One way I have always known when an idea or a desire is coming from the deepest place in me is how much fear comes in right behind it. The more passionate I feel, the more it fires me up….the more holy-shitness is velcroed to it.
Stone cold stopped in my tracks with fear.
Then, the inner critic, in her most venomous voice chimes in with, “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? YOU and YOUR BIG IDEAS!” I feel like I have just stun-gunned myself.
All my life, ideas have come to me. I have no idea why…they just do. I even built a business based on coming up with ideas for clients that turned into something tangible and successful. People often refer to me as “Miss-Dial-An-Idea”. I love having ideas that will help, encourage, inspire, create course corrections, or brand new “whodda- thunk-its” for others. Those ideas have turned into billion-dollar businesses, best-selling books, renovated houses, published articles, “parties of the century”, trips to The White House, television appearances, and all kinds of professional accolades. Those ideas were always easy. Because they were for someone else.
When it comes to my own deepest dreams, desires, ideas…. it's not been that I haven’t had them. But fear takes over. Along with it comes cranky irritability and perfectionism. And all the reasons why I am an idiot for thinking that little old me could ever DO what I secretly feel over the moon about. The forces of NO WAY! are doing battle with the deep desire of YES…WAY!
So, a few years ago, I said, “I can’t stand feeling this way EVER again.” How can I find the positive, practical way to use this fear if it is always going to be present? I’ve heard so much about fighting the fear, or overcoming the fear, or forgetting the fear, and putting on your big-girl panties and doing it anyway.
Honestly, I don’t think “FIGHT MODE” ever works with anything….not fears, or feelings, or disagreements, or anything when creativity, accomplishment, productivity and PEACE are our end goals. What if FEAR could be looked at completely differently?
What if there was a simple process that could actually “process the fear” into something that serves me?
If you believe, as I do, that what we focus on multiplies and magnifies, it's so easy to see how quickly I can take my deepest desires, ideas, dreams, and truths and find myself drowning in fear.
Instead, I realized I needed to focus on giving myself some breathing room. I needed to create a tried and true process that would re-frame my fears and turn them into something positive. I needed to tell myself a different story about fear and see if it was possible to make it my friend. Now that I have had many years to practice this kind of positive process to chip away at my rock-hard fear, I feel comfortable sharing it with you.
One of the reasons it works so well is that it’s SO simple. Now, I can use fear to guide me into a time-out—-to take a moment to absorb what I am thinking and feeling in times when I am gripped with the passion of an idea. Now, the grip stays on the passion and the possibilities, instead of letting fear snuff it all out.
Here it is:
Allow the fear to bubble up.
Watch it like you are a witness to an accident and you know you will need to report all the details to the detectives on the scene.
Don’t try to shove it down or fix it.
Don’t try to make it go away by running extra miles or margarita it into oblivion.
Recognize it for what it is.
Fear is my own stellar internal warning system, which is working on my behalf, trying to tell me something. When I become sarcastic with myself, or impatient, or perfectionistic….I now ask myself….
WHAT AM I REALLY AFRAID OF? WHAT IS MY FEAR TRYING TO TELL ME?
Talk with someone about it.
Share it with a friend, a counselor, a therapist. Sharing it will stop that loop of anxiety in your head that runs in a constant, louder, and louder cycle. Sharing it gets it out into the light of day. You can hear yourself in your own REAL voice talking about it……and watch those hard edges and jangled nerves go much softer.
Bless it. Yes, bless the fear.
BLESS THIS FEELING. It is unique to me. Fear is there to SERVE ME with a divine intelligence. Fear provides me a time out to consider all aspects of what's ahead. When I bless the process of feeling the fear and think of it as a trusted friend and ally, and even more, as a perfectly functioning part of my psyche designed to “take care” of me…then instead of trying to control it, power through it, and eradicate it, I can calm down. I can assess my ideas and dreams with curiosity, excitement and find even more creative possibilities that may or may not propel me forward.
Fear can become a great sidekick. A vigilant companion, keeping me out of harm’s way. Fear has my best interests at heart. Take your umbrella. Don’t step off the curb right now. Get to know this person before you commit to anything.
Just as I learned to think of fear in this way—-I can decide to love the innate purpose fear has in my life. With fear in its rightful place, I can focus on the excitement this idea or desire can produce in my life. I can face fear, head-on, thankful that I have discovered what it was really meant to be in my life.
IDEAS were meant to be expressed. Tested. Tried out. Shared. They need to be given room for possibility and respect.
When I hear that someone has “a crazy Idea”, especially when it flies in the face of existing conventional wisdom, I always think about this example. One day hundreds of years ago, some "crazy person" expressed what was considered the most outrageous, ridiculous idea about the world itself. Their idea: that the world was actually... ROUND. And, here we are.
So now when I hear “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” it can be said without the sneer of fear. It’s just a great question.
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