In my last newsletter, I discussed the role that fear plays in our lives and introduced the idea that we can transform it into a positive force that works for us. Fear often creeps up when we are ready to pursue a compelling, juicy goal. Sometimes our fear is so big that it rears its head before we even have the opportunity to dream up what we really want for ourselves. However, if navigated correctly, our fears can give us great insight into ourselves and actually become tools to help us accomplish our greatest dreams.
Last time, I guided you through the first three steps of the Soulful Coaching for Busy Women Fear Eliminating process:
1) Identify How Your Fear Expresses Itself in Your Life
2) Identify What’s at Risk
3) Name Your Fear and Embrace It.
These first 3 steps are designed to help you connect inwards to understand your fears. In the article that follows, I will take you through the remaining steps of the process, designed to help you transform your fear into a powerful tool for success.
4) Track Your Fear
Fears often have certain repeatable behaviors that can provide us with a wealth of information to help us let go of their painful and obstructive qualities.
The first element of fear to track is what triggers it: Perhaps the fear comes up around certain people – our employer, our mother, our best friend from high school. Or perhaps, the fear emerges in certain situations – right before we complete a project, when we haven’t gotten enough sleep, when we check the balance in our bank account or when we don’t feel great in the clothing we are wearing.
The second element to track is how your fear acts once it’s triggered. From the last SCBW newsletter, you now know how fear expresses itself in your life. Use that powerful information and go even further with it. After noting when a fear is triggered, note how you express that fear as well as how long the fear lasts, and what happens to it.
Action Step: Become a detective for a day or two and track your fears. Create a chart that includes the following
- What the Fear Is (“I’ll never make enough money” or “If I go on that trip, my mother will get sick.”)
- Particular People that Triggered the Fear (this can be someone you came in contact with at the time or someone you thought about)
- Particular Situations that Triggered the Fear
- How you Express the Fear
- How long the Fear Lasts
- Any other Notes about it
5) Determine How Your Fear Serves You
Every single one of our fears, no matter how big or small, serves us in some way. It protects us. Think back to the first human beings on this planet. Fear served a very important purpose for them. It alerted the first people when danger was imminent – perhaps from a large, lunch-seeking animal – and helped them flee.
If you can determine how your fear serves you, what need it fulfills, then you will understand it more and be able to find other, more productive ways, to serve that need.
Action Step: Put aside about 15 minutes to journal. Take a few moments first to visualize what your fear looks like. Give it a shape or a body or a color. Perhaps it has a smell or a texture or a voice. When your fear has visually come into focus for you, ask it the following question: “Fear, how do you serve me?” and write a response to yourself from the fear itself. Next ask the fear, “What lesson are you here to teach me?” and write that response.
6) Bless Your Fear
Before we can ever let anything go or transform it, we need to acknowledge the place it has had in our lives and the purpose it has served. Now that you know the purpose your fear has served, bless it.
Action Step: Take a few minutes for yourself in a private, quiet place. Sit in a comfortable chair on the ground, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to get grounded and connect inwards. Name the fear you are ready to bless and focus on it. Let it know that you appreciate the ways it has protected you and looked after you. Let it know that you’ve learned the lesson it wanted to teach you and that it can now move on.
7) Choose a Different Way
Now, this may seem like a radical idea, but hear me out – as a result of your work in getting to know and understand your fear, it now has less power. It can’t outsmart you anymore. You know its habits and its tricks. You can foresee when it will rear its head. You can even appreciate it because you now know how it wants to protect you.
The next step is to choose and create a different way of protecting or serving yourself. For example, let’s say your fear of starting your own business was protecting you from failing at that business. Instead of letting your fear keep you stuck from launching your dream, choose to protect yourself from failure in another way: do extensive research into that business field and how others have succeeded in it.
Action Step: Take a few moments to find an action step or belief that will replace your fear. Write it down, and remember it.
In conclusion…You now know so much about your fear: you know how it expresses itself in your life, you know what’s at risk for you, you know what triggers your fear, and how it serves you. You have had the courage to get up close to your fear, examine it, embrace it, and even acknowledge it for the lessons and opportunities it has brought you.
Doing something about fear in your life is your choice – don’t let it control you!