We have been so heavily programmed to fear, and now it is time to break free.
Overcoming fear is a process. It begins with awareness and includes a willingness to change your thoughts and behaviors.
Tonight’s episode (#24) kicks off our theme for April which is all about Fear - a huge topic for anyone going through a major life or career change, and basically anyone who is HUMAN. It’s a topic that resonates with us personally too cos let’s face it, all entrepreneurs or business owners face fears throughout their journeys, and would probably agree that it’s a constant battle to rise above the fear mindset.
Truth is, everyone battles with fear at different points in life. It has this sneaky way of disguising itself in emotions - like anger or denial - and inactions - like resistance or procrastination - or in negative self-talk that holds us back from being greater than we are. That’s why fear is the #1 greatest barrier to change - because we’re not always aware of it, but fear is what traps us in our heads and comfort zones.
Tonight’s episode is all about: the journey from Fear to Freedom. So even though fear can be heavy, it doesn’t have to feel heavy or scary to talk about
1. Why fear is the number one barrier to change
2. How to move through a journey from fear to freedom
3. A framework for working through fear
4. Tips for building confidence and courage in life and work
WHY FEAR IS THE NUMBER ONE BARRIER TO CHANGE
Fear is a powerful emotion. It shapes how we feel, think and behave - but usually on a subconscious level. If everyone believed they could handle everything, fear wouldn’t exist. But everyone reacts to fear differently and it can show up as anger, sadness, rejection, or resistance to change.
Fear itself isn’t a bad thing. It is a natural response and nature’s way of keeping us out of danger or harm. But fear isn’t an external ‘thing’ or situation; it is how we perceive things. When we assume a certain outcome or make assumptions about how things will turn out, that’s when fear sneaks up on us. .
Sometimes we’re aware of the fears that stand in our way, but it’s usually less obvious to us. In our personal lives, we might see fear show up when deciding whether to start or end a relationship because of our attachment to people, things, ideas or ideals that we hold on to - even when they no longer serve us. Fear can be all-consuming and even debilitating because what’s familiar and comfortable always seems ‘safer’ than the ‘unknown’.
In our professional lives, fear can show up when we hold back from sharing an idea in a meeting or conversation, or when we struggle to decide whether the career we’re in is really right for us.
That’s why fear hinders us from making positive changes in Life/Work - because we’re not always aware that fear is what’s stopping us. Even when we do recognise it, we don’t always know how to address, what actions to take, or where to seek help.
HOW TO MOVE FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM
So how do we get over the fears that hold us back? It starts with self-awareness. Everyone feels fear, but we all react to it differently. For some the responses is anger; for others it’s frustration or procrastination; stress or anxiety - or even depression. We already know these things can have a long-term negative impact on our health and wellbeing if unaddressed, which is why it’s so important to try and identify the things that trigger our fear.
If you find yourself resisting an idea, possibility, or action, this is usually a sign that something you feel afraid of is underlying your resistance. Fear of the unknown, fear of uncertainty, or fear of parting ways with your comfort zone are some common examples. You might be thinking ‘better safe than sorry’ - why take a risk that you might one day regret, right? But good things can happen when you least expect it. So can bad things. At the end of the day, the only things you’ll really regret are the things you didn’t try to do which means the only real failure is failing to try.
So the first thing to consider is: What do you value more - certainty or freedom?
If you value freedom, this means giving yourself the chance to be greater than you are - by challenging yourself to do things that will stretch you and enable you to discover your full potential.
The journey from fear to freedom - which some might call a spiritual path - challenges us to shift our relationship with uncertainty and learn to trust life even if we can’t always see or fully understand its working forces. Overcoming fear is a process that involves moving through each of its phases.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dive much deeper into the topic of fear to understand the three levels of fear that we all face and understand where you are on your current journey to overcoming fear in order to really be free.
For tonight’s discussion, we’ll focus on the first level of fear which has to do with things that could happen or require action. So often, we make assumptions in our minds that aren’t actually true. We might fear aging, loss of financial security or career status, or falling ill - these are just ideas and beliefs we create in our own heads without any real basis of truth. And because they are assumptions, we can set out to invalidate them for ourselves by taking action. That’s why fear is such a great indicator of where your inner compass is pointing you to.
- You may have heard the famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do"
When we listen and lean in to fear, we discover the things we need to be doing in order to build real confidence and courage from within. To overcome this first level of fear, ask yourself:
What if my fear didn’t exist? What would I do differently?
