Discover how fear is sabotaging your success.
Do you ever feel like something is holding you back from achieving all that you can be? Or do you have a dream or a passion you would like to pursue but you’re feeling stuck and can’t seem to move forward to do it? Or maybe you’re in a relationship that you know isn’t right for you but you believe you are stuck there? All of these are signals that fear is running your life and your decisions.
How Fear Works
You see, fear has a job to do, and a very important one. It’s job is to protect you and your body from anything that may cause you harm. This includes emotional pain and physical pain as well. Fear is designed so that if we are thinking of taking a risk, it’s job is to evaluate the situation and determine if that risk is dangerous and should be avoided, or not.
When we are children, fear doesn’t have many reference points to measure against because we haven’t had many life experiences yet, but as we mature in life, fear creates a library full of situations where we have taken risks and been hurt. It catagorises what happened to us by various trigger points and should we ever be in a similar situation, it then does everything in its power to ensure that we don’t put ourselves within that danger again.
Now this makes a lot of sense when it comes to things that are obviously life threatening, for example, fear will tell you that it’s not a good idea to pat a black snake or step in front of a moving vehicle, but where we get into trouble is that most people in the western modern world are rarely placed in life threatening situations (thankfully). So instead, fear tends to apply it’s skills to our everyday life and we come undone because no two situations are ever the same.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you were in primary school and you put up your hand to ask a question, that you thought was a good question, but everyone in your class thought it wasn’t, and they laughed at you. In your mind, fear made a note of this and categorised the experience that putting up your hand equals pain. Fast forward to today, and you are at a workshop and you don’t understand a particularly pertinent point the speaker is making but you don’t put up your hand because your fear convinces you that if you do, people might laugh at you. So you struggle through, not really gaining the full benefits of the program.
The situation is similar, yet not the same, but your fear doesn’t know that. It thinks that it has done a good job in keeping you safe from the pain of asking an embarrassing question. Instead it has held you back by convincing you that the question you were about to ask was going to evoke the same response whereas the truth is that your question could have helped you to move forward and potentially other people in that room too.
Similarly, fear can hold you back when it comes to putting your hand up for that promotion, or pursuing that business idea you’ve been dreaming about, or taking the steps required to get out of an unhealthy relationship. It will fill your head with all the so called ‘reasons’ why you shouldn’t take that next step, but it’s reasoning is based on previous experiences that you have either been through, witnessed or read/heard about and those experiences aren’t the same.
How to Become Un-Stuck
So what can you do about managing this fear that is holding you back and keeping you stuck? The first step is to recognise what fear is doing and hopefully this article may support you to be able to understand a little about how fear functions and support you to be able to recognise when it shows up. The next step is to evaluate if the reasons fear is telling you not to do something are real or not. Most of the time they are based on one small element of the situation being the same as a previous one and consequently the fear isn’t real.
The last step is to give thanks to your fear for trying to protect you, and then go make a plan, take a deep breath and take the first step of your plan. If it’s a big step that you’ve got to take, then maybe just take one baby step at a time. Either way, taking action is what will quieten your fear because once you take a step your comfort zone is immediately expanded because you now have a new reference point for what you can and can not do.
To learn more about how you can quieten the voice of fear and move from feeling stuck to true success, download the Five Steps to Facing Fears & Finding Freedom.