I don’t want to do it. Really. Every fiber in my being is shouting in unison that it’s not with me on this one. I need to follow up with schools about getting workshops on the calendar for next year, and I am doing everything under the sun to avoid it.
Did these workshops fall short or talks go poorly last year? Quite the opposite actually. They were all very successful, and the feedback from the students was exceptional. But I’m avoiding it nonetheless, as irrational as that is, and it feels just as potent as any fear, even though I can’t explain it.
Sometimes it feels like I don’t have my own back. Whether judging my past performance or worrying about how I’m going to do in the future, it’s all uncomfortable and I always find myself wondering how long I will have to feel that discomfort. It’s not that I don’t want the opportunity that comes with trying, I do. What I really fear is the discomfort of my inner critic–that voice that gives me unhelpful criticism that turns a great deal of my successes into “what could you have done betters?”
My inner critic exploits my insecurities and amplifies them until the work that I’m excited and inspired to do becomes something big and scary enough that I don’t want to follow up, even on work that has been successful! “Have you actually felt your fear and lived to tell about it?” I’ll ask myself knowing that even asking the question gives me a bit of perspective as to fear only having the power I give it, and that it’s not fatal.
Fear or anxiety is a part of my everyday routines. In fact, it’s part of all of our everyday routines. It’s in our lives sometimes for better (when it keeps us sharp), and sometimes for worse (when it hangs us up). It may not be the first emotion we would invite to a party we were throwing for our emotions, but we all know it might show up whether we wanted it to or not.
Some days we struggle to get through it, and it’ll just sit in us like a weight WHILE we do things that are new or hard. Other days it fuels our efforts to do well in things we’re uncertain of being able to accomplish. Sometimes we avoid our favorite places, people, or even things we want to do because we think it might show up there. Other times we go or interact anyway and and allow what is to be to be.
So, what’s my point? You’re here to tell the tale. Useful, unuseful, big, scary, reasonable, over the top, or just enough to get you moving, fear is, after all, just an energy in your body that is meant to go through you. It’s a signal to give you information that you can use. Or you can choose to not use that information at all if it isn’t helpful. It’s really up to you.
Before you step into that situation again (successful, unsuccessful, whatever it is), consider making a list of what fear is or isn’t for you, so you know where you stand when you are taking on a challenge close to your heart.
What fear’s not:
A reason to stop
Something to avoid at any cost
A beast of an emotion that ends you
Alive (it doesn’t breathe)
Able to live on its own
What it is
A warning signal
A teacher of how to ask for help
An instructor on how to do it better
A motivator to improve my efforts
A reason to dot my “I’s” and cross my “Ts”
A preview of a future that hasn’t happened
Fear requires you. It requires your doubts, your insecurities about something you’re uncertain of to emerge within you. It requires your fixed attention to grow and flourish within you. And it requires your acquiescence to have any sway over your actions, your relationships, your life. Once you understand your relationship with fear, what it feels like, when and how it comes up within you, and what it has to tell you that is actually helpful, then you can minimize its duration and lessen its ability to keep you stalled in your tracks (or, worse, send you running away from your dreams!).
So, now I know that my fear has me stalling, I’m going to get back to work contacting schools about providing emotional resilience workshops for students this fall. But, I’ll use the reminder my fear has given to ensure my emails have all the information clearly laid out before I hit ‘send’!
If you would like to learn tools and skills to help you reduce your emotional isolation, lessen your avoidance of shame, fear, and anxiety, to reach your goals, break old habits, or create new ones, I can help. We can meet virtually or in person at my office in Waterbury, Vermont. Just click the button or the link below for a free consultation and let’s talk. Click to Select a Date & Time for your free consultation.