A FRAMEWORK FOR MOVING FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM
There’s no one way to cope with fear and there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Whether you choose to work with a professional, a family member, spiritual guide, or through your own mindful practice, the following framework from Lissa Rankin’s book The Fear Cure can help you to assess where fear may be holding you back in different areas of your Life/Work and what you can do it about it.
Phase 1: Unconscious Fear of Uncertainty
What it looks like: Avoiding to take risks or action without a sense of certainty about the outcome.
What it feels like: Dangerous, risky, energy-draining
Motto: Better safe than sorry.
Ask yourself: Is staying in my comfort zone really working for me?
Take action: Keep a journal to record situations or events that trigger your fear of uncertainty and how you respond to it. Reflect on how you can reframe your thoughts and behaviour to let go of the need to be sure and embrace the unknown. See it as an adventure!
Phase 2: Conscious Fear of Uncertainty.
What it looks like: Avoiding uncertain situations and trying to control your world.
What it feels like: Anxiety, worry, self-doubt
Motto: Nothing is ever certain in life; there are no guarantees.
Ask yourself: How is my drive for certainty limiting my possibilities? What can my fear teach me about what I need to learn and work on?
Take action: Do 1 thing every day differently from how you normally would and see what happens.
Phase 3: Uncertainty Limbo.
What it looks like: Not entirely at ease with the unknown, but not resisting it either.
What it feels like: Making peace with uncertainty and feeling the freedom that comes with it.
Motto: Find your peace while living in limbo
Ask yourself: How can I follow my curiosity and be open to adventure and new opportunities?
Take action: Question everything. Challenge your limiting beliefs and assumptions. Lean into your fear by doing the thing you’ve been holding back on - starting that passion project, volunteering to speak at an event, writing that article or blog post, or calling that person you’ve been thinking about.
Phase 4: Uncertainty Seduction
What it looks like: Immersing in the discovery process instead of having to ‘know’ everything
What it feels like: Becoming an adventurer, seduced by the unknown
Motto: Everything I want is on the other side of fear
Ask yourself: How can I tune in to my intuition and let it guide me?
Take action: Cultivate a practice of reconnecting with yourself on a deeper level and nurturing your soul - meditate, journal, or spend time in nature.
Phase 5: Surrender and trust.
When we learn not to fear or anticipate outcomes, we allow yourself to be guided in ways you may not understand until you look back.
What it looks like: Being open to wonder while practicing discernment.
What it feels like: Trusting in life’s bigger purpose, unseen forces, and the meaning in all outcomes.
Motto: I trust the process and unseen forces that are guiding me in ways I may not yet understand.
Ask yourself: How can I let go of control and learn to trust the process of becoming?
Take action: Take a walk and get lost. Do something that goes against the grain of what you firmly believe or try to let go of something or someone you’ve been holding onto.
Just remember: the journey to freedom is a process and isn’t necessarily a linear one. Because we’re often more comfortable with uncertainty is some areas of our lives than in others, it’s possible to be at different stages of your journey in your professional life and love life, for example.
FINAL TIPS FOR BUILDING CONFIDENCE AND COURAGE IN LIFE AND WORK
Go gently forward as you navigate your fears. Be kind and compassionate with yourself when you experience fear instead of getting angry, frustrated or upset.
Understand that fear is a sign that you are lacking knowledge, self-awareness or tools to help you cultivate a positive and possibility mindset in order to create more options for yourself.
Stop judging yourself. Recognise that you have everything you need within you and that wherever you are, you are in the right place. You don’t need anyone or anything to change for you to be OK.
Take one step at a time and pat yourself on the back for taking those steps. Instead of obsessing over where you need to go, celebrate what you’ve already achieved and every small win.
Recognise that fear itself is not the problem - or a bad thing - it is only your perception of a situation.
Focus on what you want and know that there is a hidden lesson in everything that happens. Fear gives us guidance about what we need to take the next step and reach beyond our limits in order to be more and do more.
Trust your own timing, your own path, and your own journey. It is not a race, and the only timeline that matters is yours. Remember it’s a process!
We’re excited to announce that we’ve finally set the date (14th May) for our next in-take for our 6-wk immersive online course: How To Confidently Create Your Bold Career Move!
If fear is blocking you from making a career change or keeping you stuck at a career crossroads, then this course is for you. We’ll be sharing much more on exactly what goes on inside the course with our early-interest subscribers so be sure to sign up at bit.ly/boldcareer to receive our updates or drop us a note via FB Messenger with your questions!