“Hello Fear. Thank you for being here. You’re my indication that I’m doing what I need to do.” –
Cheryl Strayed – Best Selling Author of ‘Wild’
What would your life be like if you shifted your perspective on fear and welcomed it instead of trying to avoid it?
I think Cheryl Strayed nailed it. Fear is simply a primal, hardwired, heads up that we’re in uncharted territory and an opportunity to recognize that there’s something in our life that needs attention. It’s a little warning bell that was originally intended to keep us from being treated like a toothpick by pre-historic animals sporting 8-foot-long teeth. Thankfully, that kind of beast is long gone. But, now the beast is within us. In coaching, we call it a Gremlin.
So, how do you process your fear gremlin? Do you feel it in the pit of your stomach and immediately shut down? Do you run for cover? Or do you face it squarely and ask yourself ‘Hmmm, I wonder what THAT’S about?’.
Fear is the emotion that will always keep us stuck in old patterns, old beliefs and clinging to old wounds that have long outlived their useful shelf life of learning.
In my last post, I talked about how perspective is our lens to how we view and process life. What about shifting our perspective on fear and welcoming it as a sign there’s a place within us that needs attention and healing? Would that make a difference to how you feel about it?
The thing about fear is that, once you shine the light of truth on it and honestly and openly dig down to what’s behind it, the source of the fear never seems to be anywhere as bad as what you’ve imagined it to be.
So, where is fear holding you back in your life? What fears are keeping you from doing, creating, loving or experiencing things that will make your life happier, healthier and fulfilled?
Well…It’s time to send your fear gremlin a little wake-up call! Let it know you acknowledge it, but you aren’t going to let it continue to keep you from trying new experiences or taking new paths.
In the book ‘Wild’, Cheryl Strayed made it her quest to face her personal fears by walking over a thousand miles from California to Washington state on the Pacific Crest Trail and she did it 100% alone. When interviewed by Oprah one day, she was asked how she found the strength to face such a monumental and scary task.
Her response was: “If you take that risk, if you take that chance, if you tell the truest, deepest, hardest story you have in you, you aren’t going to step into the light and find that you are there alone. You’ll be surrounded by people saying ‘me too!”
That’s the thing about fear. You always feel like you’re experiencing it all alone. That it’s your burden to bear, to navigate and conquer. Well, here’s a newsflash! We ALL experience it. There are plenty of us that are saying ‘Me Too!’ right along with you.
But, we have a choice. Do we choose to manage it and make it work for our personal good or do we willingly let it shackle us to limitation and self-doubt?
Here’s the good news. You don’t have to walk a thousand miles through bear infested wilderness to understand you CAN master fear. I know you have it in you! We all do!
So, next time the Fear Gremlin comes to visit you, smile! Tell it ‘thank you’! Then schedule a little nurturing and reflective time for yourself to find out what needs to be moved out of your life that is no longer serving you, then look ahead, because your future is bright with new beginnings!