Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
According to the definition in Wikipedia, fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat that causes entities to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus which is perceived as a risk of significant loss of health, wealth, status, power, security or of anything held valuable. In short, fear is a motivating force arising from the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it (also known as the fight-or-flight response) but in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) a freeze or paralysis response is possible.
Why would I write this weeks blog on Fear? As we moved forward into a new year, a lot of people set new goals, resolutions and intentions. All too often these expectations are never met because of a perceived (usually not real) fear or threat. As a coach I have worked with numerous people who have gotten stopped by a hidden fear.
The acronym F=false E=evidence A=appearing R=real comes to mind when I think of this. Our brain is very complex and the fear response is automatic. When we set a goal we have to step outside our comfort zone in order to achieve it (this is because we need to do things differently to get different results). When we do this we can experience heightened stimuli that releases chemicals that can cause your heart to beat faster, hands to sweat and your muscles become energized. Once we understand that this is just an automatic response to doing things out of our comfort zone, we can learn to embrace the feeling and move through it.
I can remember a client I was coaching on improving her prospecting skills. We worked to build her confidence and practiced what she would say on a cold call. She was truly petrified to pick up the phone. The day came when she was to start prospecting for her new sales position. She emailed me to say she was shaking as she picked up the phone. I congratulated her on her persistence to keep going and move through her fears. She is now a top sales person and she often says if she had let her fear stop her she would have left the job.
A personal example comes to mind as well. Years ago I used to think that only losers traveled alone. I thought it would be a terrible experience and I was afraid to travel alone. One year I decide to change all that and booked a Caribbean Cruise by myself. I was frightened for my safety and thought I wouldnt have any fun. I decided I would feel the fear and do it anyway. In fact I paid a high premium as a single person. That trip changed everything for me! Not only did I have a great time, I made some new friends as well. I bought a gold ring on the island of Antigua and have kept it on my finger since the trip. Whenever I feel afraid to step out of my comfort zone I look at my ring and it reminds me that often our fears are not real, and I do whatever it is that I am afraid of. The nervousness is still there, I simply acknowledge it and keep going.
As you move forward in 2014 toward your new goals and if you get the feeling to stop, procrastinate or avoid altogether, ask yourself Is there a fear that is preventing me from going forward? If you discover that this is what is hindering your progress, I say I am going to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!