Feel the Fear . . .

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

So wrote Susan Jeffers in her book of the same name.

Fear is a very basic human instinct. Without it we wouldn’t survive.

Fear is there to protect us from predatory animals and to keep us safe in the cave when the storms are raging.

Fear is there to help us out when we’re in a precarious situation. To slow us down, or speed us up when the forces of nature are not in our favour.

But now, you and I rarely have to cope with an attack by a predatory animal and are not often faced by real threats from nature.

The vast majority of the fears that you and I have come from within us . . .but how did they get there?

Many people have a fear of, and indeed may be terrified by, the idea of ‘speaking in public’ or even making a speech or presentation to a small group of people who they know.

Even worse for some is the ‘fear’ of making phone calls, particularly in a sales environment.

It is said that these fears are in fact a result of an underlying ‘fear of rejection’ by other people.

Again may people have ‘phobias’ or fears of many types of harmless animal, fear of being ‘outside’, fear of being ‘inside’, and some people have fears of certain inanimate objects that can do them no harm whatsoever in a physical sense.

Another common problem is the ‘fear of change’ fear of things being different at some time in the future from what they are now.

It seems that everyone suffers from one of more of these irrational or non-instinctive fears – and that includes you and I, doesn’t it?

For you and I probably the most common ‘fear’ we experience is that some new idea we are trying out isn’t going to work or that things aren’t going to turn out the way that we planned.

You and I always have some doubts, however committed and positive we are. There’s always a possibility that something will ‘go wrong’, isn’t there?

Of course there is – but only when you and I allow those doubts and fears to ‘take hold’.

The thing is that ‘out there’ most people are surrounded by an aura of negativity. (Especially in the UK I’m sorry to say).

You and I see this all the time. In the media, on the ‘news’, even in the advertising messages we find ourselves subjected to more often than we’d like.

Criticism of what people do, ‘taking people down a peg’ when they’ve has some success, focusing on the negative aspects of any change being proposed and general away motivation or making people feel inadequate in mass media advertising.

It goes on all the time . . .

“You can’t do that”. “I told you it wouldn’t work”. You should have done (or not done) this or that. “It’ll never work”. “It’ll all go horribly wrong”. “I told you so”.

And even if people do well there’s always someone in the crowd moaning that they could or should have done better.

And then there are those who actually create fears.

They warn you and I about the ‘fear of failure’ or the ‘fear of rejection’.

There are even people who run courses about coping with these fears; which they probably created in the first place simply by raising the idea that you or I would ‘fail’ or would get ‘rejected’.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You see . . .

The fears that you and I have within us are not ours. We’ve taken them on board from other people; we’ve been persuaded that we should have these fears.

Why?

Because of their fears – their fears that you or I might just succeed in what we are doing. That we might just ‘overtake’ them in their imagined hierarchy of life the universe and everything.

Their fears that somehow, even if you and I are operating in a totally different environment or sphere of activity from them; you and I might be ‘better’ than them.

So what can you and I do about it?

As Susan Jeffers says – “feel the fear”, which means recognise that somehow we have taken those irrational fears on board, recognise them for what they are – irrational and irrelevant.

Disown and dismiss the fears, and whatever it is that you and I are doing – “do it anyway”.

Have a courageous week.