Fear’s original design is to protect us from harm. Unfortunately, sometimes we place too much value on the “Danger! Danger!” alerts it sends us and fear things that should be more directly confronted.
A recent, simple experience got me thinking about the impact fear has on our lives. I attended a surprise birthday party with an Hawaiian theme.
After the surprise, entertainment, food and cake, the coordinators announced there would be contests and prizes for the lowest limbo and longest hula hoop whirl.
I surveyed the jagged rock-covered ground and considered the flimsy sandals I was wearing and immediately ruled out the limbo contest. I thought though, I could probably handle the hula hoop contest. However, immediately my mind went to “How will I look?”, “Has it been too long?”, “What will they think?”, “Will I embarrass myself?”
Just as quickly though, I DECIDED it didn’t matter how I looked or what they might think and sprang out of my seat to claim my hula hoop.
Out of a crowd of over 50, about 10 of us decided to participate in the contests. No, I didn’t win (shucks). I did come in second though and felt pleased with myself that I didn’t let that little voice in my head keep me on the sidelines cause even though the hula hoop fell down too quickly in the final round, it was exhilarating pressing my muscles to remember ‘the moves’ from my childhood.
What do your fears keep you from doing?
It’s a trivial example, but it made me think about the things my fears DID keep me on the sidelines for. So that night I DECIDED to push the edge of my concerns and worries when I got back to the office on Monday.
So, at the start of the week, I pulled out my call list and when I felt a twinge of “Oh no. Today’s not a good day to call that person”, I knew that was the person to call. Now I can’t say any of those calls turned into immediate money, but amazingly, I DID get two enticing offers ‘out of the blue’ that let me know the universe was rewarding my efforts.
Most of us waste our energy worrying about things that are undeserving of our attention. Studs Terkel once wrote, “Most people are in jobs that are too small for their souls.” I would spin that slightly to “Most people live inside fears that are too small for their spirit.”
We are afraid of stuff that’s too small, insignificant, unbecoming of the magnificent person we truly are.
So, instead of wasting your time on the trivial minutia or day-to-day drama, create something meaningful that scares you and conquer that.
It’s silly to be afraid to pick up the phone to make an important call. But left to our own devices, we all do it from time to time.
Life, and our success in it, is about continually expanding our capabilities, our sense of self, our positive impact on the world, the expression of our deepest longing, our gift and purpose for being on this planet at this time.
And to do this, we most grow larger than that which constrains us.
What would you do or attempt to do if you were living life courageously? Who would you call? What would you say? What project would you take on? How big would you play? What would you do with your life? How bold would you be?
Here are today’s simple fear-busting tips:
1) Catch yourself when you start to procrastinate or make excuses. Then take action on something you fear.
2) Go public by telling others what you’re up to so it’s harder to back out.
3) Commit to goals that stretch you even if you have no idea how you’ll put them off.
4) Ask for help along the way.
5) Praise yourself for kicking your fear to the curb even if you don’t get the immediate result you desired. If you continuously take courageous action, your life will change.
Be aware of your fears, but not beholden to them. Use them as stepping stones to your future and a brave new world.
Loretta Love Huff