We all use the words worry, anxiousness and nervousness, to describe how we feel when we are operating outside our comfort zones. Experiencing these emotions is part of being human. For me, these emotions are the watered-down versions of the great disabler, namely fear. Somehow, we will accept and tolerate worry and anxiousness, but we are reluctant to acknowledge the underlying fear. Without admitting what scares us, these habits of thinking can never be addressed.
Recently, I was invited to contribute to a new project. I found myself on the edge of my comfort zone, that place where the anxiousness of the unknown battles with the excitement of a new opportunity. Whenever I’m feeling worried I will write out (in an attempt to ‘right-out’) the myriad thoughts that are rattling around my head. I grab a page, on the top, I write ‘I’m afraid that….’ (because that’s what’s really going on) and I’ll fill the page with my fears, rational and frequently illogical.
Usually about halfway down the page my old pal ‘I’m afraid that I won’t be good enough’ shows up. We all run this. We will call it different names, imposter syndrome, gremlin voice, internal saboteur. Of course, we will never silence it, because it is part of our defence mechanism, the same voice that says ‘hurry up and cross the street that car is coming quicker than you think.’ We cannot simply banish our fear, but we can work to diminish the role fear plays in our lives.We cannot banish our fear, but we can diminish the role fear plays in our lives. Click To Tweet
If you’ve not read the book (by Susan Jeffers) you will know the phrase ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ Courage is the quality we have to connect with, to commit to action despite our knees trembling. What’s the brave thing to do, is a question I often ask myself (and clients) to get to the space on the far side of fear. Courage is inner resolve, the commitment to yourself not to be limited by fear. An effective way to connect with your levels of courage is to scan through your rolodex of memories where you demonstrated courage in the past. If you did it then, you can do it again.
When I was grappling to make a decision about whether to say yes or no to the new project, I tried to predict all future eventualities, usually negatively slanted, that is, everything that could possibly go wrong. Now, a healthy dose of contingency thinking is good, it makes sense to manage risk, to take preventative action, to do your homework, but too much of anything is never good.
What I discovered is that by trying to predict everything in advance and how I would deal with all the different variables at play, I’m actually damaging my self-confidence. Why? Because I’m diminishing my trust in myself that I will be able to handle whatever situations arise in the future. At the heart of self-belief (belief in self) and self-confidence (with faith in self) is the concept that ‘whatever happens, I’ll cope, I’ll deal with it as best I can.’
Most people who chant that they are fearless are actually foolhardy, naive or reckless. I’m talking about a different type of fearlessness. At a spiritual level, fear is irrelevant, because it doesn’t exist. (The level where the acronym fear ‘false evidence appearing real’ is most true) At a spiritual level, we are not our bodies, or minds, we are eternal and immortal. For me, as a spiritual seeker, my wisest self knows that I’m guided and protected, (that’s the faith (‘fidis’) in confidence.) This is a space of knowing, a space we can connect with any time we breathe more purposefully and connect with the source within (re-source ourselves!) When we are in touch with who we are at our core, we are untouchable, fearless and strong.When we are in touch with who we are at our core, we are untouchable, fearless & strong. Click To Tweet
We will all feel scared, it reminds us we are human. Feeling scared doesn’t have to be an inhibiter, it can be an indicator to take action so you can grow as a person and be proud of yourself. Ultimately, it’s a choice. You can choose to step back or step up? You can fight, take flight or face up? You can retreat into yourself or look within and resource yourself? You can hide or you can shine?
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