TOOLS, RESOURCES, AND CONTENT
TO HELP YOU DO YOUR WORK
AND LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE
HERE’S PROOF THAT FEAR WON’T KILL YOU
Last week I walked you through the system I created to manage my time, so my calendar doesn’t manage me. I hope you invested some time evaluating your tasks and goals so you can schedule your days and weeks to move in the direction of your dreams. I believe it will change your life if you practice it! Today, we are tackling one of the most challenging roadblocks many women face in charting the path to their one beautiful life.
Fear is a prison
May I ask you a question? What has fear already taken from you? Seriously, think about it for a minute. What have you NOT done because of the fear you felt about stepping into the unknown? How have you kept yourself playing small to avoid trying something new? Have you decorated your comfort zone to the point you never want to leave?
Donald Miller says, “Fear tricks us into living a boring life.” And I believe this in the marrow of my bones. I know many women are held prisoner by fear to the point they stay within their comfort zone and never chase their dreams. But I firmly believe they long to be women brave enough to let fear exist without allowing it to impede their desire to live their best life.
For those held prisoner to fear, I hope this post offers some light along with some strategic tools. I believe women want to be free…free to move forward, to take chances, to trust their gut, and to try new things because they know they can survive anything life throws.
WHAT IS FEAR REALLY?
The medical definition of fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined. It’s the perception of danger that trips us up, and fear is just a feeling. Fear is the thief of joy and a roadblock to our dreams. It’s based on messages we have long thought to be true, but which are in fact lies. These messages were full of what we CAN’T do instead of being wide open to the possibilities. Trying new things can be scary. We are often unsure because we lack actual skills or information for pressing forward. But this is normal. It is part of learning something new or taking an unknown path. We can’t have experience in something until we do the thing. It is wrong to hold yourself back because you are afraid of the unknown.
When we sense fear we should know our joy is at risk. We should also understand fear is also a teacher that exists to protect us from perceived death. Fear is complicated – much like humans. It is at its primal level a protection system to keep up alive. Think back to the Stone Age. Fear kept us from being killed by a dinosaur when we ventured out to hunt our food. It did its job and it did it well. But as we have evolved so has our fear. And in that process, it has become less helpful and more limiting. Our fear brain kicks in and we start catastrophizing and building every worst-case scenario up to the point that it stops us dead in our tracks.
RAISE YOUR HAND
Raise your hand if you have a fear of spiders? Or snakes? Or like one of my daughters, jellyfish? Call out something you fear. Now take a breath. Guess what? You’ve just proved fear doesn’t kill you. So since we have proved this statement to be true, we can now change the story loop we tell ourselves to avoid something that creates the feeling of fear.
Now raise your hand if you’ve ever had some big feelings in your life. It could be anything you think of that stirs something inside you. Social injustice and political chatter are often triggers for big feels. I know they are for me! Has your heart ever been broken by someone leaving you be it by death or choice to the point you thought you wouldn’t survive? Imagine anything that stirs up your emotions.
Feelings are struggles for some people, and they avoid them at all costs. But let me remind you, if you are reading this and answering these questions, you have survived 100% of the feelings you’ve had. And you WILL survive many more to come in the future. Fear is a feeling, and feelings are simply teachers, so let’s all agree to stop avoiding them and learn from them so we can be our best selves.
A WAY FORWARD
As a trauma survivor, fear has long been a companion I’ve had to battle countless times. As I navigated through life, I have learned a way to combat fear in a way that anyone can apply to their journey. It makes you the captain of your story so you can step into the life you were designed to live. There are four simple steps to follow. Let’s talk through them.
Feelings are teachers yet for many of us, they have been weaponized in our story. What if we tried something new and took the emotional charge out of them. Instead of making them “good” or “bad” we simply asked what they were trying to tell us. Try this: the next time the feeling of fear bubbles up to the surface ask yourself where it comes from. For example, if you have fear around trying something new, start running your story backward to see where that began. Maybe there was a moment in elementary school that you were called to the front of the class to try a new math equation and you didn’t do it right so the class laughed at you. Though you don’t think about this moment consciously day in and day out, perhaps it created a story loop in your subconscious. Every time you think of trying something new your limbic system is triggered and fear roars in like a lion.
There are many faces of fear. Some can experience it in healthy, positive ways. For others, it masquerades as a myriad of other emotions. I heard a pastor say, “embrace doubt long enough, and it will lead to fear. Doubt is fear in a different outcome.” Whatever the root or label you put on it, look fear in the face and acknowledge the root cause of it. Once you get to the root you can employ tools to counteract it whenever it bubbles up.
