Taking Back Control From Fear
I recently watched a brilliant Ted Talk by Tracy Litt, of The Litt Factor, talking about fear. She began with the line, "someone once told me the definition of hell - on my last day on Earth the person I became will meet the person I could have become".
That's quite a statement isn't it? How do you feel when you hear it? I felt sad and slightly ashamed, because I know I'm not yet living up to my full potential. But why? If I know I can do better, be better, so why am I not already doing it?
As Tracy explains, it's fear. Fear is a natural survival response and is the reason our species has made it this far in its evolution. But these days the average human in the modern world, doesn't have to battle or avoid dangerous predators, or navigate dangerous terrain. These responses that once kept us safe are now keeping us small.
Our fear survival response tells us to keep still, and stay quiet, because it equates not being noticed with survival. But in order to grow your business, or grow as a person, you have to take risks. If you are feeling comfortable then you aren't growing. It seems that in order to truly gain success, it's necessary to push yourself to the line that feels like your limit, and then take one more step!
This notion of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is horrifying for most of us. Fear tells us it's not safe, that we're in danger. That if we take that on step further, we will die or be injured!
It's up to us to challenge our fear, to evaluate its concerns and ask, 'is this true'? Will saying yes to that commission and figuring out how to do it later injure us? Will asking for that pay rise, promotion or recognition put us in mortal danger? The answer is no, it won't, the worst that will happen is we'll get turned down, or make a mistake, but we might just succeed, or get what we asked for!
Tracy spoke about the empowering and freeing decision to write a letter, 'breaking up' with fear. In the letter she acknowledged all that fear had done, and that its intentions were good at heart, but she also declared she was worth more, and that she needed to make her own decisions, and her desire for more from life.
I was inspired to write my own letter....
I know you believe you are doing what's best for me, I know you can feel my discomfort as I push my limits and tread new ground, and that you want to keep me safe.
You believe that if I stay where I am and nothing changes then I won't be hurt. I believed this too for a long time, too long. But I am beginning to see that it is hurting me to hide from the growth and change that I need. It's keeping me small and unseen, when I deserve to stand tall and be acknowledged as the unique and talented person I am.
I appreciate you always trying to take care of me, and I will always make the time to listen to your concerns, but I am safe right now. The coming discomfort as I grow my business and my self-awareness, is not going to kill me. For too long I let you convince me that the decisions were yours to make, but they've always been mine, and I won't give up control again.
So who else is ready to write their letter to fear, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable?