This past week turned out to be the week of talking about fears. In last weeks 100% Jodi I talked about all the fears I was confronted with when I was training for and competing in the Spartan Race.
I had forgotten that the title I chose for Alison Cardy's episode was Walking Toward Fear and then the Eleanor Roosevelt quote my assistant chose for the newsletter, originally shared by Nikki Wetherell in her powerful interview in episode 104, had to do with fear.
We’ve got some momentum going so let’s lean into it.
One of my favorite life quotes is:
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." ~ Helen Keller
Hellen Keller is one of my idols. She is right up there with Mother Teresa and Anne Frank. These three women experienced horrific adversity and risk in their life but each one found a way to remain positive, optimistic and soft.
They each felt fear, found acceptance in their life situations and were able to do tremendous good as a result.
According to Cheryl Strayed in her book Wild, “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked.”
We have to rewrite our fear stories if we want to free ourselves from a life of limits. If we are too afraid to roll the dice and experience risk then the risk we are actually taking is living an unfulfilled half-life.
Do you wonder why so many people are bored and antsy and looking for diversion? They’ve been playing it safe for too long.
For a lot of you the risk is going to look like being still and just being with yourself for a while. You’re afraid if you do so all the things you don’t like and find lacking in yourself will bubble up and overwhelm you.
All those stories you have about yourself and what you fear might happen if you owned how talented, knowledgeable and experienced you are. If you owned it and started telling and showing people how amazing you are you’re afraid you’ll get called out publicly ridiculed for being a fraud.
And here’s what’s going to sound crazy. That grueling, punishing story you have – that’s your way of playing it safe. You know if you continue to not believe in yourself you don’t have to take any risks.
What stories do you tell yourself that induce fear and keep you playing safe?
In her TED Talk, Shonda Rhimes stated, “A crazy thing happened — the very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear. It’s amazing the power of one word. ‘Yes’ changed my life. ‘Yes’ changed me.”
When I first heard about Shonda Rhimes book, Year of Yes, I was turned off by it. I thought she wrote a book about saying yes to everything, which as you know I’m opposed to. Then I found out her book was about saying yes to the things she was afraid of and I was all in.
I love the saying “do something every day that scares you” because I know by exposing ourselves to fear on a regular basis we desensitize ourselves to its paralyzing impact.
In People magazine Dolly Parton shared, “The key to my success has always been that my desire to succeed has always been greater than my fear.”
And that’s just it. You have to focus on the goal, the mission, your Why, however you want to say it. Your desire to be successful has to be greater than your fear. When you focus on the end goal the fear starts to dissipate and you find the ability to get in action.
And if mocking and making light of fear is more helpful to you then listen in to what Elizabeth Gilbert has to say on the subject,
“YOUR FEAR IS BORING.
…Fear is boring, because fear only ever has one thing to say to us, and that thing is: ‘STOP!’…
My fear wants me to stop, because my fear wants me to be safe, and my fear perceives all motion, all inspiration, all work, all activity, all passion whatsoever as potentially life-threatening. My fear wants me to live a smaller life. The smallest imaginable life, ideally. My fear would prefer that I never got out of bed.
Your fear is the same. Exactly the same as mine. I guarantee it.”
It’s perfectly normal to feel fear. And fear is like a beacon to get us to take a look at something that might be lurking under the surface (usually a self-limiting belief that needs to be rewritten), but fear is not a reason to hold back or stop.
For many of you fear is causing you to hold back your gifts and your superpowers from the world. You keep them hidden so no will judge you or find you lacking. But it’s a trick. In order for you to live your best life you must risk everything you fear on the chance that you could change the world.
I have to share the Eleanor Roosevelt quote Nikki Wetherell originally shared in Episode 104.
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along."
You absolutely can handle the next thing that comes along. And until it does, keep doing your thing. That’s how you prepare for the unexpected – you live each day doing your best.
What I also find to be true is that we gain confidence in numbers. If you are afraid of something find some company.
Stop trying to go it alone. If you can get help from me or from a community please reach out to me and we can talk through what would be the best fit for you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll leave you with this gem from and unknown source, "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic."
I hope this was of value to you and here’s to your success!
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