Anything worth doing will have fear attached to it. That’s how we know it’s worth doing…when our internal alarms try to make us turn around, go home, crawl back into bed, and stay there until the urge to do whatever it is we’re thinking of doing goes away.
Had this conversation online with a local filmmaker who shot a post to the web that he was buried in work. The thread progressed to the point where he admitted that he was totally stressed out; too many deadlines, not enough time. I happened to have firsthand knowledge of his incredible work, and stated, “Stress and fear always play a part in great work.” He messaged me that those words clarified his passion and motivation for what he was doing. It was a very fulfilling moment for both of us.
Allowing fear into our lives is natural. Allowing it to disable us is not. When we crumble under the weight of our own fear, we give that fear permission to derail our journey, to bring us to our knees, not in humility, but in tears, pain, and frustration. It causes us to doubt ourselves in all future endeavors. It is not enough to ignore fear and hope it will go away. We must learn to use it to our advantage.
Whenever we’re faced with something we don’t have control over – public speaking, a performance, a concert, a reading – our minds “fill in the blanks,” creating worry, anxiety, and fear. Depending on how we deal with that fear – which is a product of our innate “fight or flight” response emotions – it can be a learning experience or a nightmare creator.
Fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance. Fear almost always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable. Fear could also be an instant reaction to something presently happening. Do you see where this is leading?
We allow ourselves to psyche ourself out. A teacher once told me that fear is an acronym:
We place our own expectations or magnify “might be” situations onto our present circumstances and allow them to increase in our minds until they’re beyond proportionate. Then we either let them flow through us, taking note of their inherent message, or we let them hobble us completely.
For some, fear is part of their preparation. I remember when, as a concert cellist, I would get the pre-performance jitters, sometimes feeling that I was about to vomit from nervousness and fear. But I learned from a former mentor to grab hold of that fear by the tail and whip it around, face it, and then skin it and wear it as a mantle. Once we understand and accept that it is a part of any process in which we face an unknown outcome, we can incorporate it, embrace it, and use it as a strength.
And tell yourself: anything worth doing has fear attached to it.