Fear is one of the seven universal emotions; felt by everyone around the world. It is instinctual as it’s programmed into our nervous systems during our infancy. Fear is also paralyzing; it is one of the strongest emotions that prevent us from taking action and can prevent us from success. This is because it arises with the threat of harm; either physical, emotional, or psychological (real or imagined).
We have been trained for so long that the goal or outcome matters most and many of us fear not being able to reach the desired destination. We fear doing the wrong thing, making a commitment, being criticized/judged, or we believe our dreams and ideas are not worthy of a valiant effort. It is when we realize that the journey matters most, we can learn to enjoy the process and begin to dance with our fears: Life is more about finding happiness in the pursuit rather than the pursuit of happiness.
It’s once we understand this phenomenon that we can release ourselves from the pressures of “failure” of not reaching the outcome.
When we want something and we know there is perceived risk in not achieving the outcome, we often let fear percolate. Our minds are continually working to protect us, as they should, but at times, it prevents us from taking action due to perceived fear. Fear is valid regarding physical dangers or it can be used to propel us in the direction we want to go; ie. learning a new skill that the desired outcome requires to be above medicore.
Something I realized recently is that fear was stopping me from living a fulfilling life. Like wholly and completely myself, my brand, my truest authentic self (more on this later). It’s important to gauge where our fears are protecting us and where they might be holding us back.
First and foremost, we must define our fears to be able to learn from them. Here are a few powerful questions we can ask ourselves to help unravel our fears and better understand them:
What scares me about my dreams and aspirations?
Am I worried about what others might say?
Do I feel like I am not smart or well equipt enough?
Do I feel like I am currently too busy?
What exactly is it that scares me about this goal/dream?
And my personal favorite that my coach asked me the other day:
6. Is this thought protecting me or holding me back?
Sitting with these questions will help us unpack our fears, minimizing the “scare” around them. By breaking them down, we can begin to question if the fear is real or fake (imagined) and see its validity or invalidity to it. From here, we can begin our dance with fear!