Most fear is not your friend. Instead, fear becomes the thing that stops you in your tracks. Fear is the number one reason that people fail to achieve their goals and dreams. Just simple fear (which I get doesn’t seem or feel simple at all when you’re trapped in it). But know this: you’re not alone. Instead, you’re in excellent company with the rest of us who’ve struggled with fear. Know this too: if you want to create a life you love, you’re going to have to overcome fear.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.
FEAR AS IT IS
Yes, it’s true that life is uncertain & therefore scary. But know this, there are two kinds of fear. One should stop you every single time & sometimes it doesn’t. The other should never stop you & often it does. (*sigh, my hand is raised for both). That’s why you need to know & recognize the difference.
The first is REAL FEAR. That’s the kind that you feel when you’re in danger of bodily harm or death. (An example: some angry writer is aiming a Kimber .45 at your chest). When you feel it, you need to heed it (oh, the suffering you will save yourself if you’ll just heed it) and start running in the opposite direction or start fighting to save your life.
The second kind is HEAD FEAR. That’s any fear that doesn’t leave you emotionally/physically maimed or lead to your death. (An example: stepping out in faith & doing what you most want to do with your life). When you feel it, you need to walk right though it (oh, the suffering you will save yourself if you’ll just walk right thought it the first time) or you’ll spend your life waiting, putting off, backing down, & then wondering why you are where you are and why you can’t get to where you most want to be.
**Tip: When all is said and done, your life belongs to you & only you. I say kindly: you’re fully responsible for how it turns out.**
“Cheshire Puss,” she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. Come, it’s pleased so far, thought Alice, and she went on. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
FEAR AS A GUIDANCE SYSTEM
Consider this: it might be that the head fear that scares you the most is actually the one that you’re supposed to be aiming right toward. (What? You’re kidding me, right?) Nope. Not kidding. Just consider the possibility that the head fear that keeps you up at night, that ties your stomach in knots, that makes you tremble at the thought of going right into the heart of it, is actually your True North. And if you’d just start going in that direction, you would: 1. choose to believe that you & your story & what you want all matters, 2. take steps to finally have/do/be/say what you’ve always wanted, and 3. realize that you’ve had it in you all along to achieve what scares you most.
**Tip: Take the pressure off. Look at your life as a game or an experiment. Think: I’m trying different things to see what works. Turn your fear into curiosity. That way, you can have fun instead of fear.**
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
FEAR AS FUEL
So now you know which way you want to go: right toward your biggest head fear. (Seriously, you’re sure you’re not kidding, right?) Nope. Still not kidding. Now all you’ve got to do is use your fear to spur you on. The good news (even if it doesn’t really feel like good news) is the more head fear you have, the more you know you’re pointed in the right direction. So now it’s time to walk right through. How? One deep breath & one (tiny if need be) step at a time. That’s it. Breathe & step. Breathe & step. And keep on moving.
**Tip: if it won’t wound you or kill you, there’s no excuse not to give it a shot. Walking through your fear is the only way you’ll ever be free of it. I assure you that’s true. So be patient & self-compassionate. And once you make it through, do yourself a kindness: give yourself a prize (something you really, really want) for a job well done.**
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
FEAR AS FERTILIZER
Overcoming fear is the best way to help yourself grow. (Seriously? Are you nuts?) Nope, not insane. Here’s the truth: you’ve got two choices in life: keep growing or start withering. If you want to grow, you’ve got to aim right at the heart of your head fear, keep moving all the way through it, and don’t quit. Because like George Addair once said: “everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Here’s what I’d add to that: you’re gonna have to grow as a person in order to get it.
**Tip: you’ll walk right through your fear if you’ll just keep moving. It truly doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.**
- Write a list of your fears.
- Circle the biggest one, the one that scares you the most.
- Ask yourself: if not now, then when? (Side note: you won’t be any less scared tomorrow or next week or next year.)
- Now take a deep breath in through your nose, hold three seconds, then let it out your mouth.
- Now take the first step to start walk right through that biggest fear today.
- Then keep on moving (next step, next step, & on & on) until you’re all the way through.
- Once you’re through, pick another fear on your list & repeat the whole process.
So what fear do you need to overcome? Will you commit to walking through it? Feel free to leave a comment below.
*italicized text from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Public Domain