Monday, September 13, 2010

Overcoming Fear

What would you do if you knew you could handle anything that came your way?
-If there was absolutely no fear of failure?
-If you had no fear of what others thought?
-If you felt completely sure of yourself & your capabilities?
Of course, we all have fears.  Without some healthy fear, we’d be jumping off cliffs to our doom & touching hot stoves.  But, at times, fear can be overwhelming & can prevent us from doing what is needed in our lives.
Take, for example, my fear of creatures in the water.  Recently, I decided that I want to participate in a sprint triathlon.  Part of accomplishing my goal includes a ¼ mile swim in open water.  Unfortunately, I’ve always been very afraid of creepy swimmy things living under water.  Those slimy things brushed up against your leg are really scary!  Yikes!!!  OMG!  I could just die!!!  Oh, & the SHARKS?!?!

O.k., deep breath.  This was supposed to be a blog about *OVERCOMING* fears.
We all experience fear.  Unfortunately, the magic wand doesn’t work on fear. And, sitting with our fears, feeling helpless doesn’t seem to be the right answer either.
The key might be to feel the fear & do the thing anyway.  Courage is moving forward despite fear.
So, what’s the plan?
A few weeks ago, I decided to feel the fear & swim with the fishes anyway.  I’d love to tell you that I swam bravely completing my ¼ mile without any panic.  Actually, I only swam about 150 yards.  There was some pretty significant panic involved.  I set up some support systems (husband kayaking beside me, shore really close).  I felt some success, but the fear remains.
I’ve not fully conquered this fear of swimmy, fishy things, but I’m on my way.  Feeling the fear & moving forward – taking small steps in courage towards fearlessly swimming in open water feels scary, but good.
Instead of being paralyzed by my fear, I’m in action.  Action is power!
Taking small steps & risks is a great way to overcome fear.  Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “do one thing every day that scares you.”

In Dr. Susan Jeffers’ wonderful book, Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway, she wrote about the 5 truths of fear:
Truth 1 – The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow
Truth 2 – The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out & do it.
Truth 3 – The only way to feel better about yourself is to go out & do it.
Truth 4 – No only are you’re going to experience fear when you’re on unfamiliar territory, so is everyone else.
Truth 5 – Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from the feeling of helplessness.”

Are you putting something off that you should be doing out of fear?  Have you told yourself, “I can’t.” Is it making you feel helpless?  Overwhelmed?
What can small step can you do right now that can move you forward?  ACTION IS POWER.  Power over your fear feels great.
Feel the fear & do it anyway!  (but hey, stay safe & don’t get eaten by a shark.)

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