Dancing with fear

I could probably write a book on things I’ve learnt from Seth Godin.

Seth taught me that maybe this fear is something I can work with instead of work for. As in, I can do everything I want to do and still have fear, instead letting the fear dictate what I do (which always ends up with me not doing what I actually want to do).

Learning to dance with fear is often uncomfortable (because it’s new) but it’s taught me valuable lessons about moving through life.

The best place to start is somewhere small because it’s like a form of immersion therapy. Imagine if you’re learning to swim, diving in at the deep end with no arm bands is probably a silly idea. You might end up panicking, swallowing water and needing to be rescued.

If that happens you’re unlikely to dust yourself off and try again. You almost died, it’s too dangerous, how could you even think it was a good idea. And your body will do it’s thing in letting you know it was dangerous and that you need to protect yourself. At that point even the shallow end will seem too risky.

But if you start at the shallow end and do the smallest uncomfortable thing that doesn’t feel too risky you might be willing to do something slightly bigger bit by bit overtime.

And then eventually diving in at the deep end won’t seem so risky. Because you’ve done everything else before that and it’s turned out okay. You’ll be at a point where you know what to do if you feel overwhelmed and even if you need a little help or support it you won’t feel like a failure.

Then once you’re out the deep end you’ll be okay to go back in again.

Turns out it wasn’t so scary after all.

Fictional risk

There’s a story many of us tell ourselves about what is risky. Often there is no real risk attached to the situation but the story comes from the part of the brain in charge of survival.

It’s like the siren goes off signalling a potential threat but it’s not much use when it happens in a situation like voicing your opinion in a group because you’re not going to die from saying what you think.

Being aware when the *survival brain* is signalling fictional risk gives you the opportunity to overcome situations where you feel anxious.

You might not believe it if you’re caught in feelings of anxiousness or you take your inner monologue as gospel but there are studies on it and for the least I can say it’s worked for me.

A little exercise that’ll be beneficial is to note down something that makes you anxious, the worst case outcome and how you can overcome that.

You might find that many of the worst case outcomes are you feeling bad and all you really have to do to overcome that is remind yourself that it’s okay and maybe try EFT to neutralise feelings of overwhelm.

Tending to the dream

An important step in achieving the dream life is tending to it. Its like with gardening, you need to do more than just plant seeds. You need to space them the right distance apart, water them or maybe give them something to grow against.

A dream you do nothing with is likely to just remain a dream. But I think by tending to it you’re more likely to actually get it in some way or another.

And maybe that’s a scary thought, actually attaining what you truly want. But what do you have to lose, worst case scenario you end up back where you started with the knowledge that you took a risk to make it happen because you were willing to try.

In search of stability (don’t settle)

I think that in searching for stability you don’t give yourself enough room to explore and take risks. You align yourself in things that feel safe and reliable then convince yourself that it’s what you truly desire.

The pursuit of stability is often about fear and control. As human beings one of our core needs is survival which is linked to staying safe.

But in pursing something that doesn’t have outcome certainty it brings up risk of jeopardising safety and therefore survival.

Perhaps you wanted to make art for a living, but you chose to be a HR assistant instead. The idea of making and selling your work for a living has risk because it might not work. What if you don’t make enough money, you can’t pay your bills, you have to move back with your parents or move with friends, you get evicted, you have to sell all your possessions blah, blah blah

The inner monologue is amazing at getting carried away. You can go from one small inconvenience to thinking your entire life is over. And I think that there is a string need for an awareness for that so that we don’t end up listening to that voice.

You don’t want to end up wishing you’d taken a chance in your twenties, thirties or forties because you decided to live your life in search of stability.

But you don’t have to go in the opposite direction either. Go for what brings you joy, what you care about or what interests you.