Fear isn’t always a bad thing. It can keep us safe and help us avoid pain. But fear can also be a bit sneaky. Do you ever feel that fear holds you back?
Does it creep up on you and stop you in your tracks?
Does fear stop you from doing something?
Does it keep you stuck in the same place?
Does it stop you from being successful – at work, in relationships, at communicating your needs?
We can use fear to our advantage, and when we learn how to deal with it we can keep moving forward. A couple of weeks ago, fear snuck up on me big time! I went downhill mountain biking and it pushed me further than I bargained for. I’m a good mountain biker but I wasn’t prepared for the difficult tracks that lay ahead. I came off the bike in the first 5 minutes, and questioned my ability to keep going. Luckily, I was with someone who encouraged me. But I was faced with a dilemma. I could convince myself that I can’t do it and quit. Or I could face the fear and get back on the bike.
But I learnt something about my fear. The longer I debated this decision, the harder making the decision became. My fear grew from not knowing what to expect. Did I have the skills needed to do this? How much would I hurt myself if I fell again? Was I physically strong enough?
What amazed me was how uncomfortable my mind got with the uncertainty of what was going to happen.
It took real determination to push through the fear, but I got back on the bike and I let go of the fear (a little!). What I soon realised was that my focus and attention had to be in the immediate moment. I really had put Mindfulness to the test! I couldn’t afford to let my mind wonder off – even for a split second. Everything outside that very moment had to melt away.
Fear had no place in that moment either. I had to trust in myself (and the bike) and let go.
There was nothing to do except be in the moment.
So, although I was physically exhausted (and a bit battered!), I gave my mind a complete rest. And I had fun. I got away from the ‘busy’. And I spent a weekend in every moment. Moment to moment.
Fear taught me a lesson: If we allow fear to stop us from doing something then we will always stay in exactly the same place. But once we push through the fear and experience the uncertainty, it’s so much easier the second time around.
Here are some tips to address sneaky fear:
– Try getting comfortable with being uncomfortable – Celebrate your fear – yes, really! Feeling fear means we are getting closer to where we want to be
– Being open to crossing that panic point, knowing that our confidence and ability increases
Push through the fear and the rewards will be greater than you can imagine! My reward was that I felt exhilarated, truly alive, and I felt free on the edge of mountain tops, blown away by the stunning scenery.
Remember: This fear is not based on anything real or anything that is actually going to happen right in this moment that will harm us.
Typically, fear will show up in 1 of 3 ways: Worry, anxiety, or outright panic; Excuse making, avoiding or procrastinating; Resistance to change and staying stuck.
How does fear show up the most for you?
So, your turn! What are you afraid of? Be brave and leave me a comment below!