NOTE: This in excerpt from my upcoming book, The Leap Of Your Life.
The moment you quit your job in a blaze of inspiration and make your first sale, the 6-figure launch day, the soul mate connection or the success you’re dreaming of will eradicate fear for good, right?
No, it won’t. You better be prepared to extend a warm invitation to fear, because it’s here to stay. Often, people will operate under the belief that if they just hit that next outcome, then fear will be gone.
And then they realize the harsh reality: fear is still there.
Oddly enough, sometimes it can become even more paralyzing if it hasn’t been re-framed.
Selling twelve million books, spending four years on the New York Times bestseller list and being named part of the top 100 influential people will jolt you.
And for Elizabeth Gilbert, who’d been writing for various publications on serious topics — Eat, Pray, Love was a not simply a success. It was a napalm bomb explosion of life-altering success which fundamentally shifted every part of her reality.
But within this world of success, comes another problem: dealing with it.
After the wave, Gilbert was faced with a stark realization: her best work, in a commercial sense — was behind her.
This sent her into an existential questioning, rabbit hole exploration of unpacking who she really was, which is already a messy endeavor.
Add in fame, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
The reality was success hadn’t eradicated fear, it had simply shifted the fear.
Once we understand it won’t go away, we’re able to celebrate wins authentically. Furthermore, we won’t judge ourselves when we hit the target we dreamed of only to find out there’s a new fear we could have never imagined.
Let me put this bluntly: fear in your life is a great thing and shows proof you’re on an accelerated path of growth.
If fear is here to stay, it’s time to explore how you can reframe her to use as leverage, clarity and exponential results in your life.
Reframe Fear #1: Fear Is Your Compass
Your reframe begins by seeking fear on the regular. The moment you feel it, you smile. You recognize it. You sense it in your brain, and your body. But instead of running away from it, you lean in. This becomes a daily practice, for example:
• The dread over the tough conversation with your boss becomes a chance for you to learn how to hold tension.
• The uncertainty of the looming business launch becomes the energy required for you to eliminate distraction and tap into creativity.
• The fear you feel of pushing yourself physically becomes the needed feedback to sharpen your mental and physical confidence.
Our tendency is to follow the safe path, and yet the path leaves us unfulfilled.
Fear, then —becomes a trustworthy compass to know you’re growing and headed in the right direction.
Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art
Reframe Fear #2: Fear Is Your Alley
Once you’re paving a new path and seeking fear, you start to develop an empowering relationship with it. You welcome it, much like you’d welcome someone you respect into your home.
(Seth Godin talks about having tea with the monkey —representing fear, resistance and overwhelm.)
This is what being on your edge is supposed to feel like.
You recognize the two types of fear — the survival instinct, immediate reaction coming from the amygdala. The other, is the emotional fear we create a worst-case-scenario experience from.
Both are part of who we are and building a relationship with these mechanisms allows you to feel empowered.
Now, fear becomes a trusted partner to know exactly what to do instead of what not to do. She may not ever become your best friend, and that’s okay.
But she’s a trusted ally and someone you can lean on to make decisions and live your boldest life.
Reframe Fear #3: Fear Is Required
Now that you’ve been able to use fear as a compass and trusted ally – the last part of the re-frame puzzle is set.
This is what you’ve been waiting for, and you’ll never miss an opportunity for a life changing moment at the hands of fear again.
The last part of the re-frame is simple: fear becomes a pre-requisite to help make bold decisions.
When you feel fear in your life, your comfort zone is being stretched and is your opportunity to step into who your greatness.
I still remember the first time I invested heavily in myself. I’d had a conversation with my mentor, and everything in my mind was telling me no. Yet, there was something deep within me that recognized this was a do or die moment.
And so, with logic screaming in my ear to stop, I took a deep breath and said yes. I was shaking from fear – because the tuition was a cool $25,000.
When pulling up my bank statement, I had $903 in my checking, and I hadn’t paid rent yet. I’d already exhausted most of my account getting there.
But I did it anyway. Susan Jeffers, renowned psychology and author of Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway expands on this topic : “pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.”
That moment changed my life forever. Because investing in the program had nothing to do with them. I may as well have written myself a check, because I faced a fear knowing the financial part was the least of my concerns.
What really scared me in that moment was betting on myself – and stacking all my chips and moving them to the middle of the table in one moment of complete and unapologetic self-trust.
Because once you put your dreams on the line, you’ve got nowhere to hide.
How can you reframe fear in your life?