FEAR – The Enemy
If you knew you could not fail or get hurt…How would you carve out your future?
I bet there are many things filling your head right now; Inventions, entrepreneurial business ventures, wild ambitions and dreams. Careers you’ve fantasied about, places you have longed to trek through, experiences, tastes, new cultures….and not once did I mention ‘money.’
For a moment, you thought about a realistic and reachable option. In your head you knew this was obtainable with drive and determination and focus. So why hasn’t this happened to you yet?
…Because of FEAR.
Fear. One of the biggest psychological barriers we will ever come across. Fear has a deep impact to control of us, our future, and our dreams. Fear imposes a hugely powerful limit on our actions and on our lives. It holds us captive and keeps us in our comfort zone.
I had a friend, Faye, who had an ordinary 9-to-5 job in an office. She hated her job because she really wanted to be a nurse. She also told me how she longed to travel through Australia. She had savings, she knew she could afford it. I asked her what was stopping her and she listed a string of excuses; she was fearful of traveling alone, she needed extra time off work, but basically she was ‘scared.’
I told her that now was exactly the time to take this trip because she didn’t have a partner or children or mortgage, but had the money. I reminded her she would meet people out there, like her, travelling and that would boost her self-confidence and help with her self-esteem. I also told her that she hated her job, so why not resign and set herself a target to take a few months out in Australia and come back to enrol at nursing college?
“I really needed someone to tell me to believe in myself.”
Her eyes lit up as I gave her every reason to follow her dreams, whilst nodding enthusiastically. She rang me a week later and said she had given her notice in, had bought her ticket to Sydney and had enrolled at nursing college to start in six months’ time. She was the happiest I’d ever heard her and she thanked me. “People thought I was just quiet and boring at work.” She said “You made me realise I was far from that and now everyone is really shocked and excited for me. My colleagues are looking at me differently for once and I feel I’ve come alive inside. I’ve actually got something to plan and look forward to. I really needed someone to tell me to believe in myself.”
FEAR was holding her back. She now works as a nurse in Australia. Her story could have been very different if she had allowed fear to control her. Because fear imposes a hugely powerful limit on our actions and on our lives.
Fear is an excuse and keeps us in our comfort zone
Where is fear? It’s not there. It’s invisible. It’s an imaginary barrier that we put there to prevent us moving forward. Fear is an excuse and keeps us in our comfort zone. This can become a negative place to stay as it can end up as a limiting prison.
Fear keeps us from living lives that are wildly fulfilling, often sacrificing our deepest desires to stay within the limits of our comfort zone. It limits both our personal and spiritual development because what we need to do to grow and expand along those lines often triggers insecurity and fear within us as we are stretched outside our comfort zones. Fear can appear to us in many ways; fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of rejection, fear of loneliness. None of us are without it, but we can learn to recognise its power over us.
Another friend of mine, Tom, was joining the Royal Marines. He had wanted to do this his whole life, had trained for it and even took a Public Services course at his local college winning student of the year. Everything was in place for him. He passed all his tests and entrance papers and was given a day to move down from his home in a former Yorkshire mining town, to Exmouth. Two days before he was due to leave, he started to panic. The reality of his future suddenly dawned on him and he was scared. Scared of moving away at 18, of meeting new people, the tough training programme and he began wondering if it was the right thing for him and what his alternative options were. Tom saw his uncle that day and confessed his worries. His uncle reminded him this was what he had always wanted and that “Home was nice to come back to.” Those words reassured him massively. He wasn’t leaving forever, he could always visit, but in reality he would never be happy living the next 30-years in his close-knit hometown. Tom did well. He ended up in the SAS. Again, he could have let fear destroy his dreams.
So how do we stop fear destroying our dreams and standing in our way?
All fears are self-created and recognising them is key to moving forward. Remind yourself of how good it fells to face your fears and conquer them.
Evaluate your dreams or ambitions weekly. Note how you have made progress towards it and what you are going to do towards it next week to get closer to it becoming real. Realistic and manageable targets will help. Keeping a notebook with a plan will help keep you on track. Some people struggle to do this alone and often seek the help of a life coach to get them through this first stage and keep them on task.
Learn to feel FEAR and RECOGNISE its power over you. Remind yourself it is a barrier and not real. Remind yourself of all the things FEAR has stopped you doing and how you will not allow it to control you anymore.
Meditation and visualisation is the best way to remove FEAR. Learn to meditate regularly, to remove clutter and negativity from the mind, freeing it up for new ideas. Once the barriers of fear are removed, you can start to install positive thinking.
Fear DOES NOT exist. It is not real. We are being held captive by imaginary walls.
By Catherine Smith