08/07/2011 08:53 am ET | Updated Oct 07, 2011

3 Steps to Facing and Chasing Your Fear

You know how I love to take inventory and encourage you to do the same. If you've been following my blog, you probably already know this list. But for those of you who are new to my blog, here's an at-a-glance list of my top fears, most of which I've managed to act in the face of at least a few times:

  • Difficult conversations in which I have to give or hear negative feedback.
  • Any time I ever lead a live event, workshop or retreat.
  • Filming for my TV show.
  • New sexual endeavors.
  • Guest blogging anywhere new.
  • Driving in New York City.
  • Giving up sugar -- this felt entirely scary for a while, then I got used to it. Currently I have sugar occasionally, but it is no longer an addiction.
  • Jumping off the high dive. I did that just to prove that I could; I was scared silly, but felt empowered after.

It's important to remember that, like I have, you too have already faced a bunch of your fears and overcome them. Take a moment to think about all the ones you've conquered and how good it felt. Ask yourself, "What did I have to call forth?"

Now, make a list of the fears you're still working on (or avoiding). Commit to spend the rest of this year facing and chasing those fears. Facing your fears will give you pride and self-respect. Chasing your fears, and using them as a way to know you're up to something big in your life, is not only empowering, but is also the key to your highest highs.

The Handel Method® offers a few steps for facing and chasing your fears:

  1. Learn to discern when you are afraid. I often feel cranky, overwhelmed or nit-picky when I am afraid. I have a vague sense that something is wrong and I am likely to take it out on someone else. These are my red flags. Discover yours so you know when fear is at large and controlling you. Once you realize what's happening, you'll feel relief and begin to get your thoughts and feelings back in your control, from this place you can take smart actions.
  2. Get excited that you are afraid! (This is not the same as worry or feeling bad, which are diversions.) If you are doing something outside your comfort zone, something that puts you at risk, that's pretty remarkable. Shift to feeling proud.
  3. Write a letter to fear. Let fear know you will be welcoming it from now on and that you will be the author of your relationship. I have to share the one my husband wrote because it is so inspiring!

Dear Fear,

I wanted to write you a threatening letter, in hopes that it would make you go away once and for all. You are not welcome in my life. I know I invited you, and I know I keep feeding you, which is an obvious disincentive for your departure, but in my heart of hearts I have not deeply embraced you, and it will be one of the great accomplishments of my life never to do so.

It's interesting the coping behaviors you bring up in me. Rather than feel your presence, I intoxicate myself with alcohol, food, sex, anger and even shopping -- you know, procuring "solutions" to my problems. It's a relief when I'm too busy and I have no time for you.

Needless to say, turning toward you is my salvation, and has been time and again. When I don't feel your presence, it's a good indication I have turned away from the path and gone some easy route. Every time I have waded into you, it has produced the exceptional results of my life: my education, my wife, my children, my career choices and my most difficult, needed communications.

So, in the end, in spite of my rudeness, and in spite of my intention to reject you and eject you, I must embrace you as perhaps the truest best friend I ever had. Many, many thanks.


In closing, I want you to know that I know it is not easy to be the sore thumb, the brave one, the bigger (wo)man or the one who speaks up. I know you think it would be better to save the risk or have the other person go first. But here's the problem: It won't bring you the pride or satisfaction you really want. True pride and joy come from doing the brave thing, getting over the voice of the chicken or the brat and acting in accordance with your highest ideals, even if other people don't agree or are uncomfortable at first. Handel Group™ life coaching is, at its heart, about finding your courage and acting on it.

Love, Laurie

p.s. Begin the process of uncovering and designing the "real you" and consider taking him or her out into the world. Join me and my special guest Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love for "Fear: Let's Face It" teleseminar on Thursday, August 25 at 8:30-9:30pm. Only $10 with promo code: August50.