Kill Your Fears


'I'm good enough,  I'm smart enough, and doggone it,  people like me."Jack Handy

I have a friend who is the first person to imagine the "worst case scenario" for any situation that crosses his path. Death - Disease - Embarrassment. He consistently comes up with reasons  why people will hate him, how he will be misunderstood, and/or how everything is going to fail.

He spends so much time worrying about what could happen in life, it makes me wonder if he's really living life.

I wish I could pry this guy's head open, take out all of the anxiety and pour in a bucket of confidence. I want to do SOMETHING to convince him he's going to be fine. I want to grab him by the shoulders and shake him and say, "DON'T BE SO AFRAID!!"

Then I realized this guy is comfortable with his fears. He likes them the way you like a pair of old sneakers which no longer support your feet, but  also don't blister your toes. He's doesn't see fear as debilitating, but recognizes it as a familiar, albeit annoying, friend.

I suppose it's easy to be critical of this habit, but we are ALL afraid of something. Fear is universal, but how we deal with fear is largely individualized.

How do you handle your fear? Do you ignore, suppress, or deny the pit in your stomach or do you take action and work through your worries? People who live the most worry-free lives do so not because they're never afraid, but because they know how to disarm their fears. They start by asking themselves one critical question:

What am I afraid of...REALLY?

Suppose you have a big presentation next week and you're literally losing sleep over addressing the crowd. Do you know what you're afraid of, REALLY?

Because the answer isn't "public speaking."

Nope. The answer is bigger than the task at hand. The answer more likely relates to a deeper insecurity or fear of rejection or ridicule. Perhaps your need to maintain a particular image is the issue. Or maybe you're afraid you won't appear to be smart or competent. Perhaps you think you'll be fired if you blow the meeting, lose all of your savings, and be forced to live on the street.

Maybe you stop short of imagining yourself homeless. Or maybe not.

Whatever your fear is and however far you decide to play out the consequences of  your worst nightmares becoming reality,  you have to start by naming what's really in play.

In fact, I think the only way you work through the fear is to dig into and name it accurately. Only when you know what you're really dealing with can you find a way to let go.

Want to get started? Own what's really bothering you by giving it a name.

It's time to lose the old sneakers!