This week, as I took a very unexpected tumble in a main floor lobby of a downtown Dallas high-rise, I was reminded of the shock and awe factor that is associated with unexpectancy.
When you and I don’t expect something to happen, it always seems to make us feel taken advantage of, dumbfounded, and bewildered.
Unexpected, and even traumatic things can happen.
Of late, this has come in the form of bombings, bombings, and more bombings. Shootings, shootings, and more shootings.
Your unexpected bill in the mail. Your disappointment with how things are going in your building your own brand.
When I fell this week, that was my unexpected event of the week. But it wasn’t like I was going around, holding up a sign that said “god, I hope I fall today! Feed my fear, feed my fear!”
We don’t do that with fear either. None of us asks to be afraid or for our fears to increase.
However, fear is showing up in your life in a pattern – did you know that? If not, today is the day I teach you how to identify the pattern.
First though, a few things you should know about fear.
1. Fear is an indicator. Sort of like my fall in the lobby, which was a result of wet floors, it was an indicator that something was beneath my feet I couldn’t see, even with my eyes wide open. Fear is an indicator as well. What does it indicate? Honestly, it indicates you’re doing the work you’re supposed to be doing. Here’s why that’s true…
Fear doesn’t show up when you’re cleaning your house, going to your 9-5, or getting dressed – ever notice that? Those are rote activities you engage in, on the regular. Fear isn’t required because no stretching of your character, personality, or spiritual man is needed. Fear doesn’t indicate because there’s nothing about to happen groundbreaking – you’re simply putting on your socks. It knows it would be a waste of time to try and scare you into cleaning house. No fear in sweeping and dusting.
No – when fear shows up, it’s indicative of something that’s about to happen that is substantial in nature – something that matters – something that moves something else.
2. Fear is masked as resistance. I could have sat on the floor of that cold, wet lobby floor, my knees aching something fierce, my ankle twisted and painful, and not moved, not tried to get up, and hell-bent on staying there until I wanted to get up. No one would’ve probably said anything to me had I decided to go the stubborn, resistant route.
Often times, fear comes masked this way – resistance. You can be sure today that anything you’re feeling very resistant to is most likely exactly what you should be engaging in – or at least exploring. Here’s a thought:
If it didn’t matter, you wouldn’t feel so much resistance to it. Fear is not a time waster. It shows up when it matters – when something you’re about to do matters, affects someone’s life in a huge way, is a stretching point in your life, or wants to grow your soul.
Fear in resistance form looks like you constantly trying to convince yourself that starting that business isn’t the right thing for you, but you’re trying to “convince” yourself every single day. It dominates your thoughts. OR knowing you need to ask for a promotion at work and consistently pushing it away with excuses and reasons that you know sound hollow.
Remember: if it meant nothing, you wouldn’t be pushing against it.
3. Fear shacks up with two cousins often: criticism & self doubt. You know those people who are constantly criticizing EV-ER-Y-THINGGG you do? The chances those people haven’t lived the life they want to live yet is high. While you’re working your arse off to do great work in the world, they are so busy with their material possessions or impressing others that you catch their eye. And suddenly, they have a huge problem with the work you’re doing.
Know anyone like that? I do. Those people are living in resistance to their own calling and dream. It is no reflection of you or your great and awesome work. People who are really satisfied with their lives don’t need to sit around a table and talk about someone else (uh, YOU). You can trust if that’s all they have time for, they are living in their own misery. Their own resistance (and fear) is barking at your elevation and blessing.
Let that criticism speak all it wants to – it’s detached from your work. The sticky piece of criticism is that it can come from within and without. So watch the self-critic too. She’s known to lash out her own profanities and biting remarks in your head.
Approach the voice of the critic with compassion and no judgement – notice her, don’t let her rule & reign, but let her know you’ve got things handled and taken care of. Don’t resist criticism – deal with it assertively, but with love. Everything you resist will persist, so don’t play the “I can’t hear you” game with her. Let her talk, then make sure you get your turn.
The other cousin to fear is self-doubt. Self-doubt is also an indicator, so that’s why these two hang out a lot in your brain.
Self-doubt is much more indicative of desire or aspiration. It’s that feeling of “gosh, I’d LOVEEE to do ___________, but I just don’t KNOWWW!” It’s that rush of adrenaline and wanting, but constant indecision feeling.
So knowing what we know about fear now, I want to point out to you the breakthrough wisdom found in this.
What is so awesome about The Fear Pattern is that it shows up exactly the same in all of our lives. Maybe at different times of the day and in different ways, but here’s the pattern:
Fear only shows up when the work you’re staring at and afraid of is yours to do.
The problem with our current paradigm and society is that it has taught us that we should avoid our fear. No, I’m not telling you to go do everything that makes your heart race and you’ll be good. There has to be emotional maturity here, but what I’m advocating is that when we feel fear around doing something that can only help another human being – work that matters, something attached to something bigger than ourselves, it’s worth evaluating and filtering through what we now know about fear.
We know fear’s an indicator, so now we take a look at that.
We know it shows up in the form of resistance, so we take a minute to evaluate what we could be resisting.
We know it hangs out w/ its cousins, criticism & self-doubt, so we try to find out what they’re saying before we decide.
I like to say we are engaging in Conscious Fear Evaluation.
There’s no judgment, just curiosity and love, attention and decision.
[quote author=”Gabby Bernstein”]I look at my fear without judgment and I pray for it to be transformed.[/quote]
Look, I’m with you. Some days you just want to throw up your hands – it seems like procrastination is taking over, nothing’s getting done, and you don’t have a clue what to do.
That’s not the truth, though. It’s fear. The truth is that, when you slip and fall on something you couldn’t have seen you’ll get back up. Even though something looks scary, overwhelming, or not doable, you’ll use what you know about fear now to engage it in conversation.
And whether or not the “lobby” of your work looks slippery or unsure, you’ll walk through it the very next day with just as much or MORE confidence than you did yesterday.
You know this work is yours to do.
Love & gratitude,