Why do so many of us let fear stop us from taking that next step? Why do leaders allow fear to strip them of forward motion?
As a therapist, one of the first things I do when working with a client is something called “case conceptualization.” It’s taking the client’s history, their description of the presenting problem(s) they face, as well as contextual, situational, and relational factors, and creating a wholistic picture of what’s really impacting their mental health and well-being, as well as what barriers need to be overcome for growth to occur.
The longer I practice and the more I conceptualize, the more aware I am of the power we give fear in our lives and the overwhelming impact it has on many aspects of our day-to-day choices.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that fear is one of the largest motivators we encounter on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, the motivation we experience from fear is often the least productive when it comes to embracing who we are (as uniquely crafted and purposed by God) and what we can do.
So, how do we stop fear from being so debilitating?
The first step is radically accepting fear will always be a part of your life. That doesn’t mean you will always feel fear. It means that you’ll never 100% escape fear. It is bound to crop up from time to time. However, embracing that reality means knowing how to react when fears rears its ugly head. Let’s be honest, I’ve never heard someone say they were well prepared for a challenge because they avoided, denied, or minimized the obstacles standing in their way.
Next, picture what moving forward in spite of your fear would look like. Close your eyes, journal it out, do what you can to visualize a detailed picture of overcoming the fear.
Finally, tell two of your people. You know, the people you trust to be your biggest cheerleaders and most honest critics. Ask them to listen without judgement - you’re not looking for “that’s a terrible idea,” or even “you couldn’t pick something better if you tried!” Ask them to listen with perspective; to consider your vision from a 360˚ angle and take into account as many variables as possible. Then have them provide two concrete steps that will set you on a course to punching fear in the face (aka - practical ways to achieve forward momentum).
Fear at its finest is just an emotion. Yes, it can be experienced as overwhelming and even paralyzing; however, fear never needs to become our identity unless we give it the power to do so.