Failure and success are such close cousins that in our eagerness to gain success we often close our eyes from fear, failure and struggle. But what if you could change your perception about fear and instead of running away from it embrace it, cherish it and talk to it? What if we could move from fearful to fearless?
Having been through a ton of struggles, professional and personal, in recent years and constantly stepping out of my comfort zone I thought I’m done with fear. I was holding an illusion that I have no fears left, that I’ve dealt with them all. That I was free.
Couple of weeks ago I attended Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’ workshop (she’s the author of Eat, Pray, Love) and she asked us identify our fears. As I was sharing my findings with the lady who sat next to me I suddenly found myself crying.
If we know that fear is what mostly holds us back why are we so afraid of facing it?
To be afraid of your fears is like fear on double punishment. Fear has such a strong hold of you and without you knowing.
From all the work I’ve done at DrivenWoman and the hundreds of women I meet, it is clear it’s those individuals who are not afraid to embrace and stay with their fears and make them visible who move forward the fastest.
So that’s exactly what I’ve done.
After writing down my fears, I wasn’t done with them. I didn’t hide them under the carpet. I didn’t brush them away from sight.
I decided to find stones for each fear and to move from fearful to fearless.
I went to my favourite beach on Lake Saimaa where I’m from and picked up four stones. I named each one after my fears. So, here are my fears:
I found myself comparing my work with other women in a similar field even though I know that they have completely different angle and message.
Quality of my delivery
One of my deep and longstanding fears is that the way I deliver the DrivenWoman message is not compelling enough. Surely someone else could do it better!
Even after running over 250 events and personally meeting and hearing the stories of over 1,000 women I had the guts to doubt my own substance. What a womanly thing to do! We women think that perhaps we should go and get yet another degree, then we’d be worthy.
My worth as a messenger
The change I try to bring to the world is big, my mission sees no boundaries: women supporting each other and taking active steps to live a bigger life. I know this is what I need to do and it is my calling. But yet, I found myself doubting my self worth as the messenger.
I’m laying out my fears in front of your eyes for three reasons.
Firstly, when we make things visible and bring them to our awareness they lose their grip on us. Nothing is more dangerous than the patterns we repeat from our subconscious. What you can’t see you can’t change. Laying my fears out in the open has immediately shifted my beliefs and mindset. I can look at my stones, I can write about them and I can share their stories with you, other driven women who I know will support me.
Secondly, by sharing our stories we allow others to learn from our experiences. This is what this tribe is all about. For me it’s more important that you can learn something from me than that my ego stays unscratched and you think ‘Oh, she’s The Person Who Fears Nothing’.
And finally, you can’t ‘consume’ personal development or success. You actually have to DO it. Reading about fears or how to overcome them is pretty pointless unless you act on it and do something. In my role as the Chief Doer of this community I can hardly ask you to get face to face with what’s holding you back unless I’m ready to do it!
And yet, I can’t give you advice and tell you how to get to your success. There’s no magic bullet. But I can ask you to get real and stop covering your fears in a story.
If you have made a decision to explore a new career path, to write a book or to ask for a pay rise (or what ever your dream or goal might be!), now is the time to expose the silly story you keep telling yourself why it’s not possible or why it’s too risky to start working on it. Behind that story are your fears. They sit there, laughing at you, comfortably as they know you let them hide and they can keep you away from your dreams and the freedom you so desire.
Let’s do the work. It’s time to stop consuming success and start connecting with your own journey.
Key takeaways for moving from fearful to fearless:
Fear is holding us back, for sure. On some level, fear is always there. That’s why we have to keep looking at our fears on a regular basis.
We all have fears, no matter how much we’ve been working on ourselves and our journey.
There’s no need to be ashamed of your fears, make them your friends.
Make your fears visible to the daylight if you want to deal with them. Now is the time!
Once is not enough, journal about your fears regularly. Don’t let them sink back into subconscious where they can make more damage than when you look them straight into eye.
Share your fears with people who are kind and supportive and who have earned your trust.
Surround yourself with people who help you get over your fears.
Recognise that what you resist can be a guide to the direction you should actually take. Freedom can be found on the other side of fear.
It’s time to leap ahead.
Everyone who’s on this journey to a bigger life will experience a feeling of fear at times, but what will set you apart is how you develop your ability to recognise that your fears are not real. You can expose them and move through them.
Will you be on this journey?