How do you deal with fear when it comes knocking? Are you able to tell the difference between the FEAR that serves you and the FEAR that harms you?
Luckily we’re born with the innate ability to detect DANGER. That reptilian part of our brain goes into overdrive sending niggling sensations to our gut that inform us something is wrong/bad/dangerous/could hurt us. If it weren’t for these incredible instincts the human species wouldn’t have survived various periods of time.
At some point in your life you’ve experienced fear that served you, even though it might not have been comfortable at the time. It could have been a feeling that you should wait an extra second before crossing the street, or a gut instinct that you need to choose another path, maybe you simply have a fear of heights or itty bitty critters. Either way these more or less harmless fears keep us safe and help us avoid danger when we listen to our gut instincts.
For me this kind of fear is paramount in my job as a professional firefighter. It’s my guide, allowing me to feel when there is imminent danger present. Don’t get me wrong I’m not “afraid” to step into a burning building that’s loaded with combustible fuels (i.e. furniture, bedding, books, wood etc.), I merely let the good fear guide me safely, forcing me to look at the big picture, to locate a second means of egress, get a visual on the smoke so I can understand the duration and location of fire, to estimate if there are possible victims inside, locate the tools I will need, test my footing to ensure its secure and of course do this within a matter of seconds so I can make certain I go home at the end of the day.
I LOVE the fear that serves us, that protects us in unimaginable ways and acts as our barometer, notifying us of dangerous situations. The FEAR that scares the bejesus out of me is the FEAR that often goes unrecognized.
We typically blame this feeling on everything other than what it really is, plain ole’ fear.
Fear of the unknown, fear of getting it wrong, fear that we aren’t good enough, we don’t have enough money, fear that we aren’t beautiful, deserving, or worthy. The list can go on and on and cover all aspects of our life from relationships, work, family, friends and especially money.
This pesky little feeling often shows up in the form of resistance that shadows our thoughts and makes us feel less than, incapable. So when an opportunity arises that would be perfect for us we find a way to talk ourselves out of it simply out of FEAR!
Simple, trust your gut. Our gut is never wrong, it alerts us to situations that aren’t ideal. Whether it’s precarious circumstances, hazardous to our being or merely a decision. The more we listen and hone this skill of intuition the louder and better it gets, answering us before we’ve even asked the question.
Want to call out the bad fear that does more harm then good? Try this easy exercise, flip a coin tales being one decision and heads being another, if it lands on tales and you’re disappointed then its your GUT telling you that the heads decision was always the right answer! No need to follow the coin let your gut instincts do the talking.
Another way to look at it is if you were planning a dinner party. You’d likely have a couple people that you’d choose to sit beside. That is your gut talking. If you had let fear plan the seating arrangements you’d likely pick the people you’re afraid of, the one’s who you fear judge you so you’d keep them close to attempt to control the situation instead of actually having fun. This analogy works well when creating a team for projects or pulling together new business associates as well.
We always have a choice how we respond to fear. Think of your life as a campfire that takes fuel to stay alive, there are two piles of wood to pick from to feed your fire; it takes the exact same amount of energy and effort to pull from either pile. One pile is full of FEAR logs, wood that holds us back, keeps us playing small, and doesn’t allow us to grow. Or we can pull from the pile filled with LOVE logs that allow us to shine, expand, stretch our boundaries, chase our dreams and be the best version of ourselves. What pile are you going to choose to fuel your life fire?