What do you do when fear shows up? Do you hide under the covers of life, shivering as you anxiously wait for the moment to pass or do you stand up with a confident smile and embrace it?
Your answer to this simple question will have a considerable impact on the level of freedom, excitement and empowerment you experience on a daily basis. Whatever your response, the thing to remember is that your fears are nothing to be afraid of!
What is Fear?
The Oxford dictionary defines fear as "an unpleasant emotion caused by the expectation of pain". The thing to note here is that the emotion of fear is caused by the 'expectation' of pain rather than the actual 'experience' of pain. There is no requirement that our fears be based on any form of rational or objective thought. In fact, it's entirely possible that the fears that exist in our lives are based purely on anticipated scenarios that may never actually transpire. The problem is however, that we live and act as if these scenarios are constantly replaying in our lives.
False Evidence that Appears Real.
One of my favourite definitions of fear is "False Evidence that Appears Real". In today's modern society we are conditioned to be fearful of just about everything. We fear failure, yet also fear success. We fear being lonely, yet fear being truly loved. We fear restrictions on our freedom to speak, yet we fear speaking out.
You are not Alone.
I think one of the big things to consider about fear is that you are not alone. We all experience fear. It's a very natural part of being human. It's not fear itself that's the problem, it's what we actually do with the fear when it enters our lives. Channelled effectively, fear can be a great catalyst for change and a tool for reclaiming your personal power. At the other extreme, avoiding fear will paralyse your life force.
Physical Symptoms of Fear.
The physical symptoms that we experience as a result of fear are really not as frightening as many of us make out. Some typical fear symptoms include the tightening of the chest and throat, muscle weakness, sweaty palms, energy depletion, a dry mouth and breathlessness. What, no loss of limbs or physical torture? In all seriousness, when you really think about it, the physical symptoms of fear are hardly anything to be afraid of.
Overcoming Your Fear.
One of the best ways to overcome your fears is to actually show up in spite of them. An old personal fear of mine was speaking in public. For some strange reason it terrified me and it was made all the worse by the fact that I avoided it as much as I could. As it happens, through the course of a seminar business I was involved with a couple of years ago, I had to introduce a speaker in front of an audience of around 300 people. My brief speech started well, but then all of a sudden my fears got the better of me. I lost my flow and stood speechless on stage for around 15 seconds (though it felt like a life time!) trying to remember my position.
This experience signalled to me that it was time to face my fear because I never wanted to be in a situation where I felt uncomfortable talking to a group of people again. I decided to join a very supportive public speaking club that meets on a weekly basis. I disciplined myself to show up every week in spite of my fears. Now I not only love public speaking but I get paid to do it as well!
Calculate the Costs!
What has fear cost you in your lifetime already? How many relationships have you let slip by? How many job opportunities have you not applied for? How many business ideas have you turned your back on simply because of the fact that you let your fears get the better of you?
Never in your life has there been a better time to confront your fears. Now is the time to stop being afraid of them. Meet them, greet them and then channel that energy into creating a life you can be proud of!
Damien Senn is a Life and Business Coach as well as a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. He helps professionals, artists and entrepreneurs create compelling futures.
He is the author of the 'Senn-Sational Success Journal' and has developed his own coaching model called the 'Senn-Sational Success System'.
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