Run forward into your fears.
If you want to build courage and confidence, the only way to do it is to face what you fear. Being ruled by fear is an ego-based way to live. When you do the things you fear, you feel less and less fear. You step into a higher level of being and thinking. Your courage muscles get stronger. You can even begin to look at any fear you feel as potential growth.
You might even get to the point where you notice, “Hey, some fear is showing up, I have a huge opportunity here.”
In the past, I had a huge fear of rejection. I feared “no” more than anything else. I would do almost anything to avoid hearing a “no”. So guess what? I did a lot of things that would be considered picking “low hanging fruit”. I wasn’t willing to risk getting a no, so I often played small. However, I recognized this, and I kept learning and growing. One day, I just decided that I was not going to have that fear anymore. I got honest about how much it was holding me back and I did a visualization exercise that helped me release this fear. I recognized when it first started and I released the fear by visualizing myself facing it down.
However, the exercise would have been meaningless if I did not back it up by action. I started asking for what I really wanted and what I felt was fair in every part of my life. The fear of hearing a “no” fell away and was no longer an issue for me. I still get some “no’s” but they just roll off. Even if the “no” is disappointing (after all, we do want what we ask for), it is just part of the journey. In fact, I now know that gracefully receiving a “no” is an important step. This was a confidence builder for me. It also helped me face other fears.
The truth is that most people will let the fear stop them from doing what they want.
I went through this with my son when he was visiting colleges. He was going into his senior year in high school and we had some important football camps. At each camp, he would be evaluated for a potential spot on a college football team. Each day, as we drove into a camp, I could feel the tension. My son would say, “I hate being evaluated.” The truth was, he had been evaluated every time he has stepped onto a football field since he was ten years old. What he was feeling was fear- plain old fear of rejection. We all have that fear at some point in our lives. I watched him overcome his fear, perform great, and have fun, too. When we came back from the east coast, I asked, “Bud, what did you learn about yourself on this trip?” He said, “Mom, I learned to just be me and do my thing.” I admit that I got goosebumps. What an awesome realization for a 17-year-old.
Celebrate the challenges that your fears present to you. It means (amazon) growth, confidence, and courage when you do the thing anyway.
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I wrote this poem, Daring Something New, a few years ago when I was facing some fear.
Daring Something New Committed to being open, Stretching, Growing. My heart trembles. My mind turns. Palms are damp. Fear growls around me, As I try something new- unknown. Part of me wants to give up. Part of me thrills to the challenge. I am on the edge. The verge of choice. Terrified of a mistake, Yet driven to move forward. Slowing down my breathing, Resolve enters my heart. I push on- daring to dive into my new adventure. The peace of decision and rightness enters my heart. I am certain.