A few days ago, I was cleaning out a backpack that my daughter used last summer when we were in Park City, Utah on vacation. This backpack was one that she wore every day to her skateboarding class. At the bottom of the backpack, I found a piece of crumpled paper and pulled it out. It was an evaluation form from her skateboarding instructor, Drew, with these comments: “Learn to relax and face fear. Trust in Yourself.” This got me thinking about how Smart Women learn to face their own fears.
We all have fear about something. Fear of heights, fear of snakes, fear of rollercoasters. Many times these fears are related to childhood. I’m fearful of snakes. It was a big deal in our family when I was young. We lived on a farm in the mountains and in the summertime, my grandfather, “Pop,” would continually share with us the danger of snakes and to be careful at all times. You hear that “message” enough and your fear begins to grow. As a young woman, this fear began to alter my life experiences. For example, I would not go hiking with a friend on a hot summer day for fear of snakes. However, when my children got to the age where they wanted to go to the zoo, I had to face my fear. Why? My children do not know that I fear snakes. And guess what? I do not want to create that fear for them so I oblige them when they want to go to the “reptile center.” Do I feel anxious? Yes. But it’s something that I must move through.
Fear can affect your life in so many ways. One of the big “fears” is fear of failure. Fear of trying anything new because you are afraid it might not work out—you might fail. This is why many of us do not share our goals or even write them down on paper. I read an interesting study recently that only 3% of the population writes down their goals. Why? Fear. What if someone reads the paper and finds out you did not accomplish the goal? Fear is an emotion that we feel that appears to be real. This feeling can keep you trapped where you are in life. You can remain stuck in a place that no longer serves you. Fear can keep you from stepping into a place full of energy, passion, and purpose. It can hold you back from realizing your Big Idea, Dreams, and Goals.
How about you? Is there something that you dream of doing but you know that fear is holding you back? Do you get excited about taking action on a Big Idea only to talk yourself out of it with a fear-based conversation? One of my coaches shared with me, “If the desire is there, the how-to will come.” If you desire something new or different in your life, now is the perfect time to look that fear in the eye and really ask yourself on a deeper level if the emotion you are feeling is real. Here are a few solutions that can help you conquer your fear and step into your Big Idea, Dreams, and Goals:
1. Ask yourself this question: What facts do I have to support this fear becoming real? Where is the “truth” in this feeling of fear? See if you can find answers to support it. (My guess is you won’t—I’ve never been bitten by a snake.)
2. To help you overcome fear and believe in yourself, grab a pen and some paper. Write down all of the compliments that people have given you over the years. This is an exercise that I use every time I’m getting ready to step into something new in my life. I pull out all of the rave reviews that women have sent me and I read them. You will be surprised how powerful and “fearless” you become after doing this exercise.
3. Surround yourself with a group of people who are supportive. In my Women’s Success Circles, we call these people “possibility thinkers.” Spend time with those who can think in terms of possibility. Most negative thoughts and conversations come out of fear-based thinking. When you are stepping into your preferred future, you want to minimize contact with fearful, negative people.
It’s interesting where we find the lessons in our lives. I certainly did not think that it would be in my 6-year-old daughter’s backpack. Take a leap of faith and begin this New Year with belief in yourself. “Learn to relax and face fear. Trust in yourself.”