Not sure if you noticed, but it’s October. Everyone is going on about Fear right now. Let’s be scary. What are your biggest fears? Scary movies. Darkness. Shadows. Ghosts. Sure. Cool whatever. How about chasing your dreams?
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Do You Know What You Are Afraid Of?
I am not particularly bright all the time. I can’t seem to tell you what I am afraid of at first glance. I kind of have to go through this little game with myself that goes like this:
- I figure out what it is that I want. I figure out why I want it.
- I figure out how I am going to get it.
- I start doing things to get towards what I want.
- I realize I’m not making progress. I acknowledge that my procrastination is a kind of fear.
- I acknowledge It’s a roadblock.
- I act like the thing doesn’t bother me and I pretend there is another reason I don’t want to do it.
- I try to find another way to do the deed. I waste time doing the other thing.
- I come back to the thing that I was afraid of. I do it.
- I realize it wasn’t scary.
- I completely forget that I had the fear in the first place.
What Do You Do When You Find Out?
Say you have a deathly fear of failure. It may not manifest like heart palpitating slasher movie style terror. It may pop up like – well I’ll take a nap instead. Naps are way better than doing this thing. For me, fear looks like procrastination and pizza parties. It’s dragging my feet and making things scary by creating scarcity on my time. Now I have something to be afraid of. That’s better. What if I told you there was a magic power you could use that would help you face your fears? That’d be pretty sweet. There isn’t. All you can do is do it.
I pretty much hit this wall of “nope” on many tasks that I do on a regular basis. Running a meeting? I do it daily. Do I still get all anxious about it and stress? Sure. Do I usually knock it out of the park yep? Does any of that make sense to me? Nope.
Become the Monster You Are
Many of you may be thinking “You aren’t talking about fear. You are talking about anxiety.” Anxiety is a type of fear. It’s a persistent one that seems to haunt you. It’s like a vengeful ghost hell-bent on knocking over your coffee cup or causing you to bite your tongue on occasion. Perhaps the spirit isn’t vengeful, it’s just an ass. Guess what? Make peace with it. It’s going to be riding around with you for quite some time. There are a few ways you can do this.
- Cold Shower and Breathing. Take a nice warm shower. Feels good yeah? Now – do some deep breathing. Sharp inhalation fully breathing in, then slowly release with an exhale. Seems pretty straightforward right? Do this a few times, focusing on the breath. Now, continuing to do this. Turn your shower on it’s coldest setting and sit with that icy cold sensation. Keep up with your breathing, deep breath in, and gently exhale.Do this until your breathing has returned to a steady pace and you have accepted the cold.Warning this is less than pleasant, but the more you do it – the better you will feel. In our current age, we really don’t have much to stress out about. Not like when things were actively hunting us down and trying to murder us. So our stress reaction has to find something to do to keep itself busy. It baselines out and says, “Ok, so saber tooth tigers aren’t a problem for you… how about talking to a small room of 5 people? What it’s the best I’ve got?” Taking a cold shower gives you a more realistic physical stressor. You can think of it as strength training for your stress-o-dometer.
- Exercise. Seriously. Go exercise. You’ve probably heard this, but I’ll repeat it for myself. Exercising can increase your endorphins which makes you feel good. When you focus on exercising you are not thinking about other worldly concerns. Which lets you break the cycle of making volcanoes out of ant hills – or something like that. You don’t have to be in the gym getting ripped. You can go for a walk at the park or do something else low impact like Tai Chi. It’s not just for older folks. Also exercise not only builds muscles, it builds self-confidence!
- Ask yourself some grounding questions:
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
“What good may come from facing my fear?” Remember your intention.
“What will your life be like once you have done it?”
When it comes to growth, it’s not whether you win or lose it’s how you play the game.
Fear shows up in different ways with varying degrees of haunting effects. Some people are afraid of spiders, others, feet. Whatever your fear may be, if it’s getting in the way of your dreams, take a deep breath and do the thing.
We have one life to live. Each moment is a gift, and we are the result of our actions and decisions. The difference between being afraid and being brave is choice. Which will you choose?