We Have Nothing to Fear But . . .
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Fear was designed to protect us.
It can prevent us from putting ourselves in dangerous situations.
But fear can also be irrational.
Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13.
I’ve never had my life threatened by the number 13, or any other number for that matter.
This fear doesn’t seem to have much utility.
Most of the fear we experience nowadays is like that.
It interferes with our lives and keeps us prisoners within our comfort zones.
Then our comfort zone gets smaller and smaller.
Some other debilitating fears are
· Fear of failure.
· Fear of embarrassment.
· Fear of rejection.
If we give in to these fears, they will prevent us from living the fulfilling life we were meant to live.
They have only as much power over us as we give them.
We can reduce their strength by allowing ourselves to experience them in small doses and surviving.
The most common way we encounter these fears is when we must give a speech or make a presentation.
Our breathing gets shallow. Our heart rate increases. Our hands begin to sweat.
Typical advice is to calm ourselves down, but that is not an effective strategy.
We’re not skilled enough to impose our will on our nervousness and to become completely calm.
A better strategy is to reframe pre-speech jitters as excitement. We then can harness the nervous energy and use it to enhance our performance.
In a similar way, we don’t want to ignore our fears.
Often, our feeling of fear is an important warning. We sense that something is dangerous even though we are not fully aware of what the threat is.
But once we have checked our surroundings and determined there is no real threat, we can proceed with greater awareness in the face of the fear.
Often, the thing we fear is the very thing we need to do.
A regular practice of facing our fears will expand our comfort zone.
We want to become comfortable being uncomfortable.
The more presentations we make, the more comfortable we become.
Courage is not the absence of fear. It is doing what we need to do or what we want to do in the face of fear.
We can meet fear on our own terms.
If we practice putting ourselves in scary situations when the stakes are low, we will be better prepared to overcome our fears when the stakes are higher.
Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.