That is the title of one of my favourite books of all time by Susan Jeffers.
It sums up exactly what I needed to do for once in my life.
Ok, I lie. I have actually felt fear before (many times) and actually did it anyway. Be it getting on a bike for the first time or learning how to cook an egg over a hot frying pan (secret note… don’t crack the egg too high above the pan!)
There were three truly great lessons I learnt when I go my hands onto this book and I want to share with you, so that it may encourage you to be ready to feel the fear and do it anyway.
1. Fear will always be with us
There is a perception that the bravest and most courageous people do not experience fear when actually they do feel fear as we do. They just choose to not let it paralyse them and have been able to develop ways to identify what is fear and what is real danger. In actuality we all must feel fear at some point or another as our brains have evolved from what once was flight or fight mode. The mind is wired to keep us safe at all costs. The beauty of this is that 80% of your worries never come true. 80% is a lot of things we get worried about for no good reason!!
These worries we get ourselves into are what I like to call ‘mind traps’. You know those times where your mind just goes absolutely nuts on some possibility of the future. For example you forgetting to lock your car. You then freak out thinking that someone will notice and steal your car. They find a way to start it up and then they find the GPS in your glovebox. OMG the GPS has your home address setup! They are going to now know where you live and will head on over there to rob everything from you all while you are on your train/bus to work. See what I mean?
To try to ignore the feeling of fear will only mask your efforts of courage. The real key is to harness the power of fear in order to ask the question
“Is this fear really going to hurt me/others (physically, emotionally or mentally) or is it just a mind trap?”
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela
2. The Pendulum Syndrome
The pendulum syndrome relates to the moments we experience when we are going through change. The purpose of a pendulum is to eventually reach the middle, which is known as balance. However to get there it must swing side-to-side ever so slowly inching closer to becoming neutral, being balanced. How this translates us is simple.
There will be things you wished you didn’t have. Say for example a short temper. So to work on becoming less short tempered (aggressive) we will do the opposite which is to be calm and controlled (the goal of being in the neutral position). However as we are learning to get there we will overcompensate and swing past the neutral point and into the state where we may be too passive/submissive. We may stay here for a while, but eventually get tired of being ‘pushed around’ or ‘walked over on’ so then we want to try to be more assertive. In our attempts to get there we, once again, go past the point of balance and end up being a little too aggressive. The key here is that although we missed the point of balance (neutral zone) we are actually becoming less aggressive than when we started. Then the cycle repeats itself till we eventually get to reaching our goal of reaching the neutral balance point.
This understanding this point helped myself to personally acknowledge that as we grow to become better at handling fear we will overshoot our mark, but what is important is to not beat ourselves up on it.
Each time we swing right past where we want to get to means we get even closer each pass to where we want to be.
3. To overcome fear is to have faith… in yourself to take action
Finally this book taught me to have faith in yourself. Belief within to know that you are able to handle anything and everything that comes your way. I found that one of the most powerful ways to instil faith and belief within yourself is through mantras. If I am about to do a presentation I can always be seen whispering to myself seconds before going on these words ‘You know your stuff, you know it helps people, so go out and focus on helping people!’. It is as simple as that, even if you don’t believe it in the first instance just tell yourself it. If you do not believe in yourself then no one else will either.
A personal favourite way to overcome fear that I have personally used when I was dating and fearing the approach with girls was one that came from a great book/movie called “We bought a zoo”. In it the father (played by Matt Damonnnnnnn! :D) gives the most priceless advice any father could give his son. One that I will most definitely be passing down to my son.
“All you need is 20 seconds of courage, that’s all.”
This really revolutionised how I started conversations with girls and potential business partners/clients. That once I summed up the 20 seconds of courage I was able to handle what happened next.
Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers is one of those remarkable books that can really make your life more uncomfortable than ever, but it does so that you can start to take back your life from the fear that has gripped you for so long. You’re going to learn that it is always around in our lives no matter what we try to do to not feel it. You’re going to learn that learning to overcome our greatest fears also means making mistakes along the way, but that is what is the best part. Each failure brings us closer to success. You’re going to learn that to overcome fear is to have faith that you can handle what is going to happen next. You’re going to learn a tonne more from this book and find ways to apply it to more parts of your life than ever before.
The difference is to know what is fear and what is real danger…
What are the some of the ways you have learnt to overcome fear? (Leave a comment below)