Tuesday, 21 January 2014

It's Scary Stuff

There are two kinds of fear.  Fears that are rational and that are there to keep us safe, and those that are irrational and hold us back in life. 

Rational fears can be healthy. They are the ones that keep you from wandering too close to the edge of a the roof, or from jumping into Niagara Falls.  They are the instinctual auto responses that your body provides to help keep you alive. I vote, listen to them. 

But then there are those other fears. The slightly irrational ones that keep us from experiencing and from growing beyond that which we already know. These are the stage fright fears that makes public speaking terrifying. The nervous stomach that keeps you from letting loose on the dance floor. The shy side that keeps you in your seat instead of approaching that handsome man across the room. The unsettled worry that creeps in when you think about quitting your job and pursuing something new and different. 

When a fear presents itself we can find ourselves quite quickly at a fork in our road. A point where a decision of some magnitude is required in order to move on.  So what should you do when you find yourself at this point in your path?? 

First, a quick assessment of the situation.  Ask yourself, 'What is it that is happening right now and are there risks to my well-being involved??' If you find yourself at the edge of the roof of a 10 story building, might I suggest that yes, there is risk to your well-being and that it is a healthy and rational fear that is telling you to back away from danger.  But, if you find yourself in a situation where, although scary in the moment, there are certain precautions or behaviours that you can adopt to keep yourself safe while engaging in what will ultimately prove to move you beyond where you currently find yourself to be feeling stuck..... I say go for it!! Take the new job even though public speaking may be something scary that you will have to learn to do. There are meditations to help calm your nerves, or practice classes that you can take to train yourself in a new skill. Go ahead, get up in front of a crowd of strangers and dance. Let the music move you because the free feeling of fun will be well worth it. Approach that handsome man and risk opening your still healing heart to a new relationship. (On a personal note, that last one took me giving myself more than one real pep talk, but it has been the most rewarding risk I have ever taken. A longer story for another day) 

There are MANY stories about successful people who seem to have appeared from thin air.  So many household names of the now famous and successful who really were anything but magical in the achieving their goals. Household Diva Martha Stewart was a stock broker before she became the authority on anything creative, but she could fold a fitted sheet even then. College drop out George Clooney picked tobacco and worked as a shoe salesman in Cincinnati while being passed on for stage roles, but he kept practicing and auditioning.  Authour J.K. Rowling was fired from her secretarial job for daydreaming too much while at work, but she went on to write down her day dreamy thoughts. Though I haven't spoken to any of these three personally I would wager that there was a certain amount of fear that they had to assess and then decide to move beyond before they began to live the experiences that we now know them for. 

What I want to share with you this week, is that fear is a natural state. And yes some fears are for real reasons. But then there are those sneaky other ones. The ones that if we really want to move beyond, we can. With a little planning, some creative out of the box thinking, and a certain amount of patience and practice, we CAN move beyond.  Trying and failing does not mean it was not  meant to be. It means that it was not meant to be right now. It means that there was something to be learned and practiced first. 

Remember the exhilarating rush of pride in yourself that you felt after you completed your first piano recital or your first karate exam?? THAT is the feeling of moving beyond irrational fear. THAT is expansion. 

You came to this world to live and live you shall. 

May you let only the most rational fears be the ones to hold you back. 

What is something that you have pursued, failed at and tried again?? How did it feel when you failed and how did it feel when you finally succeeded??  When have you moved beyond a fear that felt irrational to find success?? Was it worth the effort??

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