Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway!®
‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!®’ is the title of a book by the author Susan Jeffers* that covers all facets of dealing with the debilitating aspects of fear. I often recommend the book to clients, and I also encourage them to use the title as a mantra for when fear arises and they want to get past it.
But what’s wrong with fear, you might say. It keeps us safe doesn’t it?
Well yes, true to a certain extent: some fears are very useful and are our mind and body’s way of telling us that perhaps something isn’t a good idea. But it’s important to make the distinction between fears that genuinely keep us safe, and fears that keep us from progressing: the fear that keeps you from crossing a motorway in the dark I think we can probably agree is a good fear. The fear that stops you from applying for a new job when you’re miserable in your current job isn’t.
Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens
All of us can get complacent in our comfort zone. We stay in the same job, even though we’re not happy, because we know the job inside out, we know the people, we know what to expect, whereas the new job ‘out there’ is scary, with no guarantees, and is sitting firmly in the unknown. We stay in relationships that we have outgrown, because the alternative requires scary upheaval, and why upset the apple cart when it will jettison us straight out of our comfort zone and again, into the scary unknown.
There’s no doubt that our comfort zone, as the name suggests, is where we feel our safest. But that safety can come at a price, and it can cost us our happiness, fulfilment, joy, and opportunities will pass us by. The fear we feel is very good at telling us that somehow the ‘unknown’ is scary and dangerous and negative; ‘yes I could leave the job that I’m unhappy in and find another, but what if that job is worse, or I don’t like it?’. ‘Yes I could leave the relationship that I’m unhappy in, but that means upsetting everyone, and what if I end up alone?’ Whilst it is true that there are no guarantees when making changes, is staying in our comfort zone any better?
What our fears won’t tell us is that the outcome could instead be just what we’re looking for, and that the unknown can be the best thing that ever happened to us:
- ‘Yes I could leave the job that I’m unhappy in and find another, but what if that job is brilliant, pays more, and brings me real fulfilment?’
- ‘Yes I could leave the relationship that I’m unhappy in, but that means we are both free to find a partner we do love, and what if I end up with the love of my life?
What it boils down to is this: are we willing to take the risk?
There’s never going to not be fear
Changing our lives, particularly when dramatic changes are needed, will always be scary, and that’s the whole point. It’s not about waiting for the fear to go; the fear of leaving your job or partner will ALWAYS be scary. It will never NOT be scary. The crucial thing to know is that it’s about knowing it’s scary, but DOING it anyway.
- Want to write that novel but are too afraid that it will fail and you’ll be a laughing stock? Feel the fear and do it anyway: never having tried could be your biggest regret.
- Want to ask the boss for a promotion but are afraid that you’ll get turned down? Feel the fear and do it anyway: not doing it is a first class ticket to anger and resentment.
- Want to ask your colleague at work out but are afraid that she will reject you? Feel the fear and do it anyway: if you don’t you will never now how she feels about you.
Even if we don’t achieve what we set out to, is it really that bad? If we write our novel and it isn’t a success, does that really matter in the grand scheme of things? When we’re 87 and reflecting back on our life, won’t we be thrilled with ourselves that we were brave enough to try? If our boss turns us down for a pay rise, won’t it help us recognise our worth and give us the galvanisation we need to move somewhere where we will be more valued? If our colleague doesn’t want to go out with us, won’t we just lick our wounded pride but then be free to go on to find someone who does?
The point is, we won’t know the outcome, but embracing this uncertainty is the only way we can truly move forward. If we are unhappy, and we follow our heart and our intuition to guide us into making the changes needed, can we really fail?
So, think of one thing today that you are afraid of, however big or small, and take that first step towards it, even if your heart is pounding, your palms are sweaty, and you can barely breathe. Know that these are normal, physiological responses to fear, and that as soon as you have faced it, they will disappear as quickly as they came. What’s even better, is that what comes next is the wonderful feeling of euphoria:
‘Yes, I did it! I was brave enough to follow my heart! Woo hoo!
And once we’ve done it once it gets easier and easier and easier, as we begin to build up on our strength and resilience and really live the life we love because we are being true to ourselves.
Use the mantra, stick it on your fridge, on your phone, on your bathroom mirror. Anywhere where you will see it on a daily basis, and watch how your life transforms:
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!®
* Susan Jeffers. Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action. Vermilion; 2007.
If you would like to find out more about how alternative therapies can help you confront your fears and move forward, contact Helen Elder on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07964 423 851. Find more helpful articles at www.the-healing-room.net/blog/
By Helen Elder
The Healing Room
Article written by Helen Elder - Wantage
Hi! My name is Helen and I am a Reiki Master/Teacher delivering treatments and workshops in Wantage, Oxfordshire. I run Reiki workshops from level 1 up to level 4 throughout the year. See my website for upcoming dates. www.the-healing-room.net.
I also give Reiki treatments and other healing therapies at The Healing... [read more]