Sunday, February 13, 2011

Facing Your Fears


While perusing through the airport stores on a business trip last fall, I was delighted to find an inspirational magazine called Motivated. It's founder, Shevaun Voisin, started it after the loss of her newborn child and the subsequent diagnosis of breast cancer.

The first issue I bought (Fall 2010) explores the theme of fear. We all have fears. In fact, if we're not acting out of love, we are acting out of fear. Most of us are unaware that we're afraid...it's not one of those things society encourages us to talk about. We try to hide behind a mask of illusory perfection so that others will think highly of us. This builds walls between ourselves and others. It causes us to live a life that's not authentic.

I remember when I was young I was "shy". In other words, I was afraid of talking to strangers. Yet somehow my life is now spent as a trainer who does public speaking to groups both large and small. I've spoken in front of groups of 300 people with feeling only slightly nervous. How did I manage to do this after spending the first sixteen years of my life being shy?

I also grew up not being very athletic. In fact, I would be the kid picked last for a team when we had gym class in school. No one wanted me on their team because I sucked at sports. I have been a certified fitness instructor now for over twenty-three years and I'm in the best of shape of my life. How did I do that? How did I move beyond the fear of people making fun of me because I wasn't athletic?

It's simple. I chose it. Choosing to overcome your fears is a decision. It's a decision we're confronted with several times a day although we're usually unaware of it. Fear is that voice that says "I'd like to try that but how about if I fail?" or "I won't be able to do that as well as that other person," or "People may make fun of me so I'd better not attempt it."

It's often easier to use our fears as an excuse. That way we don't have to change our lives and can live with the "victim" mentality that life is our beyond our control. Yet we all possess courage (YOU do whether you think you do or not!) to dramatically change our lives through facing our fears.

As Ambrose Redmoon so eloquently said, "courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that some thing else is more important than fear."  What is important to you? What is holding you back from being the you that you dream of being?

Having fears is normal. We all have them and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Shame is a very low energy emotion and will only keep you in bondage. Being aware of our fears is the first step in moving beyond them.

Consider listing your fears. Write them down. As motivational speaker Mike Lipkin said, "you cannot master what you cannot see. When I wrote down my phantoms, I saw them for what they are. Just words on a page."

Just words on a page...

Just for today, choose to see your fears as just words on a page....just words that do not hold power. Choose to take back the power you've given those words and live the life you have only dared to imagine. 

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