Fear keeps us stuck.
So often when I am working with a client who is stuck, once we peel back the onion of feelings, we find the underlying sense of fear of the future.
Will I ever be happy again?
Will I ever find another love?
Will I be financially okay?
Will I end up a bag-lady/man?
Will my children be scarred for life?
On and on and on…
Fear is based in the future.
We are afraid of the unknown, the uncertainty, and yet uncertainty is a component of being alive. It is the very nature of life. No one can predict the future. We can plan and work towards our future but there is no guaranty.
Fear limits our engagement in life.
It shrinks our world. It holds us back and keeps us stuck. It is akin to being held captive only this time it is ourselves who are holding us captive. We need to free ourselves from our fears in order to live life.
I recently read an amazing article on fear called, "The Risky Path to Courage," in More magazine. In the article, the author talks about her fear of snakes as a lead-in to the real issues. I quote:
This fear (of snakes) may not be just about snakes. Maybe its related to my big Fear: a life of stagnation, of narrowed options, of arriving at the pearly gates with a rucksack of regret. More than a decade ago I looked at fear and renamed it potential. I quit my job to travel the globe in search of people who live by their inner compass and make change.
She goes on to reveal what coaching is all about, which is being in action. She says that she learned that she is her best self in motion, courting the unexpected and running not away from what she fears but towards it.
Ultimately, she knows that trusting the path she has chosen, to step outside of her fears, is an article of faith. Fear versus faith. Faith that life is moving in a particular direction for a bigger reason. Faith that everything will work out in your best interests. Faith that you will be all right.
As FDR said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
What would your life have to look like to give up the fear?
Visualize a life for yourself that would bring you contentment, fulfillment and joy. Be specific.
What would you be doing?
Where would you be living?
Who would surround you?
Once you have visualized this life you can start taking actionable steps towards that visualization. Get in action. Better yet, start acting like that future-self. Fake it until you make it.
|We Create the Fear!|
We are frightened of things that we make up. Really. It is our 'thinking' about fear that is so scary. It is our thoughts… change your thoughts, and change your reality.
Think of a fear and ask yourself if the fear (the thought of the fear!) is reasonable? So if you think that you will never make it on your own, what are the odds of that actually happening?
What are the consequences of the fear?
For instance, if I never make it on my own I'll end up homeless on the street talking to the air! Kinda silly, kinda unrealistic. Get more realistic and more reasonable.
Try thinking of five alternate scenarios that are more likely then you ending up homeless.
For instance, you might have to downsize from the house you are in now. Or, you will probably find a part-time job to make ends meet. Or you will reassess your present lifestyle and make some changes. Or you will be just fine.
With these more positive alternatives, your fear will lessen and you can start thinking about that fear and make a smart, rational choice instead of being an incoherent pile of emotion!
In Coaching we stress taking small steps to begin with to initiate change.
So start facing your little fears first that might be getting in your way on a daily basis. Does that little fear really make sense? Can you actually predict the outcome of that fear?
Then explore the consequences of what you are so afraid of.
Link up the fear with the wildest consequences, like what is the worst thing that could happen, and begin to see the absurdity of your thinking. Will you really end up a homeless nutcase? Probably not. Then look for more realistic and positive alternative consequences.
Start small and you will then see how your big ears, or your thinking of those fears, can be overcome. Then get into action to ensure your future, instead of wasting your precious time worrying about things that you and you alone create!