Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Success Principles ~ Principle #15

Jack Canfield's fifteenth Success Principle is Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. (This is also a book. by Susan Jeffers) Call me weird, but I love this particular principle. For a long time in my life, I thought fear meant "Stop, this isn't good for you!" Now I've come to see that fear is often an indicator of a stretch opportunity. Fear shows up when I'm growing big-time. In fact, sometimes fear can be a clue that the situation I'm about to face is somehow important to me.

So it's important to be discerning. When fear shows up, ask yourself, "Is there danger? What am I afraid is going to happen? Do the possible benefits outweight the actual dangers?" Then you can decide on your next course of action. You get to make the choice. Fear can be a powerful immobilizer. It's designed to get you to stop, look and pay attention. But then based on what you discover, you get to decide what you're going to do.

One important element of this success principle is that you feel the fear. This is not about avoiding fear, burying it or denying it. This is about acknowledging it, being willing to experience it and continuing to move towards your desires. The reality is that often when you choose to stretch into new territory it is scary. And a lot of your dreams, hopes and desires exist over there, in new territory. In fact, unless you've realized them already, they're all over there in new territory. Feeling fear is going to be a part of the journey to attain them.

One of the best wisdoms I've ever read about fear I believe came from Susan Jeffers' book. When you're embarking on a situation that is scary for you, figure out all the things you can do to make it easier and once those are done, get it out of the way. I have used this tactic for an audition. The audition terrified me but I really wanted to have a shot at the production. I asked myself what would make it easier? My answer was being extremely well-prepared and wearing something that gave me confidence. So I did that and then walked through the door.

Getting it done is a key element to getting over the fear. If you spend a month strategizing how to make it easier, you're really procrastinating. (You see that, right?) We all know that we procrastinate and avoid things that are uncomfortable and cause us fear (the dentist, anyone?) But we also know that it prolongs the suffering and the fear turns into both a low-grade anxiety that is with us constantly and a lack of confidence in our ability to deal with things that frighten us. Who needs that?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about facing fear for the sake of doing it. But when there is something you're yearning for or something required for your well-being or something you're madly excited by or crying for, don't let fear stand in your way. Find things that can support you in facing the fear (allies, positive self-talk, a good night's sleep, baby steps) and then take the step.

What fear are you willing to face this week?

Note: I posted the above picture ages ago. I had written all my fears down and then ripped them into tiny pieces and reconfigured them into this little guy. It helped me revision fear as that little voice inside me that wants love, support and encouragement when things are scary.


Sacred Suzie said...

I so adore that piece of art Jamie, the intention, the visual representation...

I used to try and face all my fears but realized that it's better to figure out which ones are worth it and which I don't need to. This has helped me a lot. My heart has to really be in it and if it is, I am dedicated to doing it.

I've come a long way when it comes to my social anxiety, woohoo!

I think the fear I will face this week is putting myself first even if it means putting others second.

Carmen said...

As soon as I read Fear, my stomach went tight. Yes, I have fears, but one mainly, the very one I have been battling for quite a while, the one that causes me lose my faith and inspiration at times. That's funny but I don't deny it, I am so aware of it but I want to be able to challenge it, to dare and ignore it to a certain extension. And ultimately act and be myself.
I promise you I will write down, I will feel it and then I will act. And who knows maybe I will take a picture to remind me of being stronger and in control.
Thank you Jamie!

Vedrana M. said...

again beautiful post, it makes me think and i know what you're saying is true, thanky you :)
btw cool picture, great way to deal with fear!

Melba said...

Lately I wake up with fear literally weighing me down. I have tried talking to my fears and writing them out. I am going to look up Jeffers' book because this is an area I REALLy need to work at.