Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
This quote from Marianne Williamson has been a powerful awareness in my life. I used to be most afraid of success, happiness and getting what I want. It’s a commitment to go after it. I used to think struggle meant reward. I think some of my struggle was using avoidance tactics.
Actually success to me is living a contented life, where I feel satisfaction from what I learn and grow with. This commitment requires getting uncomfortable, which in some circumstances means I need to embrace joy and celebrate my achievements. Sounds weird, right? Not being scared of our own potential. Being able to admit it to myself, but also put it out ‘there’ for others to see, read, explore, criticise, interrogate, judge, applaud, whatever it is that your work, or message, or communication, your dreams and desires receives… In the long run, looking at the bigger picture, success is now a far more powerful draw card. I want to create and know that I did my best, and have lived a life I am proud of.
So getting into the practice of becoming friendly with fear is an ongoing, if not daily, ritual. I wrote earlier, it’s about knowing it, understanding it and when you can harness it to your advantage and how if you can, your world will start to feel limitless.
Last week, I was reading an article about a conversation going on in the local Australian ad industry referencing how advertising uses fear to their advantage when selling things. Marketers often tap into our fears, such as not being cool enough, pretty enough, young enough, strong enough, wealthy enough, fear of embarrassment… whatever that ‘fear’ means for each of us. It’s true that they do use this, so when we’re faced with all these messages constantly how do you escape and really start to be able to see yourself as less vulnerable. I feel we all need to embrace that bit of ourselves that we are afraid of revealing and step into it, challenge the societal mould or your own perception of what ‘enough’ means, so that we’re being authentic to ourselves and declaring our own power. This is the art of living fear-less-ly. Looking fear in the eye, challenging your perception and overcoming it.
What do you need to support you? Lots.
You’ll also need a pocket full of practice and the persistence to not give up. Unfortunately, I don’t think the magic fear fairy will come and wave her wand over you as you sleep tonight, so here are some of my road-tested suggestions you could try…
Surround yourself with people who understand and support you. They are the encouragers and ones who believe in you. Not the blamers, victims and poor-me’s, you know them and maybe it’s even been you before too? Here’s an example, they’re often people that tell you that they’re bored and won’t take responsibility to fix it or expect you to do something to change the situation.
Have a healthy sense of risk but not recklessness. Don’t be a dickhead in your pursuit, but have integrity and care for yourself and others. Be respectful.
Recognise you always have a choice. It’s a simple as a yes or no, ‘do I take this opportunity, or am I going to regret it later on?’
Step in and quickly. I’ve read a theory along the lines of ‘it only takes 20 seconds of courage’ in a fearful situation, can you muster up the courage quickly so you can overcome the fear and step towards the situation you’re hiding from?
Focus on the first step. Take a small nudge rather than being overwhelmed by the final outcome. Your expectation on it altering your world dramatically will lessen. Often it’s the small things that make the most difference. Trust me on this.
Focus on the positive, strengthening elements. Not the worst-case scenario or limiting beliefs as these feed and nourish fear.
Sign yourself up for adventure, discoveries, challenge more often. You don’t have to be perfect the first time, just trying is helping you overcome the fear that alludes a challenge you face. Once you do it more often it’s like a well oiled machine, fear will start to be part of your modus operandi.
Don’t become complacent, lazy and indifferent towards change. Embrace it, and seek it when you can feel that it’s needed. You know the feeling when life needs a shake-up.
Make a ‘to stop doing’ list, rather than a to-list, switch your perspective. This was immensely useful for me in changing my effectiveness at work.
Be aware of when you may be sabotaging yourself. It’s a big call, but so many of us do it frequently.
Experiment a little…
People who reach their goals are prepared to work for them, it’s not luck.
What are you prepared to do? Can you take one thing off the list above and start to embrace the mindset of living a fear-less life.