Fear wears many disguises, which is why so many of us aren’t able to recognize fear when it shows up in our lives. Fear knows us better than we know ourselves and fear does not like change – not one little bit! Humans must learn to recognize all the shady ways fear enters into our brain – first the brain…then the body. What I’ve learned about fear & control is an ongoing mission.
Some of the more common disguises fear wears other than abject panic when we’re in danger are control, perfectionism, feelings about not being successful, failure, and uncertainty. I’ve fallen prey to all of them and what I now KNOW is that FEAR and CHANGE are always going to walk hand-in-hand. They go together and if you ever want to change anything in your life you’re going to have to accept that as truth and learn the signs so you can move forward.
Know this – You’re never ever going to want to change and you’re always going to be afraid. Allow yourself a moment to let this sink in. Our brains are very happy just hanging out doing what we always do and the second you entertain the idea that you might like to do something different – you’ve just opened the door for fear to sit front and center in your brain.
This week I was once again reminded that FEAR is alive and well and living in my head. I was doing a story for my blog Discovering Franklin about a new place in my city – SOAR Adventure Tower – a ropes climbing course that is the only one of its kind in North America. It’s intense and I’m a girl that hates heights! I mean…I hate them and I thus, I seldom put myself in the line of fire with heights. (The odd thing about this is that I was a skier for most of my life and chair lifts did not freak me out!) I knew I was going to have to climb in order to write the story.
As I was driving to SOAR I thought I might be able to use this experience as a metaphor for my life, like when I walked through fire at a Tony Robbins event. I think fire walking was easier than this.
As I harnessed up, I felt my chest tighten; my legs quiver and my brain was screaming at me things like, “Stop! You’re going to die! You don’t need to do this. What’s the matter with you? Are you nuts?” Thankfully I recognized it for what it was – FEAR. I did my usual – acknowledged it – thanked it and then had a little conversation about how I did need to do this and to please leave me alone.
As we started climbing I was having a difficult time getting out of my head! My brain was not being my friend. I had a safety harness on. I was with the owner of SOAR and in my intelligent mind I knew nothing was going to happen, but that screaming wouldn’t stop. I pushed on. Mind you – I was only on the first level about 20 feet up. You would have thought I was climbing Mt. Everest. I made myself keep going and I successfully accomplished what I set out to do.
So what was my big challenge? I realized that this was more than a FEAR issue for me. It was a CONTROL issue. I felt out of control and I’m confessing right here that this is what I do battle with. I like to think I’m in control even though as a Lionhearted Woman, I know that I am not. Really, there is very little that we’re ever in control of in this life of ours.
The biggest realization for me is that I like to decide who I give control to. I’m not afraid to take a hot air balloon ride (heights a plenty), because I’ve relinquished control. I’m not afraid to fly because I relinquish control. I’m not afraid to ride a chair lift, but I don’t like being in a gondola when it stops. I won’t face the outside when I’m in a glass elevator and I don’t being on the top floor of an office building and when I was climbing I didn’t want to give control to that harness or the cables I was relying on for my safety. I realize this makes no sense.
It suddenly all made sense to me. Control is just a way for me to play safe. It has little to do with actual safety. It’s a mind game that shows up when I’m about look goofy or make a mistake. I’m pretty sure both were a part of my experience at SOAR. In the past I’ve stopped myself of trying new things whether in business or my personal life because I was afraid of making a mistake or worse failing. Control is a disguise for not experiencing failure.
Awareness is the cure for FEAR. You absolutely must spend time in awareness and then you take action to rectify it.
Where does control show up for you? Do you struggle with it? If so, grab a copy of my report on How I Quiet My Inner Critic and then leave a comment below and let me know where you have challenges with this and how I can support you.
You’ll never rid yourself of FEAR, but you can learn ways to manage it and I’d love to show you how.