DON'T FIGHT FEAR
In the book Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, she said something that profoundly changed me. She said, “it seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights me back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.” In this, I found the next tool for combating fear and that is: DON’T FIGHT WITH IT. They say it is only a war if two are engaged in it. If we don’t fight it, there is no war and the white flag of surrender can fly high. If we acknowledge it and trace its roots back to the source, then we can understand it. We can see it for what it is – without judgment or criticism or shame. Depending on the source of the fear, perhaps our best tool is empathy. I am a big believer in the healing power of love and truly believe if we took time to love ourselves with kindness and compassion, our fear might have a chance to exhale and settle itself down. We could see it for what and why it is. Then we could know what it needs and give it to ourselves with the same gentleness we would give a lost child or hurt puppy. I think a good way to take control back is to humanize it. Give it a face…maybe even a name. As Elizabeth Gilbert also says in her book, Big Magic, we can acknowledge it, let it come along for the ride but only in the back seat as a passenger. We can’t ever let it take the driver seat or we will never reach our goals so we can live an amazing story.
Running from fear is a colossal waste of time. By trying so hard and running so fast to get away from it, you usually run right into it. When you know what you’re running from but not where you’re running to, you don’t make a lot of progress. Gaining awareness about the cause of fear sets you free to let it exist without letting it control you. This allows you to operate from a position and mindset of victory not defeat. And the most amazing side effect of you living free is that others will rise because we showed up and did the hard and holy work.
TIME TO GATHER THE EVIDENCE
Author, Jon Acuff says, “Fear comes free. Faith takes work.” Fear can keep us paralyzed and never move towards our dreams. We can choose to stay trapped in fear instead of living a life full of purpose and passion. And we can keep living the lie that we lack what is needed to go after our dreams. Lovies, we HAVE to stop acting like we have all the time in the world and start DOING the work we were created to do – even if fear tags along.
What if you let yourself BE all that you are – the MORE you’ve kept buried under fear for far too long? What if we all stopped looking for excuses why it WON’t work and started looking for reasons why it will so we can create a life outside of average. And this is where my last tool comes into play. It’s what I call an evidence board.
Most of you are familiar with vision boards. Some people use these as a tool to help them create a physical reminder of what they want. Others use them as manifesting tools. But I want to introduce something different. Instead of making a board of hopes we make a board of proof. Proof we have survived. Proof we have done wild and scary things. Proof we faced down fear and lived to tell the tale. It can be as simple as a stack of Post-it notes and a blank wall or door. Or you can get a frame and add to it throughout the year. You could use a journal and make daily entries to keep a record of one win a day. How you do it should be unique to you because it is what you capture that matters. When you have wins write them down. Keep a record of your success. The big and the little. We are all super fast to keep a record of our mistakes. Let’s learn to be even faster at recording when we get it right. BECAUSE WE GET IT RIGHT MORE TIMES THAN WE THINK. In the process of making our evidence boards, let’s be sure to celebrate the small wins. This is one of my goals in 2022 and you may have seen a story on Instagram the other day where I shared that I had passed 200 listens of this podcast. Typically I would tell myself and the world how that wasn’t a big deal especially compared to what the big podcasts get. But the truth is my podcast is a baby fish in a big pond so I can’t expect it to be today what the others are seeing after being around for years. And if 200 people knocked on my door to hear me talk I wouldn’t think that was small. I’d probably pee my pants and pass out! That goes on my evidence board. Keep track of your wins and consider making some benchmarks you will celebrate when you reach them because if you move past the fear you will get there!
YOU CAN CONQUER FEAR
Every choice we make has a consequence. They add up to the life we live. We may not be able to control everything in life, but we CAN control who we become. We can defeat fear, overcome obstacles, and feel more confident and capable. We can do hard things and learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. We can live an amazing story and have the evidence to prove it!
If you have been around a minute, you know I took care of you by creating a free download for you to use to help you prove to yourself and the world that fear won’t kill you. Be sure to head to the link in the show notes. It will take you to the blog version of this episode. Scroll to the bottom and you will see where to grab it. You can always DM on social media if you have any questions. I am here to help in any way I can!
To recap this plan, let’s all be aware of fear when it comes up. Take a judgment-free look at the root of the emotion to better understand it. Create a path THROUGH the fear so you move to the next level. And last but certainly not least, keep an evidence board of your wins. Follow this simple plan to push past fear and combat it each time it appears so it never stops you from living into your best self ever again.
Until next time remember, I am in WITH you, always,
DEFEAT FEAR ONCE AND FOR ALL
Use the link below to download your free reminder guide for the steps to defeat your fear.
Step out of fear and start slaying your goals!