There’s a new “F” Word in town.
It’s a bad word, but it’s not the word you’re thinking of… even though it is a particularly nasty sucker.
This new “F” word is responsible for all manner of destruction, heartache, and regret. It has the power to keep us from everything we want most.
I’m talking about FEAR.
It’s not the fear you feel when you watch a horror flick. Not the fear at the top of a roller coaster. Not even the fear of a near-miss on the freeway when some jerk driver cuts you off and your heart pounds and you could swear that just another inch or two and you’d have been a goner.
I mean Fear with a capital F. The Fear that makes you want to freeze, or vomit, or turn around and run. It makes your knees wiggle and your shoulders bunch. It whispers in your ear and tells you “You can’t,” or “You shouldn’t,” and introduces another potent F-word: “Failure.”
This kind of Fear is a barrier.
It’s a wall, a moat, a fifty-foot-high fence that lets you peek through the gaps to the other side where the sun shines and flowers flourish and unicorns frolic, and you think there’s no way that could be attainable or even real… so you walk away.
Okay, forget about the unicorns. 😉
How to face your fears
Just consider for a moment whatever it is you desire more than anything else. What would you chase after if you knew you couldn’t fail? Where would you go? What would you do? What’s on the other side of YOUR Fear Fence?
And why aren’t you climbing it?
Fear is a powerful thing, but let me show you how you can kick it to the curb.
Acknowledge your fear
So, you need to climb over this fence that’s stopping you from getting what you want in life.
The first step to climbing anything is to get a foothold. In this case, your foothold is your awareness of the situation. Acknowledge your Fear for what it is: a simple, sneaky little emotion that’s holding you back. Acknowledge your position: standing on THIS side of the “Fear Fence,” wanting to be on THAT side. And acknowledge your responsibility: if you want to get to THAT side, you have to DO something about it.
No one is going to bust down that fence for you.
One of the key points I make to anyone I work with is that they are 100% responsible for the lives they live. You are not only capable of success you’re also 100% responsible for your success or lack of it. So what comes after that first foothold? Another. And another. Climbing the Fear Fence requires action and perseverance. It requires you to repeatedly decide, with every step, that this is what you want.
Let go of old habits
Fear is often rooted in old stories and old habits.
Ask yourself, “Why am I afraid of reaching for something new, something bigger?” Maybe you experienced failure in the past, and you want to avoid any more of those feelings of inadequacy. Maybe there was something you once longed for deeply, but you never achieved or attained it, so you think “Why bother?” Or maybe failure was reprimanded, so you decided it was safer to not try at all.
It’s time for a change.
Suck it up, Buttercup; the pity party is over. This life is yours, and it’s up to YOU to make it what you want it to be. Let those old stories fall out of your pockets as you climb that fence. You don’t need them anymore. They are like stones, weighing you down, and it will get immeasurably easier to climb as they drop away.
Change the dialogue
Every moment is a new chance to define yourself.
Every step you take is either moving you away from that fence or propelling you up and over it. You’re either someone who says, “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do it,” “I don’t deserve it”; or you’re a rock star, shouting, “Screw you, fence, I don’t care how tall you are, you won’t keep me from my dreams!!”
Everybody gets scared and that’s okay.
It’s normal. It’s natural. And it’s necessary. Fear is meant to protect us. But sometimes, like a helicopter parent, it gets a little overzealous in its job. The cute picket fence with the gate suddenly turns into our fifty-foot barricade. That’s when it starts interfering with our ability to live the life we really want, and that’s when it’s time for a little rebellion.
Figure out what you’re afraid of
You have your foothold. You’re on your way up. Now I ask you: What is this fence made of? I don’t mean wood or steel or chain-link. Really look at the “material” beneath your hands and notice what it is that stands between you and your goal.
Is it really as insurmountable as you think it is?
Believe in yourself
You know your goal is attainable. You’ve seen others who have achieved what you desire. So you know it’s possible. But you wonder if it’s possible for YOU. Could YOU possibly get there, too? Could YOU have that job, that relationship, that life? Do YOU have what it takes? What’s the difference between them and you?
What makes them so special?
The thing that sets them apart — these achievers and leaders and dream manifesters — is their mindset. They BELIEVE they can do it. They BELIEVE they deserve it. And they don’t let anything stand in their way. If they find themselves confronted by a fear fence, they will climb over it, or dig under it, or go around it. And if it is too high and too deep and too wide, they will hammer a big ol’ hole right through the middle of it, no matter how long it takes.
Don’t look for someone to blame
Lots of things can hold us back… but Fear is almost always the founding factor.
We point our finger at our circumstances, our history, our finances, our responsibilities, our lack of credentials or experience. We lay the blame everywhere but in our own lap. Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not afraid — it’s just not the right time, or it just doesn’t make sense, or it’s just not feasible.” Those are all just variations on a theme: “I’m afraid I’m not ready,” “I’m afraid it’s a dumb idea,” “I’m afraid it won’t work out.”
Your reasons are really your excuses.
Knock it off and find your foothold. Dig into your excuses and acknowledge the underlying fear. Empty your pockets of your old stories, and start climbing. That fence isn’t there to keep you from the life of your dreams… it’s there to see how badly you really want it, and there’s another F-word waiting for you on the other side:
I hope you’re feeling as pumped as I am to face your fears now! What’s sitting on the other side of your Fear Fence? Let me know in the comments below!