Fear prevents us from moving forward. It keeps us feeling stuck, and it gets in the way of us expressing our fullest potential.
What are we so afraid of? Very often, it’s failure. Fear of failing is at the base of almost every coaching conversation I have (both with my own coach and with my own clients!).
Do you know what’s scarier to me than the fear of failing? It’s the fear of not living my best life because I was too afraid to try something that excited me.
For those of you who watched This Is Us, you may remember that the characters Beth and Randall played a game called The Worst Case Scenario. I love playing this game with my clients because it allows them to articulate the worst potential outcome of their available choices. They often discover that the worst case isn’t that bad, or it’s as likely as my kids having two matching shoes on the correct feet ready to walk out the door at 8AM (note: this has never happened).
So how does fear serve us? It keeps us safe (we think) by stopping us in our tracks and overwhelming us with “what ifs?”. But too often, those thoughts lead to self-imposed roadblocks, stopping us from doing something bold or new.
It’s not your fault either. Our brains are designed to keep us safe by telling us whether it’s time to fight, take flight or freeze. This part of brain is incredibly useful when we’re running from a lion or climbing a rock that’s not meant to be climbed but our husband encourages (*makes*) us do it anyway. But our brains are unreliable as it relates to what’s truly dangerous. Which means: in addition to fear getting in the way, our brain’s perception of safety also gets in the way.
More on the brain here.
And so, PEOPLE SPEND TOO MUCH OF THEIR LIVES IN FREEZE-MODE. STUCK.
How can we get unstuck? We work on our mindset.
I spend a lot of time with my clients doing just that. We look closely at the fear and understand its legitimacy. We retrain the brain to have new thoughts that aren’t based in fear, but based in opportunity. We shift perspectives on safety and view any potential failure as a learning opportunity rather than a mistake. We take tiny steps to show the brain that we’re not in trouble. We feel courageous. We get brave.
Think about a decision you’re making because it feels safe or because you feel afraid.
What if your brain is wrong? Look at the results you’re getting from having that thought and ask yourself how that thought is serving you, if at all.
Stop asking yourself “Am I safe?”.
Instead, ask yourself, “If I want to live my best life to my fullest potential, how scary would it be if I didn’t make this new choice?”
What kind of fear are you willing to experience?