Jump Into Your Fear
I used to think that the best way to handle fear was to sit and wait for it to subside. That the fear would eventually dissipate so that I could finally move towards whatever I was striving for. But that wasn't working. I had so many dreams and goals, of owning a business, of being able to work anywhere, but I also had so many fears that were holding me back: fear of failing, fear of letting down my family, fear of putting myself out there, fear of being scene, fear of judgement...these fears were holding me still and keeping me paralyzed. I would always hear in my mind, "I can't do this until I feel ready." What I realized is that I would never feel ready unless I jumped into the fears. That the very reason fear exists is to test you, keep you complacent, and maintain your safety and comfort.
The fear wasn't going to go away on it's own. I didn't realize that until actually jumping into a new career, new chapter, and taking on these risks. What's crazy is that I have less fear now that I am actually doing what I want. It's still there, but way more manageable now that I know why it's there. Being self-employed is the quickest way to test if you're really ready to jump into your fears.
The other night I started reading Fierce Medicine again by my yoga teacher Ana Forrest. This book is about overcoming your fears by stalking them, getting up close to them to understand their root cause, and learning how to manage them through yoga, awareness, and meditation. When I first read the book a few years ago before my yoga teacher training the book took on an alternative interpretation because I was in different place in my life at the time. The definition and understanding of fear was unfamiliar to what I know now because of the time in which I read it. It was over four years ago and my experiences at the time were obviously different. It's interesting how knowledge and it's meanings can change depending on when you receive it throughout your life.
Ana identifies five steps to help you manage your fears and ultimately achieve your goals - whatever they may be. The main point of her argument is that you must continue to do whatever you are afraid of. Afraid of birds? Continue to find and spend time with them. Afraid of public speaking? Do it again and again. The point being, fear keeps you paralyzed until you get up close and hang out with it.
Ana's five steps for changing your relationship with fear:
1. Identify the fear
2. Turn around, hunt it, stalk it
3. Stop making decisions based on fear
4. Find the healing within the fear
5. Snuggle up to your fear
Anyways, I will leave you with a quote from the book relating to taking on your fears. Never stop dreaming but make you sure jump into the fire sooner or later!