I am a control freak in recovery. Though I’ve improved at dealing with last minute changes of plan and “going with the flow”, I still struggle when I feel afraid. But after the burnout 7 years ago, I realized that living from fear was not just going to make me sad, it would cause irreparable damage.
Often my choices propel me into situations which force me to be flexible – this is a conscious move. I gain so much from challenging scenarios, and have survived so many, that my inner daredevil regularly pushes my outer scaredycat gently in the direction of the unknown.
So how do we quell the choir of doubt in our head? How do we get past fear to make meaningful change?
Just as turbulence is a natural part of flight, fear is a natural part of life. Rather than tensing up when it occurs, I try to relax, acknowledge the fear is there and let it be, like some harmless but large Australian spider. It means no harm!
|Emotional roller coaster aka my daily fear confrontation|
Assess the worst possible scenario. The likelihood of that eventuating. Observe whether the fear is really justified or errs on the side of extreme. Mine tends to verge on the off-the-scale crazy; evaluating it with a pinch of objectivity helps me determine its validity.
Work out the likely outcome as if you were an optimistic person (if you actually are, congrats). This can be tough to predict but is fun, because it encourages me to dream a little. Often I’ll realize around this point that what I want to do is reasonable and achievable and my fear is cute but unwarranted.
The underlying notion is that fear means well: it wants to keep us out of highly dangerous and/ or embarrassing situations. The problem is sometimes it becomes so strong it keeps us from doing what we want it, because what we want is something new or the outcome is uncertain. This sucks! Because unchecked, fear prevents us living the life we genuinely want – and deserve.
What is your fear stopping you from doing? If you listened to your fear but didn’t live by it, what would happen?