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Fear undermines progress

This week, I was thinking about this – Fear will always undermine progress.

There are all kinds of reasons we feel fearful, but it doesn’t matter if we’re in an actual life or death situation (in which fear is the appropriate response) or, if we’re having a common, everyday experience (which is far more frequently the case and what I’m talking about here[1]) such as working up the nerve to say no to someone or give a public presentation. The funny thing is that our brains send out the same fear signals, regardless. Fear can feel like such a vast presence. And, it can really get you hurt or make you miss out. You might be over-reacting,

big time, to a situation that feels uncomfortable but really is completely manageable.

If you can reduce or eliminate fear, you are far more likely to prevail.

Fear likes to present itself as caution, practicality, doubt, humility, hesitancy, safety, the sensible thing to do and many other supposedly positive attributes. But when you are feeling fearful, check in with yourself. Be honest, but be kind. The fear is a message to you. It’s there for a reason, so it’s your job to figure out what it is. I used to know a therapist who’d say, “What’s the worst that could happen?” and then really make you walk through it. Once all the so-called horrible options were on the table, it was easy to see how unlikely the biggest fears were. What was left might not make you happy – in the short run – but was certainly manageable.

Fear also blinds us to a wonderful and frequently occurring outcome: things can actually turn out BETTER than we thought.

This week, when that feeling arises, whether it’s big or small, check in. Breathe. Listen to your better angels, your inner guidance. You might decide to take a small risk or a big one and find yourself better off.

[1] Again, this is a common, everyday experience I’m talking about. If you are in fear of domestic violence, you can call 800-799-7233 or text START to 88788. If you are thinking of harming yourself, call or text 988.


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