"There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." --Aristotle
Fear. It's one of the most basic human emotions, yet it's one that prevents a majority of us from living our greatest potential or following our hearts. Two clients emailed me within a few days expressing the paralyzing fear that had overtaken them as they were starting to make some serious headway toward pursuing their dream work. These messages struck such a tender place in my heart because I have been there too.
Countless wildly successful people have mentioned that they experienced some level of fear just as they were about to launch to the next level. The ones that actually do make the launch to the next level are those that keep their fear in check. Almost everyone experiences fear, but I wanted to find out what set aside those that were able to overcome their fears and accomplish phenomenal feats and live their life's purpose compared to those that let fear overtaken them and force them back to lives of mediocrity.
The three greatest categories of fear that I hear women complain about are:
1) Fear of failing
2) Fear of not being "enough"
3) Fear of disappointing people
But what can we actually do to overcome these fears? First, recognize that you aren't alone. My friend Patty (whose is a super successful entrepreneur) recommends talking to people who have already done what you want to do. When I started doing that, I realized that every intelligent, successful woman I knew had experienced lots of fear AND STILL ACCOMPLISHED AMAZING THINGS! Like Patty, hearing other women's stories let me know that I am not alone, which gave me relief and the courage to keep moving forward.
Another great tip is to reach out for support. When my clients email me in the middle of the night confessing that they are paralyzed with fear, I have an opportunity to let them know I've been there and offer my love and support. Sometimes all we need is a little love and reassurance.
Who can you reach out to when fear is threatening to shut you down?
Develop relationships and create networks of people that you can lean on when you need a little encouragement. Your "people" can help bolster your courage and offer ideas on how you can move forward.
Another highly successful woman, Suzanne, suggested that when she's overcome with fear, she moves her body. Through movement, she is able to move and release the fearful energy. She also mentioned that when she is physically engaged, she is more present in the moment and able to have a more realistic and positive perspective on everything
Here are three concrete actions that you can take to combat your fears:
1) Fully embrace the fact that you cannot fail. If things do not work out as well as you'd hoped or don't work at all, then see it as an opportunity to readjust, re-energize, and try again with more wisdom and experience.
2) You ARE enough. By your very nature of being here on this earth, you are enough. Avoid comparing yourself to others and really focus on being the very best that you can in your own journey. With practice and meditation, fear of "not being enough" will simply go away.
3) Learn to disappoint with grace. It's never easy to let people down, but saying no in order to protect your energy and wellness is something we all have to learn as our schedules become crazier and we have more demands on our time. When done with authenticity and kindness, disappointing people can be the most liberating skill you'll ever learn.
How do you overcome fear? I want to know what works for you, so please share in the comments below or join me on my website!
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