The process of planning my “Be Fearless Weekend” is in full swing. I am lining up speakers, creating the material to present, and getting all of my ducks in a row. Although it is four months away, I know the time will sail by and be here before I know it.
The moment when I decide to create something new is a glorious one and filled with excitement and confidence. These are fearless moments for me. The adrenalin rush is fueled by my desire to help everyone understand they are enough, important, capable, and deserving of peace in their lives.
In other words, I feel like superman.
If I am being honest, the excitement about creating the weekend is forcing me to think long and hard about where I am in my own journey and how deal with my own fears. Every idea that begins with a moment of fearlessness usually results in escalating fear as the process evolves. The decision to write and publish Switching Teams has been the fear gift that keeps on giving.
In other words, Clark Kent shows up and takes over. Not acknowledging my own fears as they pop up is never a good thing for me. Who is going to care about what I have to say? What if no one signs up? What if those that register regret their decision after the fact? Can I do this? These thoughts are kryptonite.
When I have a task to accomplish, I immerse myself in the details and become laser focused on saving the city from destruction like every super hero should. Sound familiar? It is my way of trying to dodge, outsmart, or become immunized against fear. Hilarious huh? Here is the truth.
Keeping my head down and mind on a task is a classic avoidance technique. Sound familiar? I have learned that ignoring or avoiding dealing with it is the most effective way to guarantee the loss of all of my super powers. Not dealing with those doubts or fears in the moment may seem like the better option, but it is not. Fear is a patient opportunist that will linger as long as it has a comfy spot to plop down in.
If ignoring the problem worked, we would all have only peace in our lives. So what can you do when fear is stopping you from taking the next step, keeping you in a relationship that is not healthy, or robbing you of your peace?
Instead of finding ways to work around the fear, I suggest asking yourself some questions about whatever fear is holding you hostage right now.
Ask yourself “what am I afraid of?” In order to truly address the fear you have to name it. I know. Bummer. Naming your fear takes some reflection and requires an honest look within. Again. Bummer.
Unfortunately, you cannot skip this step. Sometimes it may be a fear of failure. Other times it may be a fear of change. The fear of not being good enough or being alone are also a popular ones. Once you name the fear the work can begin to move through it. Notice, I said move through it.
Naming the fear does not take away the feelings or strip it of its perceived power. However, it does move our brains in a direction that allows us to begin to deal with it. This is where the work begins. Many methods and approaches to handling fear exist. I look at fear like the phone booth Clark Kent uses to transform in to Superman.
Once inside the phone booth, there are three choices available. Option one is to shut the door and give in to the overwhelming and paralyzing feelings that fear brings. You can sit in the phone booth watching life happen through the glass. It seems protected and safe, but the air is thick and there is not much room to move around or get comfortable.
Option two is to open the door and consider what taking the next step would look like. Naming the fear happens in this space. Standing up and feeling the fresh air move past your face signals your brain that you are ready. It may take a minute, months, or many moons, but here is where the willingness to decide what to do about the fear and the courage to do it is born.
Option three is to grab your cape, take a deep breath, and creep, crawl, or walk out the door. This may seem crazy or like an impossible choice. It is both and neither at the same time. This is one instance where I encourage ignoring Edna Mode’s “No Capes” rule.
Also ask yourself “what is the worst that can happen?” When fear is jacking us up, our imaginations are notorious for overestimating the worst case scenarios. When I came out to my husband I was convinced he was going make me pack my bags, throw me out on the street, and leave immediately. He didn’t. He would never have done that, but my fear caused me to abandon every sane thought in my head. Fear is a liar.
Calling out fear for the liar that it is paves the way for courage and reason. Feeling afraid is an emotion that every human being experiences in their lifetime. However fear is not the only emotion or feeling we are capable of.
Joy, peace, love, contentment, happiness, and hundreds more positive feelings are also in play. Learning to navigate through fear is the most beautiful way we can ensure that our lives are balanced and healthy. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you need to feel in order to face your fear. It is not always a pretty sight and sometimes feels worse before it feels better.
Trust yourself. Talk about how you are feeling and do not let the opinions of others cloud your journey. Spend some time this week thinking about what you would do if you were not afraid and know you are your own super hero and so much more than what fear says you are.
For more on dealing with fear: