The words of George Addair often ring through my head: “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
That sounds great, doesn’t it? But what does it mean for you in your daily life? How do you actually do it? How do you go about finding the other side of fear?
When I read this quote, it almost seems like I just need to take one small step across the border between fear and no fear and everything will work out. However, as we know all too well, sometimes taking that first step can be an incredibly difficult and frightening thing. Sadly, there is no way around fear, no bypass. The only way to conquer the fear is to look it in the eyes.
I want to share with you my favorite way to deal with it. There are three steps to this technique.
1. Name that fear!
First of all, you have to be really honest with yourself and name what kind of fear you are dealing with. This essential first step requires complete truth. Make a list, write it all down, put a finger on it and get to the core of your fear. It’s very important to label and correctly identify as they say “the elephant in the room”.
Ask yourself: “What is it that you are so afraid of?”
Here is a story of one of my own fears…
One of my excuses for not starting my own business was that I didn’t want to work alone. In my corporate career, I had a busy role which involved constantly interacting with people from all over the world. My office door was constantly swinging with people coming and going. It made me alive to be in the heart of business matters and being able to make the difference for people. I not only loved this interaction, but I also loved the opportunity to mix with a multicultural and diverse group of people.
This always gave me so many insights into people and allowed me to see different perspectives. It also invigorated me and provided me with tons of energy. I loved the feeling that is connected to people & business gave me, and I thrived on it.
So, I was very afraid that this need I had wouldn’t be met when I began working for myself as a coach. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not have any work colleagues. I feared that I would feel lonely and disconnected from the world. I was afraid that seeing a few clients each week would not be enough of interaction and impact for changing people’s lives.
Step one, I needed to notice the story I run and label that fear very clearly. That would go something like this:
If I work as a coach without any colleagues, I will feel lonely and disconnected from people. I won’t get the energy I crave from socializing and collaborating or gain as many perspectives, insights, and inspirations. I won’t be able to contribute and make a difference for many people because I won’t be in the business place where all important things and decisions are happening.
2. Challenge and question your fear.
Now that you have identified your fear and put a label on it, the next step is to challenge and question this fear. If you are strongly attached to fear and it feels really true, firstly ask yourself some questions to detach from it. I highly recommend the 4 questions suggested by Byron Katie*:
1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to question 3.)
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who or what would you be without the thought?
It is very important to realize that your fear is only a thought in your head, just an idea out of many possibilities you chose to focus on. In other words, the only thing you are scared of here is a thought.
The only thing you are scared of is a thought.
In the world, where everything is possible, there is an unlimited amount of perceptions and beliefs. Everything you believe in your head reflects and manifests in real life as a projection of it. So, why not to choose a better feeling thought about it instead?
You can challenge your fear by going to the question that usually guides you straight to the other side of it:
What if the opposite is in fact true?
Because you have already written down your fear, you can now simply write down the exact opposite, quickly and easily.
Let’s return to my own fear to see what that would look like…
What if, working as a coach, I will have more colleagues and feel more connected to people. I will get even more energy from socializing and gain far more perspectives, insights, and inspirations. And I will make an even bigger difference for more people.
To think the opposite in the eyes of fear can feel stretchy and mind-blowing sometimes. Even if it doesn’t feel true at that moment, doing it still has a great benefit. It disrupts an automatic pattern within your brain. By not allowing your fear to be reinforced, you break the momentum and focus of it as a firmly-held belief. Sometimes only this question can be enough to stop your procrastination and enable you to move towards action.
3. Collect the evidence for an empowering thought.
Your fear has been named and you have challenged the legitimacy of that fear. The next step is to collect as much evidence as possible to support your new, opposite viewpoint.
“A belief is just a thought you keep thinking.” – Esther Hicks of Abraham-Hicks Publishing.
So, by re-imagining and re-focusing your fear and collecting fresh facts, you put the spotlight on the newly formed idea. You compound it until it becomes your new firmly held belief and has manifested itself in your life.
How did this impact my own fear?
One year after writing down, labeling and challenging my own fear, I realized it turned out to be even more opposite than I could have imagined back then. Now, I work at several offices and not only do I have colleagues/clients from all over the world but even better, now I get to choose them. This all has allowed me to find a healthy and natural rhythm where my working needs, my self-realization, and energy balancing needs are being met even better. Due to that, I now find myself more fulfilled and energized than ever before. And most importantly, it has allowed me to have a deeper and truer connection with people. Now, I am really able to be at the core where the most important things happen in life – people’s hearts and places of raw vulnerability. I’ve never lived my personal life’s purpose better.
Who could have thought it? This is this the thing about fear – it can never see what you will gain, it always only sees what you will lose.
Fear can never see what you will gain, it always only sees what you will lose.
What is the fear that stops you from living your life to its full potential? Did you ever consider that maybe, just maybe, the opposite is true? So, go on. Step one….name that fear.
* THE WORK OF BYRON KATIE
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