And yet we take it all on like its real.
The result is a whole lot of people getting angry, fearful, and calling on various politicians to fix it, or create policies, behave a certain way, or create opportunities. Fear manifests as anger as complete strangers indignantly argue their corners, each convinced their “opinion” is the right one. And all the while, nothing is resolved because fear is a fight, flight or freeze, but not creative.
Many people are paralysed by fear, unable to go forward, stuck in the past and hyper focussed on the very things they don’t want in life. And the ‘bad news’ keeps coming like a steady stream of black molasses for our brain. We are hard-wired to look for trouble, but we have the capacity, means and ability to focus on what we want, instead of what we don’t want.
Fear Drives Behaviour
When we are afraid, some of us will come out swinging and blame every other person we can find for the situation. In contrast, others will stop and wait for someone to fix it while others go into that beautiful soothing space of denial. (Hello Pollyanna).
There is a space between those choices that might just help all of us, individually and collectively to develop power within us. Its called decisive action.
Overcoming fear is a process of understanding the current landscape and accepting what is real while making a decision to focus on what you want rather than what is currently in front of you.
When we choose a different focus, it impacts our behaviours, and our actions inform our outcomes. It’s just the way life is.
Overcoming fear is about informed choices.
Decisive action is about understanding you have more than one choice about how you choose to feel, regardless of evidence. Sure, things can be challenging and scary right now.
Imagine if you could be in control of your response. Would you write a list of things that would pull you forward? Something that would grow you internally, help you to create the future you want, and focus you on what you can do, instead of being lost in what you can’t do.
If you weren’t afraid, what would you be instead?
To start the process of overcoming fear, it helps to consider a few things beyond the anxiety you are experiencing. I thought about this and came up with some questions for what I can focus on. Really questioning your fear is a good way to take anergy from it.
See if you can make a list and find out what you can do.
1. What can I learn, and where can I learn it?
A curious mind goes beyond formal education. As a part-time educator, I love to learn and then teach what I know. Despite failing secondary school many moons ago, I am a great lover of learning.
Learning the perspectives and insights of others is life changing. It makes you wonder about the truth of your own thoughts.
These days you have so many sources of online, auditory, and written. See if you can read about thinking on the topic you are fearful of and see how it helps you gain perspective.
- What are my strengths, and how can I use them?
We all have innate strengths that help us excel in certain areas. Understanding your strengths and that of others is a good way to focus on Your strengths are always in demand and using them, whether paid or not pays off in the long run. The world is full on organisations crying out for volunteers.
Volunteering will enable you to utilise your skills, build new skills. When the world rights itself (and it will) you will be able to use that vast experience in your Resume and for positive stories in job interviews. As an ex recruiter, I can tell you we love those stories.
How would you use your strengths in a career or in a volunteer capacity if you had nothing stopping you?
- If no one told me I can’t do something, what would I do?
I have had many conversations with people over my lifetime with people who have a negative for every positive I have suggested. I have come to realise if your motor is stuck on negative, its best for me to listen silently and let you voice your fears. In fact, I work with clients all the time, encouraging them to give voice to the negative, but then what? I mentored a class of students once, all of them 14 years of age. I began with precisely that question. Guess what, they built a whole business from the ground up because they gave themselves permission to go out and create! What could you do?
- Regardless of reality, what life would I desire?
Imagine if you could release all attachment to outcome and create the life you desire. We spend so much time fearful of giving things a go, just because we love the idea that we often don’t try. At times, I have been guilty of listening to the voices of others. They were often faceless others telling me what I could do, and what I couldn’t do. Once I came to realise it was my inner voice, I started to overcome the barriers.
What would you be prepared to let go of on your journey to overcoming fear? What would you be ready to learn?
- What is stopping me from trying something new?
When considering this question, think about the first thing that popped up in your head? Did you immediately blame someone else, or some situation outside of yourself? Why did you do that?
What if you could choose to be in the driver’s seat? Then what is stopping you?
When I asked these questions, and I have many times, something seems to change. I walk a little taller, I think a little broader, and I take a different action because I feel so empowered!
Try asking these 5 questions and see what you learn about yourself? I would love to hear your feedback, so head over to my Facebook group and join the conversation.