Is Fear Stopping You From Living Your Best Life?

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of women at one of our local community colleges. My assignment was to facilitate a vision book session where we started the work of visualizing a better future and getting rid of limiting beliefs that prevent us from reaching the success we want in life. 

After I coached the women through the process, they began to work on their tear sheets and placing them in their vision books, I asked each of the ladies to share one page and explain why she picked the images or words on that page. 

One of the women shared her page and one of the things on that page was a car. Now, it’s very typical for someone to include a new car on their vision board or book so I wasn’t particularly moved by the fact that she had an image of a car. But what she said when explaining why she had the picture of the car really touched me and I felt her pain. She explained that she had the picture of the car because she wanted to learn how to drive one day and get her driver’s license so she can pick up and drop off her grandchildren and take them on outings with her. As she shared this desire, she tried so hard to stop the tears that were filling her eyes but it was unavoidable. And, truth be told it took everything in me not to cry with her. It was at that moment I realized that she was crippled by fear. 

When a person struggles with fear it can trigger all types of emotional issues. It will stop you from pursuing new ideas and interests and it basically stops you from enjoying the life you want and deserve. Fear will cripple your confidence and add on to whatever false beliefs you have about yourself, slowly eating away your self-esteem and prevent you from reaching your full potential. What you do instead is run for cover.

Running for cover is a normal response when someone feels threatened. Your brain tells your body to respond to an imminent danger which causes your heart to beats faster, sweat to start dripping and your defense shields go up and ready to defend. But, the kicker is that the danger that you feel isn’t real.

The word FEAR has often been used for an acronym of False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear has the power to cause you to look at the worst possible outcomes. It plays on your worst experiences, insecurities, unresolved childhood issues, and misinformation.

The brain doesn’t know whether what it sees is real or fake, fact or fiction. If you imagine the worst case scenario, then you will experience the same kind of emotions as someone who is actually going through that very worst case scenario. Since the brain can’t tell if what it sees actually happened, is happening at the moment or is just part of your imagination, it responds as if it were real and happening now. That’s the horrible thing about the brain but also the good thing. Because you have the power to give your brain new information and new images (ie. the vision books) that haven’t necessarily happened yet and change your life. 

The only effective way to overcome fear is to face it head-on. You can take back control of your life by working through your emotional triggers such as childhood traumas and other unresolved issues that are holding you back through fear. When you take back control you build the confidence you need to be more, do more and have more. You learn to live life on your terms instead of being driven by fear.  

Start challenging the false beliefs that cause your fear. Begin by replacing the false images and information you replay in your mind. I’m going to share more about that in an upcoming blog, but this is what I want you to know. You have the power in you to overcome fear! Those are some of the words of encouragement I left with the woman in class as I pulled her aside to speak to her privately. I let her know that she has the power in her to overcome the fear, get her drivers license and be the grandmother she desires to be. On her terms not fear’s terms! And I believe she’s going to do it!

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

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