Moving From Fear to Fearlessness
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear” – Ambrose Redmoon
I have always believed very strongly in the above words of Ambrose Redmoon as his wisdom has provided me with an important touchstone whenever I have been personally challenged.
Like true friendship, true courage is only demonstrated during those times of difficulty and duress.
It is the decision to not go quietly into the night, but to look your greatest challenges in the eye and say while shaken, I will not be deterred!
I received the following e-mail the other day that provided a wonderful example of Redmoon’s words being put into action in the life of one of my conference attendees.
As you read excerpts from her story, think about those fears that have held you back, and kept you from realizing your full potential by sabotaging your future success.
Perhaps you remember meeting me at the conference in Chicago last November. As an attendee to your first workshop, I heard you loud and clear about challenging ourselves in our career. I’ve quoted you many times when you said if you are not experiencing fear in your job, then you’re in a rut and not growing professionally.
I’ve been an avid swimmer my whole life and enjoy many forms of water sports/activities. When I was in high school years ago, I briefly was introduced to Scuba diving. During the pool exercises, I had a couple of stressful experiences where my head hit the air tank when I entered the water and I had difficulty clearing my mask . . .
Fast forward to April 13, 2015. That’s when I completed my SCUBA diving certification in Fiji. This is a HUGE deal for me!
I finally agreed to take on this phobia and enroll in Scuba class before our trip to Fiji in April. I will spare you the details of the months of anxiety leading up to this event. The final chapter is that I completed the classroom course in California and the open water dives in Fiji. As I said to the dive master in Fiji, “This is a bigger accomplishment that childbirth!”
One of the big take aways from this experience is that the fear became so much more psychological rather than physical. I broke it down into pieces and took on each piece step by step. This is one more way you have had a lasting impact on my life.
Recognize, Leverage and Transform
In reading the above, I could not help but admire both the courage and determination of the individual in terms of her willingness to recognize, face and overcome her fear.
In this month’s eNewsletter, I’ll provide you with essential tips for moving from fear to fearlessness in three easy steps. Through this process, you’ll be able to reclaim that part of your life that is being governed by uncertainty or fear.
First, do you deal with tough or uncertain situations head-on? Do you procrastinate or pass the buck? Interestingly enough, when you do nothing, you’re actually making a negative decision. In essence, you are letting the situation determine the outcome rather than taking charge of your own destiny.
Second, do you embrace courageous discussions? For example, what do you do if you hear that there will be a major layoff at your company? Do you hide and hope that you’re not one of the people who will be sent packing? Or do you walk into the boss’s office and let him/her know that you’re interested in having a clear understanding of the situation and what, if anything, can you do to solidify your position with the company?
1. Recognize Your Fears
Like our scuba diver, who recognized the reasons for her fear, you have to identify what it is you are most concerned about and why.
Don’t beat around the bush or make excuses, because you cannot deal with what you are unwilling to acknowledge.
Conversely, don’t fall in love with your fears or make it your calling card.
Some people showcase their vulnerabilities as a badge of honor looking for both empathy and sympathy. I call this wallowing in your fears, as opposed to truly recognizing them with the intent to do something productive to ultimately overcome them.
Which one do you own?
- Fear of success?
- Fear of failure?
- Fear of speaking up?
- Fear of making a mistake?
- Fear of being out of control?
- Fear of rejection?
- Fear of getting fired?
2. Leverage Your Fears
You cannot face your fears without a clear plan of action.
Like our scuba diver, who enrolled in a class in preparation for a trip to Fiji, how do you plan to address your fears?
For example, if you feel insecure about your job or lack qualifications to get that promotion, what are you prepared to do? Are you willing to take on extra work in an effort to demonstrate that you’re capable of handling increased responsibility?
Facing your fears is not just saying I am afraid, it is saying that I am afraid but I am willing to do something about it.
- How are your fears serving you right now?
- What are you willing to do to overcome them?
- Who can you lean on for support?
- What results could now be possible?
3. Transform Your Fears Into Your Strengths
Can you imagine what would have happened if instead of taking a course, our scuba diver simply showed up in Fiji and jumped right into the water?
Would this sink or swim strategy have worked?
The fact that she trained for her Fiji dive in advance, gave her the confidence to take the plunge.
Transforming your fear isn’t an act of spontaneity, to be approached in a haphazard manner. It is the end result of a deliberate and determined process.
- Start with a well-executed plan
- Begin with little steps
- Adopt a mindset that “anything” is possible
- Reframe negative self-talk
- Celebrate small wins
- See failure as a free education
As critical as the above tips are in terms of your ability to move from fear to fearlessness, they will be of little use unless you are willing to let go, think differently and embrace change.
In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Father Richard Rohr indicated that while people may want to change, they don’t always succeed, because in doing so, we have to “let go, and we’re not good at letting go.” “We’re good at holding on.”
SO . . . What are you not doing that’s keeping your dreams from being more fully realized?
AND . . . If you had no fear, what would YOU be doing?
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