In the pace of our busy lives, fear has the added advantage of time, or lack thereof in fact. Because we are too busy in our day to day, to take the time to really listen to what fear is trying to tell us or do to us, we often are at the mercy of our fears and hence controlled by them.
If, during your day you are feeling overwhelmed, self-doubt, confused, exhausted or simply stuck, I invite you to take a minute for yourself to honour what is going on. Now this might not seem like it is possible at the time and your fear will convince you that you don’t have the time due to that deadline you have. But all I am asking for is a few minutes and I can assure you that if you don’t, then you run the risk of spiraling out of control and into your fears completely and consequently not meeting that deadline anyway.
So it’s up to you. If you are in the middle of a meeting and you feel these feelings coming on then excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. No one can judge you for a bathroom stop as we all need to go at some time. Then take those few minutes to really get in touch with your fear. Ask yourself “what is it I am really afraid of here” and keep asking yourself that same question until you have an answer that resonates with you. You will know when you have nailed it.
Once you have that feeling and what is really going on then name that fear. Are you afraid you might look stupid or are making a mistake or sounding incompetent? Are you afraid of losing control, losing your job, losing a contract? What is the real fear that is controlling you in that minute and name that sucker.
Once you have it named, say it out loud (even quietly under your breath will work) or even better, tell a safe friend. Say “my name is ……. and in this moment I am afraid of ………”. By saying it out loud and actually taking a couple of minutes to honour your fear, you will be surprised to discover that it will magically take away a lot of the energy that feeling has over you. By naming something it puts you back in control and gives you authority over the situation again. It’s a bit like shaming it by saying it out loud. And just like a child, by giving it the recognition it wants, the emotional hold it has over you then dissipates. This then gives you enough head and heart space to take the next step.
Ask yourself the most important question “is this real?” The majority of our fears are related to either an event that might happen in the future or an experience from the past that was similar. Checking in to see if it is real is often a wake up to the fact that it is in your head. Nine times out of ten you are making it up. For the other times when it may well be real, simply by naming it (shaming it) and taking the time out you need, you can get clear on the actions necessary to handle the issue at hand and it puts you back in the game. You will walk back into that meeting from a place of personal power rather than self doubt which will give you a greater chance of the success you deserve.