Hello Mojomaker! Today, I want to connect with you on something I’m currently wrangling with in my life. We all know it intimately. Fear. What do we do about it once and for all? Here are my thoughts about it and would love to hear your comments.
Fear. What Is It?
We normally think of fear as something that holds us back, or to be avoided. What if we could instead, transmute it into a powerful tool?
What if we could gain a foothold and become its master? We’d become masters at life, able to push through fears of rejection, failure, ridicule, and more.
Fear looms as a huge barrier, keeping us from doing awesome things in life. Or if we push up against that barrier, we see or experience the fear as an awful experience, and cringe because of it. But here’s a little known secret hiding in plain sight, fear is a useful thing.
Long ago, fear was a signal to run from the elements or animals such as lions etc, and that was pretty useful. These days, we don’t usually have much physical danger, but the same fear-signals still happen, even when we’re trying to pursue our dreams or when exhibiting vulnerability to other people. These days, the fears aren’t physical (mainly) — they center around not being good enough. Here are the top fears most people have:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of being inadequate
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of not being prepared
- Fear of being a fraud
- Fear of ridicule
Did you notice they’re the same fear? The fear of not being good enough. If we’re not good enough (inadequate), we might fail, we might get rejected, we might be ridiculed, we might be found out as a fraud. Our deepest and most common fear is that we’re not good enough. That’s not physical danger, it’s all internal. It’s a mindset. Your mindset.
So fear, then, is no longer a signal that we should run. Instead, fear is a useful signal that we should go toward something. But how?
Freedom & the Barrier of Fear
Whenever we feel fear, it means we’re up against some type of obstacle. On the other side of the obstacle lies freedom. This is a freedom we desire, and it’s a healthy thing to want. But we push up against the fear, and it holds us back because our normal response is to avoid the fear or obstacle.
By avoiding it, we remain comfortable, secure, steady, where things are easy, or at least, so we believe. However, we’re trapped by that barrier of fear as long as we keep avoiding it. What would happen if we pushed through to the other side of the barrier? We’d have freedom: the freedom to connect with others in a vulnerable way, to put ourselves out there and pursue the life of meaning we really want by rising to our next level, to publish books and websites and podcasts and poems, to explore the world or create a non-profit organization, to make friends and love with an open heart.
Freedom is on the other side of the barrier of fear. So when we feel fear, it’s actually a signal that we should go toward the fear.
I won’t lie to you, it’s hard, freakin’ hard. Because it’s difficult it’s why many opt to stay on the side of safety. But avoiding it doesn’t work. It just causes more difficulty. It causes dreams and desires to go unfulfilled. It causes the colour in our life to become a bit more drab everyday we stay behind the barrier. Instead, go inward, and see the turmoil that’s in there that the fear is signaling. Go into your cave of darkness and process whatever you find there. That means looking at how or why you think you’re not good enough, trying to learn to love yourself, learning to trust yourself to be OK even if you get rejected or fail. And guess what? You can also courageously take action, in the presence of your fear.
Acting in the Presence of Fear
Just because fear is present, doesn’t mean you have to run or freeze or fight. In fact, you can practice acting mindfully even with fear in your body. Notice when fear arises and your habitual reaction. Stay with the fear, and notice how it feels as a physical sensation. Notice that it’s not so bad, that you can be OK in the middle of that sensation. It’s simply hormones occurring as the energy of frenzy or excitement.
Being in the moment, allows you to take action: write a book, have conversation, attend social events, get on stage. You can immerse yourself fully in the moment while, feeling the fear as you move toward your goal, whatever that may be. Fear is you worrying about the future, which doesn’t exist. Becoming aware of that allows you to turn back to the present moment to what’s here in front of you. You can be grateful for what’s in front of you. You can smile at it, and take action. For me it’s about the awareness that I’m still alive and breathing. Gratitude soars high and fear and inaction recedes a little further each time. This takes practice and time. And time and practice. Practice it every day. Go toward whatever scares you, repeatedly. Lean into the fear. Use your Mojo and be courageous, pushing through your barrier of fear and into the freedom of openness and joy.
Make your elegant mojomove, today.