You know what really sucks? FEAR.
I am not talking about the chilling horror you feel when you’re watching “I know What You Did Last Summer” (obviously I just dated myself) rather, the debilitating kind that creeps up whenever you think about stepping a toe outside of your comfort zone. It’s even worse, because unlike watching a scary film with a relatively defined ending, it can last for years, and it manifests in a million different ways, and when left unchecked, leads to a lifetime of unhappiness.
F.E.A.R has become an acronym, most of them sharing the common theme of debilitating inaction; I have seen it as False Evidence Appearing Real, Failure Expected And Received, Finding Excuses And Reasons, Forgetting Everything About Reality, False Emotions Appearing Real, and the list goes on. Every single one of those points to an unknown, or perhaps a discomfort, and running away from it, or worse, standing still staring at it, doing absolutely nothing.
I prefer to use F.E.A.R as an acronym for Face Everything And Respond or better yet, Face Everything And Rise! I love the idea of facing things, walking right towards our greatest fears, with the exceptions of maybe poisonous spiders or hurricanes, and by doing so, we take away the power from that which we are fearful of- a tough boss, a sensitive conversation, public speaking, stating your opinion, putting yourself out there authentically, being naked, wearing a bathing suit, speaking-up, making a social media video, stating a preference, writing a blog, hosting a party, whatever it is, doing it anyway makes it feel so much less scary. I have a longtime friend and mentor, Nellie Corriveau, and she always reminds me to “Do It Scared!” and maybe, she tosses in some colorful language for emphasis here and there, to really make the point.
Whenever we’re doing something new, or we risk any amount of vulnerability, it’s scary. It’s so scary. And as we’ve heard time and time again, where our attention goes, energy flows, so by focusing on the scared as opposed to the goal, we become paralyzed. We do nothing. We sit still, in our metaphorical safe and comfortable fetal positions, and wait. Eventually, we either step towards the fear, and get S@*t done, or we retreat, and stay exactly where we’ve always been.
What is it that we are so terrified of? Rejection? Failure? Uncertainty? Loneliness? Change? Judgement? Pain? Inadequacy? Exposure? All of the above?
Whenever we try anything new, we have to embrace the fact we are going to suck… who cares? The sooner we begin, the sooner we can get better at it. I say, embarrass the hell out of yourself, let it be permission for others to do the same, and then make a bunch more content so it ends up way low on your feed! In case no one else has given you permission to mess-up, look silly, try something new, practice publicly, throw a new idea out there, fail, let me be the one… until you do, FEAR is winning.
I recently read a quote by David Goggins that said “Most people who are criticizing and judging haven’t even tried what you failed at.” If “mic-dropping” were still cool, I would to that right now. It’s true- all of those fears I mentioned above, are really all about how you will see yourself, and how others will see you. If you can realize right this minute that we are not in fact our failures, rather our attempts, then you have half of every single battle conquered. And, you cannot control what anyone else thinks, says, or does, so just let that be. Your people are your people, and you don’t want anyone in your life who only likes you when you’re winning.
The moment we realize that fear is just an emotion, like any other feeling we have, and we love ourselves through the discomfort, honoring its presence, and then letting it just be, and we drum up our other emotion, COURAGE, and we do whatever it is anyway, we are FREE to succeed. We are FREE to move towards anything we want. We are FREE to live the life we have always wanted.