Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting Clear on Your Fear

By Michael Angier

Do you know when fear is holding you back?

I don't. At least not always.

When I realize I'm fearful, I find it reasonably easy to face. I can experience it and determine whether it's something I need to pay attention to or move through it.

But when I DON'T notice my fear, I'm in danger of having it sidetrack me and my objectives.

Our first line of defense is to be aware and be conscious of our fears-to get clear on what it is that's causing our fear. This kind of inquiry is often more challenging than you might think. Our fears can be slippery little devils.

And this is where many people stop. They're simply unwilling to determine what the real fear is. They remain in denial. But when we get clear, we can go to the next step.

We can begin to determine if the fear is rational or irrational. Most of our fears are not legitimate, but some are. If you find yourself on an unstable perch, a healthy fear of heights is a good thing indeed.

Once we decide whether our fear is rational or not, we have to decide whether the payoff to moving out of our comfort zone outpaces the discomfort of our fear.

Our energy flows where our focus goes. And our focus should be on what we want, NOT what we don't want.

In 1984, I did one of the first fire walks with Tony Robbins. He was 24 years old and just beginning his rocket climb to fame and fortune.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that looking at 1200-degree coals definitely causes you to face your fears.

One of the tactics Tony taught us in our pre-walk seminar was to "be willing to face our worst-case scenario". The idea is to think of the worst thing that can happen-even exaggerate it-and then see if we're willing to accept the worst.

The exaggeration in THIS case was "bloody stumps".

Over 120 people (all attendees) walked on fire. And to this day, I still use my memory of overcoming my fears that night when I feel trepidation in anything I undertake-or consider undertaking.

And I still have to work on being present enough to notice when I'm feeling fear. It's not like it's always a shaking, quaking, sweating fear. It's simply the discomfort that sometimes keeps us from going for all that we deserve.

I believe that awareness is 90-percent of overcoming any problem. As the great inventor and industrialist Charles Kettering said, "A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved."

Action Point Notice when you're in fear. Think about it. Feel it. Your fears can be valuable information for you, but they should be just that-information for you to use. They shouldn't run you.

Evaluate your fears. Then move through them and bask in the sunlight of your achievement.

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