What is the most amazing thing we can experience in life? Something exciting, right? Something that makes adrenaline course through our veins. A thing that gets our heart rate up and our blood pumping a little faster. We probably don’t have any idea how this thing will end and our brains are yelling at us to stop because even though we KNOW we won’t die, our brain is convinced we will. It’s screaming at us “STOP THIS MADNESS! GET OFF THIS STAGE!” Or whatever you are doing that makes you uncomfortable and shake with fear.
Don’t strap yourself into that bungee cord. Don’t go on that roller-coaster. Don’t try the zipline in Vegas. I mean let’s be real, your brain already tried to convince you not to go to Vegas…. Aren’t you glad you didn’t listen to yourself on that one?
If we get such a rush, we didn’t die, and we were SO thrilled and full of energy when we were done, why don’t we do more scary things? Why do we think public speaking is going to kill us? Or quitting our job to follow our passion?
…showing the world who we are and that – of all the scary things in life – is by far the hardest to overcome.
Because we aren’t adrenaline junkies. Because some the scariest things in our lives are less about heights or speed and more about showing the world who we are and that – of all the scary things in the life – is by far the hardest to overcome. It’s also the easiest to talk ourselves out of.
If all of you were sitting in a room with me, I would ask you to raise your hands if you had stayed in a job you hated. Or a relationship in which you weren’t happy. Or lived in a place you didn’t love. And I would guess that most of you are staying in the same spot because doing something about the ‘IT’ is far more stress-inducing than it really is.
So how do we overcome fear?
Understand it. It’s essentially the same for all of us. Fear has four components and when we understand those components, our brain can process the thoughts easier.
Fear component number 1:
We’ve all played the what if game. We look at the potential outcomes of X change. The game is usually played in the negative though; every possible worst-case scenario. Then we stop those scenarios at the worst possible outcome.
Play out the worst-case all the way through from initial loss to rock bottom and back to the top. You’ve had a lifetime of survival so you know you will survive, focus on that. Also, play out the positive side of the what if game as well, you deserve to see both sides.
Fear component number 2:
Conspiracy theory anyone? This is where we are convinced that we’ll be criticized, intentionally humiliated, ideas stolen or undermined by ‘haters’.
Maybe…. And so what.
But really, not likely so stop this line of thinking and know that humans have the ability to support and encourage just as much as they can do all these things. And when push comes to shove, we actually hope to help others. So no one is out to get you, or steal your ideas or hope you fail. If you think they are, let’s talk.
Fear component number 3:
This could be the most uncomfortable of components because it requires the most change. It’s also potentially the most painful depending on what we are losing. Truthfuly though, as difficult as loss is, it also provides us with the most opportunity for growth. We’re all familiar with the phrase “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” and when we’re in the middle of loss we hate hearing this. Or the other one that says “everything happens for a reason” and we think about the parents who lost their children. When we experience profound loss, we do learn and grow as we process. For some the loss is necessary in order to help millions of people. Losing our house and/or our spouse is also not something we understand as we move through that change and grief, but we are incapable of becoming the next version of ourselves without experiencing some kind of loss.
It is the end of the world as we know it and that’s the point
The part to remember about loss is that while we are experiencing it, it is the end of the world as we know it and that’s the point. The depths of loss allow our light to shine and allows light to reach us in places we didn’t know we needed it.
Fear component number 4:
How often do you feel like you don’t want to impose upon someone else with your problems? Or maybe you feel as though you can’t ask for help because, pick one: You made this mess. You were taught to be independent. You should be able to figure this out on your own. Or any other reason you tell yourself.
It’s proven – and part of Maslow’s Hierarchy – that when we have people we can depend on we thrive. Isolation feeds fear. Surrounding ourselves with people who can build us up and help us out and connect us and, and, and…. We have a greater chance of survival during the most difficult times of our journey. And it’s not the same person over and over. We’re all blessed with different skills and knowledge and when we reach out we find the people we need with the information we need in the moment we need them.
And here’s the super awesome thing…. Sometimes WE are that person for someone else! How amazing is that!?!
Now that you understand the parts of fear, filter your thoughts through each one and see what happens. For me, amazing journeys through loss and finding new people to reach out to and be their support. My positive spin on the what if game is strong, who knew so many great things were possible? And it turns out that no one was trying to steal my idea or undermine me. Or maybe they were, and the beauty lies in the fact that I don’t care.
Now go conquer your world, you beautiful soul!