They say fear has two meanings: Forget Everything and Run OR Face Everything and Rise...When you think about your fears do you lean toward one way or the other when dealing with them?
Before I go to deep I want to paint a picture for you of a time I was so scared I literally forgot everything and ran. I was back home in Iowa (where I'm originally from) and I was staying with my friend, Cassidy. She had just moved into a new apartment so I was unfamiliar with the apartment or the area. She worked during the day so she gave me a key to her apartment so I could come and go as I needed.
One night I got home pretty late (all I remember is it was dark outside during summer so 9-10ish). I saw Cassidy's car in the parking lot so I knew she was home. I cheerfully walked into the building and then without using the key (this is Iowa, people are wayyy too trusting so no need for keys) walked into her apartment and saw a guy shoving my friend out of the way. I know what you're thinking - maybe it's her boyfriend. She didn't have a boyfriend and was very anti men at the time so I knew that wasn't the case. I was instantly filled with fear. I dropped the door handle and took off running down the hall as fast as I could, all while screaming as loud as I could. None of this was planned. This was just how my survival instinct showed up.
My plan was to get to the stairwell and then call 911 because I knew if I went in to save Cass myself we would both end up hurt. So I get to the stairwell and I'm about to call 911 and real quick I decide to call her just in case, as a formality if you will. It rings a couple times but I know full well she's not going to answer because hello! she's currently being murdered. And then...she answers. WHAAATTT?!! And way too calmly I might add. So calmly that I was thinking whoever that guy was must have a gun to her head and he's telling her to act cool because she's not ever having a reaction to how frantic I am. She was as cool as a cucumber while I was as tense as a whore in church. After some back and forth I learned that I was on the wrong floor the entire time! Here I thought I was in danger but my perception of reality wasn’t true. I was afraid because my perception was that my friend lived on the second floor. And yet the truth was she lived on the third floor. I couldn't help but laugh when I though about that poor couple that I scared the crap out of! Sorry about that!
I know this is basically a next level, crazy example but stay with me here... a.) I'm and actress so I've always been a little dramatic and b.) it's not that different from the inner fears we deal with every day. Our fears can feel so real that they seem like they’re true but most of the time they are created by us. I want you to think about your fears. I’m not talking about phobias here I’m talking about deep rooted fears. The fears that keep you up at night. For me it’s the fear of not being talented enough, or good enough in general.
Is there a chance that maybe the fear you’ve been telling yourself isn’t the truth? Maybe, like my story, your perception of your fear is on the second floor but the truth is on the third floor. Do you have a desire for more but you feel stuck behind a fear that feels so great that you don’t know what to do or how to overcome it? Here are 5 tips that helped me overcome and push past my greatest fear of not being good enough. I hope they help you do the same!
1.) Get clear on what your fears are and where they come from. Spend some time reflecting and going inward. Get off social media, get away from people, and spend some time with yourself. For me, my greatest fear came from my dad. He never told me I wasn’t good enough but he wanted me to be the best in everything I did, so unless it was the best, it wasn’t good enough. I carried that with me for years and the first step toward change was the awareness of it.
2.) Face it/them head on. Say it out loud or write it down. Go as deep as you can and be as specific as you can. Why are you afraid of this trying this new thing? What would happen if you did? Sometimes writing it down helps you to realize how illogical that fear is. If you avoid your fear you give it power. If you face it I promise it will shrink. Thinking about it is not enough. You have to take the action and either say it out loud or write it down. Be proactive.
3.) Visualize what could go right. Stop saying "what if" followed by a negative thing and start fantasizing about all the amazing things that could happen if you do the thing you're afraid of. You truly never know what it will be like until you do something.
4.) Equip yourself with necessary tools. If you are afraid to give a speech then watch other speakers or practice so that you are confident instead of fearful. Knowledge and preparation lead to confidence.
5.) Take action with your fear. Understand that some form of fear will always be there. As you grow, new fears will come because growth happens outside of the comfort zone and in the unknown. Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Big Magic and Eat Pray Love talks about when she starts anything new and scary, such as writing a new book, she thinks about going on a road trip. She tells her fear that her and creativity are going on an adventure and she welcomes fear to join the adventure but she clearly lets her fear know it will not be involved in any of the decision making. Only her and creativity are allowed to do so. Give space to your fear but don’t let it make the decisions. You are not defined by your fears. You are the driver of you life!
You can do this! Don't just read these tips and forget about them. Actually take time to apply them. Doing these things changed my life! This blog and podcast wouldn't be here if I didn't apply them. You have to do the work. It's not always easy but it's so worth it. Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear! Face Everything And Rise!
For a more in depth look at all this check out episode 2 of my podcast, Show Up to Fear. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/show-up-to-go-up/id1502535562
IG @stephygthatsme and @showuptogoup