Fearless Living in a Fearful World
Posted on June 12, 2010 by Bradley Davidson, One of Thousands of Performance Coaches on Noomii.
Is fear overtaking your life vision and purpose. Read here about how to move beyond fear to live your best life.
As a personal and professional coach, I have often used Stephen Covey’s visualization exercise with my clients to help them discern and discover their life’s purpose. In this exercise, Covey asks you to imagine you are walking into a funeral service. You notice the sight and lovely aroma of the beautiful flowers that were sent in honor of the deceased. You hear the quiet yet uplifting music. You see a large crowd of people whose lives were deeply touched and changed by the individual for whom the memorial service is being held. They are here to celebrate the life of one who meant so much to them. You walk to the front of the room to gaze upon the mortal body of the deceased. You look inside the casket and you are shocked. The body lying in the casket is yours! You suddenly realize that you are at your own funeral service. The flowers were sent in your honor. The throng is gathered to remember the profound impact you had on their lives.
As you sit down and look at the funeral program, you notice three speakers are scheduled to talk about your life. Covey asks you to dream about what you would want each of the speakers to say about you. What would you want your family to say? Your coworkers? Your friends? How would you want them to talk about the impact you made on their lives? This is a great way to “think with the end in mind”. To identify what you are called to do with your life. To visualize the positive change you can make on the world and on individual lives.
Now Enters the Fear
Discerning and understanding your Divine calling is an exciting journey. It can be challenging but very rewarding to finally begin to understand the purpose for which you were created. Then, the work of living your life’s calling begins. This is often where our future dreams experience a block. As I have worked with clients to move beyond this state of “being stuck”, I have discovered that one of the key roadblocks for living our purpose is fear. Fear of failure, fear of what others will think of us, fear of our own success, fear of the unknown, and other fears can effectively keep us from living the life we were created to live. Moving beyond these fears can put us on track to living in the joy and light of being who we are meant to be.
Moving Beyond the Block
But how do we move beyond fear? How do we live fearlessly in a world that is so filled with fear? The first step is recognizing that fearless people are not people who experience no fear; fearless people are those who experience fear but live fearlessly anyway. Read that last sentence again…it is a key point. I believe that if you asked highly successful people (those who live their life’s calling) if they felt fear, the vast majority of them would acknowledge fear in their lives. But I am convinced they would tell you they have identified how to live fearlessly despite the fear. Here are five steps that can help you live fearlessly even when fear is within you.
Bring the fear into the light – Fear can have the most power over us when we allow it to live in the darkness, deep inside of us and unacknowledged. Bring it out into the open. Acknowledge it. Stare it down. Talk about it with a friend or confidante.
Listen to the fear – Recognize that fear is natural and normal. Fear is often present for a reason. Rational fear tells us there is danger and that we should proceed cautiously or not proceed at all. First, examine the fear and determine if it is rational or irrational. Ask yourself, “Is the subject of this fear real? Is my level of fear greater (or less than) it should be? Am I thinking of this fear rationally and logically?” Then, listen to the fear and identify what it is telling you. Only you can make the determination as to whether or not it represents a real danger and, if it does, how you should respond. Be observant. Explore it. Talk to a trusted friend or a professional about the fear, what it means, and how you should respond.
Identify the source of the fear – Where is the fear coming from? What, exactly, are you fearful about? Understanding, specifically, what you are afraid of can be the first step in moving beyond the fear. Try asking yourself, “What is going on inside of me when I dream this dream? What am I afraid will happen? What am I afraid will not happen?”
Decide if and how you will be fearless despite the fear – If you have decided that the fear is real but have made the well-thought-out and rational decision to move forward, recognize that the “feeling of fear” may continue to glow inside you. With that said, how do you do what you need to do even when the fear is alive in you? Start by dreaming without the fear. Ask yourself, “If I were not afraid of this, what would I do next to move closer to my dream?” Then, think back to a time that you did the right thing despite being fearful. Ask yourself, “What did I do to overcome the fear before? How can I apply that learning to this situation?” Then, create meaningful goals or “baby steps” that will gradually move you past the fear and into the purpose of your life.
Just Do It! – Now that you have brought the fear into the open, cautiously listened to it, identified its source, and decided how you will respond, what’s next? If you have made the decision to step into the fear, the next step is to “Just Do It”. Step into the discomfort. Follow your plan. Leverage your coach or trusted friend to gain the confidence to walk past the fear and do what you need to do.
Are You Ready?
Are you ready to live fearlessly? Do not wait for fear to go away or you may arrive at your own funeral having never realized your unique purpose. Instead, focus on how to live your purpose despite the fear. Doing so can change your life and the world.