"Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose good we oft might win By fearing to attempt." - William Shakespeare, "Measure for Measure"
Fear is ever-present and an inescapable part of being human. Where there is a dream, there is fear. Where there is change, there is fear. Along with new opportunities, come fear. Yet somehow, fear has been vilified. We have come to think of fear is inherently bad—something to avoid or eliminate. But truth is fear plays an important and meaningful role in our growth and development.
In “Take Yourself to Top” Laura Berman Fortgang wrote “Every choice you make is rooted either in fear or in courage.” Like two sides of a coin, fear and courage are closely melded together. When you toss coin into air each day, which side have you been landing on? If fear seems to be prevailing, try these strategies to make a friend of fear. Only then will your coin be able to safely land on courage.
1.Respond, rather than react, to fear. 2.Listen to fear as you would a trusted friend 3.Take your fear to end
Respond to fear rather than react to it…
What is your natural way of dealing with fear? Many times we simply react. Re-act. We STOP!, we change direction, we settle for something less fear-inducing, or we ignore it and struggle forward in spite of our fear. None of those reactions makes best use of our fears. These reactions actually prevent us from fully achieving what we desire or dream.
The first step toward making friends with fear is to stop reacting to it and start responding. Our fears are there because they are trying to tell us something about ourselves. When we respond to our fears, we are taking time to listen and then make changes, correct something, or create something that we need. At first sign of fear, STOP, LISTEN and RESPOND. The longer you ignore it, more likely you are to react and regret.
Listen to fear as you would a trusted friend
What if you viewed your fears as a friend instead? What would your friend want you to know? What is it asking of you? When we react to fear, we usually are trying to turn off “negative” emotion. It’s uncomfortable for us and we want to withdraw from it.
Embrace it! Love it as you would a friend. It is not asking you to shrink away from your ambitions, hopes, dreams, opportunities or possibilities. It is asking MUCH MORE of you than that. It’s asking you to Act Bigger. To be self interested, self preserving. Dream big but take care. Have a Plan B. And a Plan C. If you fear failure, build a safety net so that you can get back up and keep moving forward rather than having to spend time and energy putting pieces together. If you fear rejection, give yourself acceptance—fully.
If you are finding that fear is holding you back, try this: Write down fear-based messages you are dealing with. (For example, What if I fail? What if this doesn’t work out? What if they say no? What if they say yes? I am afraid of losing. I can’t do this.)
Look at these messages and ask yourself…what is my friend fear trying to tell me? What is it asking of me? Is it true? Write down your response for each fear based message you have listed.