You are the thinker of your thoughts, you are not your thoughts.
We all get afraid. Fear is normal. We need fear to keep us safe. But so many of us are letting fearful thoughts keep us from doing things that we really want to do. We have become afraid of things that we don’t even need to be afraid of and fear is running the show for many of us.
When I started Contagiously Positive the plan was for it to be a life coaching practice. At the beginning, I was terrified. I was leaving behind a ten-year career that I had not only gotten pretty good at, but also very comfortable with. I had no idea what it meant to be a life coach, or entrepreneur. But I wasn’t happy and I had a calling, a deep desire to serve, so I said F-You to the fear (still full of fear) and I decided to give it shot.
The truth is, many of us, myself included, become blocked because we think we are choosing the safer route. We may not be happy, but we know that we are unhappy so we think that it is better to stay with the devil that we know – so to speak.
Fear is the #1 barrier that prevents us from living a life of purpose, intention and joy. We fear changing our careers, going back to school, changing our old ways, the unknown, the unfamiliar, becoming sick, getting hurt, losing a loved one, being rejected, becoming successful, being vulnerable, or not being able to “handle” it.
Fear is just a fearful false thought. It is not your reality, as it has not even happened yet. Just because you think it, doesn’t make it true. Fear and worry is like praying for chaos. I know this because I have lived it, felt it and marinated in my fears. It creates chaos in our lives because 99% of the things we worry about never happen. That means that we are letting fear make 99% of our life choices, staying stuck in the trap of worry, turning our hearts away from the things that truly light us up and bring us joy, peace and love.
“If you want something, I mean really want something, you have to get comfortable with being temporarily uncomfortable.”
Before I signed myself up for the life coach training, I started to think, “Do you know how old you will be by the time you finish? Do you really want to start over?” Thankfully, I ignored that voice and did it anyway. But that wouldn’t be the last time I heard it. Fast forward a few years after I began coaching, and again I felt a calling. This time it was to expand Contagiously Positive and include health coaching, which required going back to school, again, to become a certified Health Coach. The fear voice came up front and center and I started to think again, “Do you know how old you will be by the time you finish? Do you really want to start over?” Thank God for my Inner Voice of love who is much wiser and I thought, “Yes…the same age I will be if I don’t do it.” That was fear doing the talking. I give you that example to show you how fear can mask itself as being “practical.”
It really had nothing to do with age though. The fear wasn’t how old I was or wasn’t, it was about starting over, creating a new beginning after getting comfortable with where I was. Being at phase one of the learning stage where I had no idea what I was doing. What I was really thinking was, “What if I fail?”
Starting over, or doing something new, brings up fear. Sometimes it is sneaky, like making you think that safer is better. Some fear comes into our life when we least want it to, especially when we are about to embark on something new and unknown. That fear voice in our head makes us think that staying where we are (in our comfort zone) is safer. But are you truly safer when you become comfortable with your limiting beliefs, fears, or feelings of unfulfilled and unhappiness? Absolutely not!
“The problem isn’t our fear, it’s that we let fear be our decision maker. Sometimes the things you are afraid to do lead you to exactly where you need to go.”
I never imagined I would ever be a speaker. When I was working for a company in Saskatoon, pre-Contagiously Positive days, I was asked to facilitate a full day workshop because the facilitator got sick. I instantly felt myself sweat and thought of every reason to get out if it. “I’ve never done this…I don’t know how…I’ll freeze up…no frigging way!” The moment I got in front of the room (terrified, sweating and shaking) I knew I found something I loved. The positive energy I felt was electric. From that day on, I tried to convince the company to let me be a facilitator, and when I started my business, I knew I would include workshops and speaking engagements. Had I let fear make the decision for me, I would never have found out that it was something I loved to do. Was I good speaker that first day? Not even close! But I loved it and I was willing to possibly embarrass myself while I learned.
I’ve had positive feedback and negative feedback from my workshops. I could take the negative and give up, but I use it to make myself better. If someone says, “she spoke too fast.” I practice slowing down. If someone says, “I didn’t like the exercises.” I think about what exercises might be more engaging. When I was told that they loved the workshop, but it wasn’t what they were expecting, I make sure that the next time I do a corporate workshop, the employees have buy-in on what they are going to (and wanting to) be learning. Mastering anything takes time and growth and learning – continuously. I say continuously because I still haven’t mastered it.
When you hear a voice say, “Don’t follow your dreams, you might fail, choose safe and secure,” that is your fear voice. When you hear a voice say, “You are too old, too young, not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, or enough,” that is your fear voice.
Here is the real truth, the truth that your Inner Guide (voice of love) wants you to know: You are enough. You are not too old, or too young. You are smart, wise, and have an inner strength that you have probably already seen yourself tap into when you needed it most. You can be, do and have absolutely anything if the desire inside of you is real and true. You have already done so many things for the first time because life is full of firsts. That is life. That is learning. That is growing and evolving. You cannot sidestep over the firsts.
“You never fail until you stop trying.”
If you have been making decisions based on fear, like doing it because you don’t want to fail, what can you do today to turn it around and take a baby step towards your goals, desires, hopes and dreams? What have you been putting off because you are afraid? If you knew that you could succeed even with fear, would you do it? Then do it, because fear is just a thought, not a reality. In the words of Susan Jeffers, “Feel the fear and do it anyway!”
When you feel yourself detouring into fear, think about what you are about to give up if you allow fear to run the show. Does it feel scarier to do it or not do it? Will you regret letting fear make the decision for you? Will you get down the road 2 years from now with a sense of longing, saying “I should’ve done that, I could’ve done that? I wish I had done that?” Take a moment and become aware of where you are allowing fear to be your decision maker. How is fear holding you back from your dreams, desires and wishes?
Once you become aware, start to bust through the fear barrier with love and action. By love, I mean loving yourself enough to walk along side fear, while taking action and doing it anyway. You might make mistakes, you might get hurt, and you may even be rejected. But the biggest mistake you can make is to not even try because you are afraid. You took the first courageous step already by recognizing where you are allowing fear to keep you stuck. Once you take the second step of love and action, you will find yourself saying, “what the heck was I ever afraid of?”
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
Piece by piece, day by day, action by action, step by step, you will shatter the fear barrier and step right into the light. You can be afraid at home, in your fear bubble, or you can be afraid, do it anyway, and be out there living a fabulous life. What will you choose?
If you are overwhelmed with fearful thoughts, I have been right where you are. If you want more guidance, or you want to practice some methods that I use and teach, my digital course Unleash Your Inner Contagiously Positive is a beautiful guide that will help you but though fears, while also strengthening your emotional, mental, spiritual and attitudinal muscles.
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl