What If the Fear Isn’t Going Anywhere?

What if you knew, without a doubt, that the fear you feel about going after what you want isn’t going anywhere, ever?

Our lizard brains are experts at making us believe we’re in mortal danger if we even think about pushing through the fear, anxiety and adrenaline, aren’t they? No wonder we all try to wait until the fear is gone before taking a step forward with the stuff we REALLY want. I know I do that allthefuckingtime.

That’s why it took me 5+ years to go from wanting to become a coach, to becoming one.

And why it took me 2+ years from the time I graduated training to launching my business.

And it’s also why — to this very day — I have a hard time talking about what I do. I don’t know if it’s impostor syndrome or if I’m convinced I’ll be ridiculed for choosing such a non-left-brained profession (or maybe some of both)…all I know is that if I try to tell someone about what I do and how I help, it’s a full-on stumble-and-stammer-fest.

For me, and maybe for you, too, fear has become a false indicator of readiness, and even worthiness.

My reasoning goes like this:

I’m scared, so I must not be ready.
I’m not ready, so I must not have prepared fully.
I didn’t prepare fully, so I must not be taking this seriously.
I’m not taking this seriously, so I’m not worthy of getting what I want (so why bother trying?).

It’s an ugly chain of false beliefs, all starting with the assumption that it’s possible to be without fear when it comes to doing what matters most.

But what if that just isn’t possible? What if being afraid is part of pursuing something important? And part of being human? And the fear isn’t going anywhere?

If I wait for the fear to leave, I will never do the thing my heart wants, the thing I believe I’m here to do.

I’m left with two options:

1. Abandon my dream

2. Figure out how to step forward despite the fear

The idea of “feel the fear and do it anyway” is not a new concept, of course. For some reason, though, a conversation with Suzanne Ragan Lentz about this idea allowed it to sink more deeply into my bones.

So…if I know that the fear will always be with me to one degree or another, which option do I choose?

I want to go with the second one. (I may not always succeed, but that’s the one I’m committed to.)

I feel like I say this here all the time, but it’s a practice.

Just like in meditation, where you let your thought float by and come back to your breath, you let your fear float by and come back to the truth of who you are and what you want, and step forward.

There is no magic pill. There is no amount of time you can wait to avoid the practice.

You practice by doing. And by trying again even if you let fear drive the bus for a while.

How to practice this

But how am I going to practice this? How will you?

It will look different for everyone, and it’ll depend on what you’re afraid of.

For me, it will mean pushing myself to talk more about what I do, rather than hiding.

For you, it might mean hitting the publish button more, or saying no to opportunities that aren’t quite what you want. It might mean risking pissing off your family in order to do a better job of meeting your needs for self-care, or enforcing your boundaries with clients and co-workers.

Here’s what I want you to know

I know it’s hard. (Believe me, I know.)

It’s normal. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or the thing you’re trying to do.

Being afraid says nothing about who you are or what you’re capable of. It doesn’t mean you’re not ready, or unworthy.

Fear just is, and we each have to choose, over and over again, to move forward in spite of it.

I’m tired of waiting for the fear to go away. How about you?

The right support can make it much easier to practice moving forward despite the scariness of it. Here are some ways I can help.

3 thoughts on “What If the Fear Isn’t Going Anywhere?

  1. Sheila Bergquist

    Fear can be a real bitch! I suffer from an anxiety/panic disorder and it has reared it ‘s ugly head again since the recent passing of my brother (the last of my family). I am desperately trying to get better and you are so right about having to move on in spite of it. Some days I’m more successful at that than others. I’m so glad you have decided to go on in spite of your fear. I love your site and it has been a real comfort to me, reading about your dealing with fear and depression. You have a gift and don’t ever doubt that. Be proud of what you do. Hugs to you!

    1. Victoria Post author

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Sheila. That sounds like a terribly difficult thing to deal with. It makes perfect sense that some days would be easier than others, and it’s important to make room for the grieving process. It can be tricky, can’t it? Where is the line between being present with one’s grief, and allowing oneself to stay too long in a place of fear?

      Sometimes it’s just hard to tell, and all you can do is take small steps and see how it feels. Some of this practice really comes down to learning what we each need.

      Thank you so much for your kind words — I’m honored that you are finding some comfort in my site. I’m sending love and hugs to you!

      1. Sheila Bergquist

        Thank you Victoria. Yes, it is hard to grieve and have the whole anxiety/fear thing going on at the same time. It can be very overwhelming, but like you said, it takes small steps and learning what we need. I will remember that when I get in that space where you don’t know which way to turn. Love and hugs to you too.

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