Fearless Striving. Fearless Love. Fearless Callings. Fearless Living. Being Fearless is all the rage but is it even possible?
You can’t banish fear to some far away place because what we resist will persist. And, like author Elizabeth Gilbert says, the only truly fearless people are psychopaths and toddlers. I have a two-and-a-half-year-old. Her reckless abandon is cute until she almost wanders into oncoming traffic. Certainly not something I want to emulate when faced with a major crossroad.
So what do we do with this fear?
First, try seeing its utility. As Steven Pressfield says in his amazing book, The War of Art, “The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul”. So fear can be a signpost for which direction to go when we’re driving towards our truest expression.
Another trick is to recognize fear as simply a feeling (albeit a gripping one) and locate its presence in your body. Tense neck? Clenched jaw? Fidgety hands? Notice this as your fear setting up camp and just relax the area.
One other thing to try is to thank your fearful thought. Alarming fear was very useful to us during times when it needed to warn us of saber tooth tigers ready to pounce. That do-or-die fear is not so useful these days yet the same biological system is activated making sure we feel like we are about to be lunch each time we start a presentation or job interview. “Hey Fear, thanks for showing up. I’ve got this one”.
What about you? Where is fear coming along for the ride in your life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.