The goal is not to be fearless.
You consistently hear messages about putting fear aside and being fearless. To keep yourself in a place where you avoid feeling fear is to resist the very nature of being human - growing, learning, feeling and ultimately creating.
To be human requires you to feel fear. When you keep trying to make it go away and you are still alive, you can experience tension.
The goal is to be in a long term, committed relationship with fear. Only by accepting that fear will always be there for you can you become curious about what it has to teach you. When you get to know fear from curiosity, you can transform the angst and tension into patience.
This relationship can be one of the most fruitful ones you have.
Here are 20 questions to ask yourself and step into curiosity:
- What am I actually afraid of?
- Am I afraid of the process or the result?
- Do I feel that I can handle the process? Do I feel like I can handle the outcome?
- Do I feel confident in my abilities to perform?
- Do I feel that I have to perform and I don't want to?
- Am I pressuring myself to make a decision quickly when I don't have enough information?
- Can I get more information?
- Is my sense of worth at stake in this moment? If so, why? Can I drop the question of worthiness?
- Am I trying to protect myself from a particular outcome? If so, why? Am I actually not equipped to handle the outcome or do I just feel inadequate?
- Can I read a book, take a class, do a Google search to feel more knowledgeable?
- Do I know someone who has been in this position before who can provide detail around what currently feels abstract and scary? Would I be willing to ask them honest questions?
- Am I scared that I may make a mistake? Am I allowed to make mistakes?
- Am I scared or was I told this is scary and so I am adapting another's fear?
- Am I scared of being wrong? Is my self worth tied to being right? If so, why? Can I allow myself to be wrong?
- Am I scared of feeling a feeling, because the feeling is overwhelming?
- Can I allow myself to feel an overwhelming feeling and know that it will pass?
- Am I putting all my eggs in one basket and pressuring myself to succeed on the first attempt? Is there a way to diversify my efforts?
- Am I scared of what another person might think of me?
- If a person has a negative opinion of me, what impact will that actually have on my day to day life?
- When was the last time I felt this fear? Will I be able to handle this situation differently than the last time I felt this specific fear?
If you sit with each of these questions and answer them from an honest place, you will have clarity and patience. Your answers will provide information to create an action list from an empowered place and allow you to grow and succeed.