“The key to change…is to let go of fear.” ~ Rosanne Cash
I posted this quote on my social media this week and this question came back: How do you do that?
It can stop us from making decisions, or from taking advantage of an opportunity that puts us out of our comfort zone. The very notion of fear can cause inertia which is not helping you, or anyone for that matter.
It’s helpful to re-define scary terms, to think about them in a new way. Some people define fear as False Evidence Appearing Real, in other words fear isn’t real. And, there is truth to that sentiment. But, when you’re in the middle of a fear it feels pretty darn real.
Here are two new ways to define and dissolve the notion of fear:
Fear as expectation – Think of a fear as a set of expectations. In a fearful moment, ask yourself: What are my expectations if I do this? Then, make a list of all of those expectations.
- Do you expect that you’re not good enough?
- Do expect that you won’t be liked?
- Do you expect that you’re going to lose your job if you step out like that?
- Do you expect that people won’t think you’re smart if you say that?
Write them down. When you see them in black and white, sometimes simply acknowledging them helps to bring a light to the non-reality of your expectations.
So what do you do? Now, you have a chance to re-write your expectations surrounding the event or decision, making them positive rather than negative. Literally create a set of expectations that allow you to move forward:
- I expect that they will recognize me as the expert that I am on this subject, that's why I'm there.
- I expect that if it’s meant to be I will make a connection that will move this project forward.
- I expect that I will be hired for this job if I’m right for this job, and I decide I’m right for this job.
- I expect that they want me to nail this interview/pitch/audition. It will make their job easier.
Then, what happens is fear is replaced by a stronger sense of courage and ownership of self.
Fear as resistance - What is resistance exactly?
The definition of the word is conflict, struggle and opposition. It shows up just at the time when you’re about to learn something, or you’re about to make a change or advancement to your current situation. Personal resistances are created in the mind.
They’re not real. They’re not in the present.
Resistance takes place in the subconscious mind and it invades or stops the new thought or idea in the forefront of your mind.
How does it show up for you? Resistance can show up in little behaviors or obstacles that our minds create in order to avoid and mask fears. Resistance can be a pesky little devil! And, we can get really creative in our resistances. Maybe you just haven’t had time to get to it; or perhaps you get tired or create a headache which makes you put it off again. Mind chatter is another form of resistance. Maybe you tell yourself that things really aren’t that bad where you are.
To get through a fear or resistance, let’s take a look at the notion of polar opposites and how what you want many times is directly on the other side of what’s stopping you. For centuries the Chinese taught that what's on the other side, or opposite side, of chaos is order. It’s the same principle here when it comes to resistance.
The antonym, or opposite, of resistance is SURRENDER. I don’t mean give up or give in or throw in the towel. By surrender I mean to trust what you can’t see in front of you yet. Trust that the answers will come to you. Trust in the quieting of the mind. And, surrender to compassion for your fears and mind chatter. Tell your fear that it’s okay. You acknowledge it, but you’re moving forward anyway. Surrender to just doing your best, your best in that moment.
So, give yourself permission to surrender & change your expectations. If you do this on a consistent basis you’ll see the fears begin to dissolve. We get fixed into a certain way of thinking.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable. So, I invite you to live in the uncomfortable. Then, it’s about becoming comfortable being uncomfortable.
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