I would love to tell you that I am always the “Courage Whisperer”. It isn’t that I’m fearless. Or that I’ve completely mastered all my fears. Or so sure of myself that I am no longer feel uncertain or vulnerable. Or any kind of mastery of fear.
It’s just that, over the years, I’ve many of fear’s tricks.
Which means that most of the time, I can see fear coming and can prepare myself to face it head on.
You do things in spite of being afraid. You do things in spite of not knowing the outcome. You choose love, lean into desire and take giant leaps of faith.
I’ve also become a great fear detector when it comes to clients and can usually see through their name calling (lazy, unmotivated, etc) and arguments and excuses.
But the truth is this: just when I believe I’ve learned all of fear’s tricks, it finds that window in the laundry room that has been left open just a crack to let the fresh air in…and climbs into my world.
It presents itself with the logical voice of reason.
It manifests itself into tactics like avoidance and procrastination and over-scheduling ourselves. It becomes controlling about our environment and the outcome of everything.
So, here’s the deal, kitten, when it comes to fear: We may think we’ve gotten the vaccine and are armed with a chair and a whip to tame fear. But there is no vaccine or Fear Taming Equipment catalog that will protect us 100% of the time.
So, what’s a gal (or guy) to do?
Well, the first thing to do is to become aware that you are giving fear the reins of life.
It’s called truth. It’s called awareness. And, baby, sometimes this thing called awareness sucks. Sometimes, it makes you angry. But after you’ve had a chance to sit with the truth for just a moment, you will be relieved that you finally get what’s going on.
How do you recognize it? Especially if the Voice of Logic is telling you something like “Oh, darling, it’s ok that you aren’t working on your book, because you’ve been so busy?”
You see that you aren’t taking the actions that will help you achieve your goals. You feel stuck or paralyzed. The logical reasons (excuses) are multiplying by the day.
You’re not only avoiding doing what you’re afraid of, you have begun avoiding your regular stuff. Things like meditation or running or leaning into some sort of creative way of living – like meals at a beautifully set table or flowers in the kitchen. We get into food ruts, eating the same thing over and over again.
These are all signs, darling.
The next step is to admit it.
You need to say the words out loud. To yourself. To someone you trust. It’s all about allowing yourself to feel that vulnerability.
A word of caution about this step: not everyone has earned the right to witness you in your vulnerability. This is usually the space for a trusted friend (not the one who will try to talk you out of things or change the subject to the latest drama in her life) or your partner (in some cases) or your coach.
And then, baby, you just move forward.
You take a tiny step in the direction of the fear. You lean into discomfort. You make a list of all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished to remind yourself that you’ve conquered fear before. Maybe instead of taking a flying leap of faith off the high dive, you hold your nose and hold your breath and take a jump off the low dive first.
You allow this thing called compassionate discipline to be your bed-mate. Rather than beating yourself up, you choose to treat yourself with love and kindness. And also a firm hand. This means taking actions and having faith. Faith in yourself. In your dreams. In your support structure.
You slowing re-begin doing the things that keep you centered: meditation, exercise, eating healthy meals, getting extra sleep. To help you stay brave and focused, you create a gratitude practice.
If necessary, choose a single new tool to commit to doing.
You clear spaces, because moving through fear requires space and energy. This means decluttering your calendar, tidying up your office, and cleaning out closets and cabinets. Because you need space – mental and physical space – to be brave.
And you create new routines so that your energy can go towards action instead of the acts of daily living.
And soon, darling, very soon, you’ll be conquering the new fear. You will evolve into a new stage of being.