F. E. A. R. (False Evidence Appearing Real)
I'm sure most of you have heard this acronym before. There's really nothing special about sharing it today, except that I plan to dissect the different types of fear that we all face at one time or another in our lives.
Fear of Failure
This one resonates with me and I would assume it does with most of us. Think about your early days as a young tot learning to walk. You start off trying to walk because you see everyone else around you doing it and it's getting them places faster, so why not give it a go. However, there is a small amount of fear that starts, even at this age, although it may appear unrecognizable. Fast forward a few years and we move on to riding a bike. That's a bigger and better/faster way to get to a location and you set out, but you're worried that you'll fall off. You're scared that you'll get hurt, but I think most importantly you're scared that you won't have the desire to get back up and keep trying.
Later we progress into our teenage years and early-mid adult years where we're preparing for the future. What does that look like? What if I don't get good grades to receive a scholarship for school? What if I don't find a career that ignites my soul? What if I don't find someone who will accept me for me and be married? The list goes on and on. Somehow, we find the ability to push past those fears, fears that are as real to us as our hand in front of our face in a severely dark room, not knowing what will happen. So what happens to our ability to push through as a child to as an adult. We somehow lose a portion of the spirit of faith in our ability to figure things out.
Fear of Success
This type of fear perplexed me for the longest time until further clarity shed some light. When we fear succeeding, it means we're worried about who we'll be leaving behind when we do succeed. It means that we might have to give us certain relationships, comforts, location, etc. When it comes to working, we might fear that we'll make so much money we won't know how to responsibly use it (not many of us are in this stage of fear :) Some of us fear the success that comes because it means we'll have more expected of us. Either of these reasons makes us believe that succeeding is something to be feared.
Fear of Loss
I have been struggling with this type of fear myself as I'm starting my own Personal Training business. This fear leaves you and me feeling like trying something new is too scary because you don't know what you'll gain, therefore, you don't know what you'll lose either. The tiptoe effect has led me down certain paths in the past that has left me wondering if I could have achieved things faster if I wasn't so scared of losing something.
Fear of the Unknown
While many of us think that this is what people fear the most, it really isn't. Most of us can have a general idea of how certain choices will play out, even if it's not the exact result. For example, while training for my first half marathon, I knew I was going to struggle with the mental side of running. I knew that I would have to fight my legs to keep moving. What I didn't know, and it really wasn't a fear to start with, was how fast I would complete the race. The fear of the unknown is a cop-out for pushing against the hard.
Fear can be a positive force for our good.
Fear can be the adrenaline rush that we need to make the necessary progress to propel ourselves towards success. My best examples were the fear of marriage and having babies. I didn't have the best examples to show me what a happy, eternal marriage could be like, so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to have one. I was also scared when I was pregnant that I would be pregnant FOREVER! (Spoiler alert, I have an awesome marriage and I wasn't pregnant forever, although 36 months is a LONG TIME!) Those fears weren't something that I dwelt on so much that I didn't go through with it. Those fears allowed me to push past my comfort zone and step into the unknown and figure it out.
We all have the ability to figure things out, we just have to be reminded. Fear can be a haunting force and it can be a driving force, what will it be for you? Some of the best lessons learned are on the other side of fear.
Face your fears, for they won't go away! Sometimes we have irrational fears that we laugh at later on down the road (like the fear of me opening my pantry and seeing a mouse eating a Cheetoh (wait that actually happened, so maybe it's not irrational ?!?!) A better example would be the irrational fear that I have that I'll die in a car accident. This fear insists that I'm the driver or at worst the backseat driver nagging wife. Either way, it's something that affects other people in a negative way that I feel like it's irrational. So what am I going to do about it? What would you do about it?
Regardless of the source, reality or practicality of our fears, they are still present. We must decide which fears are worth giving in to (never going to a bee farm for my cousin) and which ones we push through (my friend running a 100-mile race).
Learning WILL happen on the other side of fear. The learning from failure, success, loss or the unknown. We will come out stronger as a survivor of pushing against our fears and making the reality result in a human who is strong and unstoppable.
Write down some of your fears, figure them out and then go FIGHT against them! (You can put on your bee-keeper suit or never open the pantry, but you'll never know and knowing is half the battle!)