We all experience fear differently. It rears its ugly head in many creative ways. When you are trying to bring your Soul-Centered Project into the world, that fear is often about visibility. You’re afraid of being seen because someone might think you’re a fraud. Or that you’re too old. Or too young and inexperienced. Or the fear is that you’ll be rejected. It’s easy to let that fear take over and hide away!
Yet, one thing is true about fear across the board: If you fail to address the fear when it comes up, your chances of achieving those juicy goals that you set out for yourself decrease drastically.
So how do I take on my fears?
I’m going to share with you three of my top ways to deal with fear, and avoid its paralyzing effects:
1) Identify How Your Fear Expresses Itself in Your Life
Fear takes you hostage because you often do not recognize that you are afraid! These “fear-based expressions” are much trickier than you first realize, yet so important to identify and pay attention to because they can cause pain and anxiety in your life.
There are three main ways in which our fears become expressed in our lives. I call them “fear-based expressions.” They are:
a) Body-based Expressions: These are fear-based symptoms that are expressed distinctly in your body. Perhaps you get a stomachache, your head begins to throb, or that old knee injury comes back for a painful visit.
b) Self-doubt and Criticism Expressions: Fear often expresses itself through self-doubt and self-criticism. You tell yourself things like, “You don’t look right!” or “You don’t present well” or “Who do you think you are? You aren’t good enough.”
c) Self-Sabotage Expressions: Self-sabotage symptoms are obstacles you put in your own way. We often soothe fears by sabotaging ourselves and our goals: by becoming indecisive, by “losing” documents, by forgetting to set the alarm, by deciding to do the laundry instead of writing the cover letter, on and on. Many people sabotage themselves by not making themselves and their Soul-Centered Project known in the world. Sound familiar?
Take Action: Think: what are your fear-based expressions? Take a few minutes and make a list of all the body based, self-doubt based, and self-sabotage based ways fear plays out in your life.
2) Identify What’s at Risk
It is my firm belief that fear always arises as a “red-alert” when something is at risk if you pursue a particular goal. For example, if you were to promote your business, perhaps what’s at risk is that people won’t sign up for your program. Or, that they won’t pay attention to what you have to say. Perhaps what’s at risk is the salary or connections you’ve made in your current position.
It’s important to ask the question, “What’s at risk for me if I were to really make myself visible?” because the risk IS what you are scared of.
Action Step: Journal on the following question: What’s at risk for you if you were to get visibility and be seen?
3) Name Your Fear and Embrace It
Now that you know what your REAL fear is (what’s at risk), it’s time to name it, feel it in your body, and embrace it. Yup, I’m serious. If fear is the big elephant in the room, and it’s not named or welcomed, then you can never really get to know it well enough to ask it to go away. Don’t be embarrassed about it; we ALL have fears, even the most successful or the most confident of us. It’s part of our human nature. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t get scared sometimes.
Action Step A: Name Your Fear. Simply name it in a word or two or three. “I am scared of failing,” or “I am scared of being ignored,” or “I am scared that I don’t look right.”
Action Step B: Feel the fear in your body. Take a few moments. Slow down. Close your eyes and notice where the fear lives in your body. Do you feel it in your shoulders, in your stomach? How does your fear affect you physically?
Action Step C: Embrace Your Fear. Perhaps you want to write it on a big piece of paper and hang it up on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror. Perhaps you want to carry it around in your purse for a few days. Perhaps you want to write it in an email that you send to yourself or your best friend. However you do it, make it a point of embracing the thing that you are scared of. This simple act will take some of the emotional charge out of the fear and allow you to see it for what it really is.
Congratulations! After these first three steps, you probably know much more now about the nature of your fear and how it affects your life. These are great strides toward releasing this particular fear from your life, and gaining the visibility that you and your Soul-Centered project need to thrive!