When you’re out there living your life, and slowly bringing more of who you are into your job and life, you will find you will run into forks in the road where you feel scared or stuck. I was very surprised by this. I thought once I started aligning my inside and outside and doing things I really wanted to do, that life would be easier. I wouldn’t struggle. I was mistaken <g>. And I had to let go of the idea that feeling fear, or hitting rough part of the road, meant I’d made the wrong choice. That I wasn’t aligned. Because, truly, it doesn’t. But for a long time, about 40 years, I thought it did.
Probably the biggest benefit to stepping towards living the life you’re really wanting to live is the feeling of purpose that shows up when you do this. I always thought finding my purpose would be like a jolt of clarity through my body. And, it’s interesting, because I definitely feel on purpose in my life, but what brought me to this was a lot of getting to know myself. A willingness to be a “learner” again, and changing my relationship with the feeling of fear.
I laugh as I type this, but, fear is good. And fear is also fuel. And the key is recognizing the difference between real fear, “don’t skateboard on the highway or you’ll die” type, and pretend fear, “If this doesn’t work out I’ll lose everything, I’ll never recover.” Real fear serves us in getting our attention and keeping us safe. Pretend fear distracts us from our goals and from our life. It’s all happening in our head, and it’s all, also, unlikely to happen.
Repurposing the feeling of fear.
Unconsciously, anytime we feel fear, we’re going to believe we’re facing a significant threat to our safety whether that’s physical or emotional. When I used to feel normal fear spike in me, I would mentally drop everything and focus on making something better. What will make the fear go away?
When we do this, we narrow our focus to this one input. That’s like being in a conference room with 10 experts, but you’re only taking in the input from one of them because they’re the loudest. And, then, believing everything that loud expert is saying. Narrowing our focus to the feeling of fear, versus what we’re trying to accomplish, can knock us off course.
So try this instead.
Change your whole mental story about what fear means.
1. What are you making fear mean when you feel it?
2. What do you imagine a mentor or someone you admire would tell you about fear?
3. What relationship do you want to have with fear?
4. Test drive number 3 and start seeing what happens.
It’s ok to feel fear. It’s normal to feel fear. Don’t’ wait for it to go away before you act. Bring it with you. Do this in small ways first. And stop making fear your enemy. It’s just one of many inputs.