Why Fear Can Be A Good Thing
What’s your earliest memory as a child?
Did something happen, that made you scared?
Or did you see something that made you laugh and then cry?
Maybe you played with friends and you all ran away from your mum?
Some of our earliest memories tend to be the ones where we were fearless.
As children, we don’t know anything about consequences… we just did stuff & learned from it.
I was about 3 years of age. We lived on a farm in the middle of a national forest, in South Africa.
In those days on the farm, we had no running water from the council and no waste pipes for toilets.
However, we were so fortunate to get fresh water from the rivers and streams, flowing graciously down from the mountains above our bungalow.
All we had to do was walk to the streams, collect water in the reservoir cans and bring it back to the bungalow.
So, one day my little sister and I walked with our carer to the stream, to collect some water.
The forest was green with ferns, scrubs and plants. It was late spring, so everything was lush, overgrown and looked three times my own size at that age.
The stream had a little wooden bridge, made from a few logs, woven together with rope.
Just wide enough for one person to walk across. However, easy enough to sit on and scoop water with a little bucket.
My carer instructed my sister and I to sit down, on the side of the stream while she’s filling the buckets with water.
Being very curious of what she was doing, I got up and started walking towards her, along the little bridge.
Now, not knowing enough about balancing myself, nor the fact that wooden logs can be slimy and slippery….
I found myself sitting in the middle of the stream, with water bubbling around my waist, flowing effortlessly past me.
Still a bit dumbfounded as to what happened, I saw all the long grass and ferns growing on the side of the little stream, being gently pulled by the flowing water, making a dense wall in the stream.
From my angle, it looked like a tunnel with the water flowing straight into it’s mouth.
All the grass and ferns, still attached to the edge of the stream but slowly being pulled by the moving water into the direction of this tunnel.
All of a sudden, I started to realised that I could get sucked into this tunnel and disappear like the ferns and grass.
Obviously I started crying. Not because I got a fright from falling, because I could only see this tunnel in front of me and I was scared of being sucked into it.
In reality, this of course all happened in a matter of seconds. But for me it felt like I was sitting there for a long time.
I jumped up out of the stream, water running down my soaked clothes and I scrambled to the edge of the stream, clambering out as quickly as possible.
Of course I got told off for not listening in the first place, but that day was something I’ll remember forever.
Now why on earth would I be telling you this story?
Well, you face obstacles on a daily basis. Some bigger than others. Some more scary and some not so scary…
But it often isn’t as bad as we make it out to be.
We’re scared of being sucked into a tunnel. The biggest fear is that we don’t know what is on the other side. So we make up our own stories of fear.
So I want to share with you 3 Reasons Why Fear Can Be A Good Thing.
1. Fear Can Push You To Take Action
As I was sitting in the stream, looking at that grass tunnel I knew that I didn’t want to go there.
And even as a little girl, my instinct kicked in and I took action to get out of there.
The “fight or flight factor” is something that should not be overlooked.
Our ancestors used this to protect themselves from danger. However, in today’s time we don’t have animals chasing us for their dinner anymore.
Today we have other fears.
Fear of the unknown. Of what our social environment would think of us. Even doing something wrong. Fear of “what if’s”…..
And you want to know the best part – it’s all made up!
Yup, it’s all in your head. You talk to yourself on a daily basis and unconsciously you’re telling yourself all of this.
Most of the times you might even start the sentence with “What if….”
So, instead of fear paralysing you (stopping you in your tracks), use it as fuel to propel yourself forward.
Next time you face an obstacle, do this:
Write down the obstacle.
What outcome do you want? (Not what you think might happen…) And write it down.
What do you feel is the right action to take (even if it’s a small step) towards your outcome?
Take that step immediately.
Once you write down the obstacle or fear that is standing right in front of you, you’re almost confronting it and evaluating it.
You’ll also find that by looking at it in your own words….. it’s not actually as bad as you thought.
Yes, all obstacles might not be what you wanted….. but then go and write down what you want the outcome to be.
Now you can focus on the outcome and work around this obstacle or fear.
2. Fear Means That You Care
I’ve listened to a business coach recently, talking about going on stage in front of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. And before going up on every stage, she got scared.
Scared she might trip, walking onto the stage.
Radio silence from the audience (in other words, you talked them all to sleep).
Maybe even that her presentation would freeze.
Or scared she would forget her speech.
Her business started small, where she was always talking on stage to a small group of children at schools.
And even then, before going in front of children, she got scared.
However, one day she was ready to go and talk to a group of children on stage and as she walked into the hall, she realised she wasn’t scared anymore.
She got on stage and something didn’t feel right.
But she continued and finished her hour on stage. As she walked off the stage and realised, she’s not passionate anymore.
She doesn’t want to do this anymore. She felt something deeper was missing.
And so she branched out her business and today, she talks to women all over the world about getting on stage and talking to thousands of people.
And still today, she gets scared before getting on that stage.
It taught me an important lesson….. being scared doesn’t mean that you’re not good at what you do or, doubting yourself.
It means that you care about life. You want to do the right things.
You want to make an impact in the world. You want to be a good wife, mother, sister and daughter.
That’s why we get scared. Because we care…
So next time you’re scared of doing something different. Scared of getting out of that comfort zone…. think about how you care and what you care about.
Let that be your driving force to move forward and know being scared, means to care.
3. Fear Can Change Your Perspective.
One of the biggest fears that hold people back from accomplishing their goals or reach their dreams, is fear of change.
Here’s an interesting fact. Fear of change is also known as Metathesiophobia. It’s often linked with Tropophobia, which means the fear is moving.
When you’re being pushed out of your comfort zone, how does that make you feel?
Nervous, worried, scared….
When I decided to quit my job and work on my business full time. I was super scared!
Fear crawled in at every angle of my being and I was questioning my decision.
All the “what ifs…” started coming up. And trust me, I had a lot of them.
My head was buzzing and I felt I couldn’t make a decision, just by thinking.
I felt like I was back in that little stream, staring at a tunnel and not knowing what’s on the other side.
And so, I’ve decided that I’m going to write down, what I want to find on the other side of that tunnel.
I need to change and I should not be afraid of it, when I know what lies on the other side.
Here’s what I did:
Write down all your “what if…” questions. Example: What if I don’t get any clients?
Then write down what you want from that question. Example: I want 5 client’s in my first month of business!
Now what solution do you think will help you, get what you want. I need to reach out to 10 people every day and tell them about my business. Within a month, I’ll have 5 clients.
And I did this for all my “what if” questions….. by the time I reached my “what if” question number 6…. I was laughing at myself!
I found all my answers. All the other fears I had were all in my head…. they’re not real.
And I walked into the office the next week and handed in my notice. I was over the moon!
Fast forward to today, I still get people asking me if I miss my job and I can honestly say…. no.
My future is now. What I do today.
I want change. I’m not afraid of it anymore, because I’m in control of my own life.
So change your perspective and decide what you want to see on the other side of that tunnel.
I know it’s hard to let-go of things you’re used to – habits, fears (even that box of chocolates in the cupboard)
And that’s why we all need help sometimes. Guidance, motivation & inspiration.
You need to hear other people’s stories and successes. You need guidance to know what you can do to reach the other side of the tunnel.
Inspiration & motivation is key for any success, because it helps you get out of your own head and change your perspective.
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Resources Mentioned In This Episode: