The scariest moment is always just before you start
Have you ever ridden a roller coaster? Ridden in a hot air balloon? Scaled a mountain? Jumped off the high dive? What your body is experiencing just before you start is the physical characteristics of fear. Your heart races. Your palms get sweaty. Your breath is short. Your pupils dilate. You muscles constrict. These are all natural ways that the body readies itself for danger. Good stuff if you are being chased by a bear!
Not so helpful if you are simply starting a new job. Giving a speech. Meeting someone new. Learning to dance. You get the picture, right?
Fear is present any time we are doing something new. Anytime we are risking being seen. Anytime we dare to dream bigger than we’ve been taught we can.
But just because it’s there doesn’t mean we should not do that thing, speak our minds, open up to love, or run from what we want to avoid feeling afraid. If we want to move forward, experience life fully, be connected to others, expand our knowledge, and live a life of enthusiasm…
We must learn to ‘do it’ afraid!
If we wait for this fear to pass we may never realize our desires. We will spend our lives letting fear immobilize us and feel regret for all we missed years from now. I say, ‘what a waste’. The thought of being where I am now no matter how good it is, knowing what I know now no matter how much I think I know, doing what I’m doing now no matter how much I love it…ten years from now? Well, that’s scary. And boring.
The more I do in the face of fear…the more I find I have less fear the next time
Oh I still feel butterflies in my stomach and a small lump in my throat. I still feel my heart beating faster and breath coming shallow. But I’ve come to learn that those feelings will pass as soon as I start. Especially if I focus on what I want instead of how afraid I feel. I know that most of the time I’m not in any real danger.
And over time I started to recognize that what I once felt and identified as “fear” is really anxiety. Yup, that’s right!
Come on, you know what it feels like in your body when you are in REAL danger.
And in those circumstances you are physically, emotionally, and mentally ready to act to survive. Like when you have to make a quick stop in the car, or swerve to miss that possum in the road, or walk faster in an unsafe place.
But the feeling you have when doing something new is very different and easy to recognize because in most cases it stops you from taking an action, even if just for a little while. Anxiety can be very paralyzing.
So here’s a tip:
When you feel that anxiety…take a moment and locate where exactly you feel it in your body. For most people it is somewhere between your tummy and your chest. After you locate it try to move it ever so slightly higher and allow yourself to sense the feeling shifting. If it gets easier, more like anticipation or excitement…hurrah! If it gets worse, then do it again only this time lower it from the original location and notice if that makes a difference.
My clients report that this simple exercise has changed their state immediately and they have found that they are able to move towards their goals. Even if they once were “afraid” to do so.
I hope this is helpful to you. Remember we usually have nothing to fear but fear itself. You are the master of your life. So go out and create the life you want.
As always, live easy and be kind to yourself