How to Get Smart About Fear
I think we all need a fear toolkit that helps us navigate the fear in our lives.
Tara Sophia Mohr is a writer, life coach and personal growth teacher. Her work focuses on helping individuals create more authentic, fulfilled lives. With an MBA from Stanford University and her undergraduate degree in English literature from Yale, Tara takes a unique approach to personal growth work that blends mind and heart, intellectual rigor and intuitive wisdom.
How do we get the courage to launch a big idea that we may be very afraid of moving forward with? The first thing is to get wise about fear, to get really smart about fear. I think we all need a fear toolkit that helps us navigate the fear in our lives. So if you’re feeling a lot of fear here are a few things you can do. When you feel the fear call up a sense of love or being loved.
You can do that by thinking of people you love or who love you or just tapping into an energy of love. Love and fear can’t really coexist, so that’s going to help you move past the fear. Another tool if love is feeling a little maybe squishy or woo-woo to you, call up curiosity because curiosity and fear can’t really coexist. So if you’re afraid of maybe pitching a bunch of investors for your new idea what can you get curious about at that meeting? What are you actually curious about? Are you curios about how you’re going to do? Are you curios what they’re going to say?
Are you curios what their like? If you can let your curiosity lead and actually pull you forward you’re going to be able to move into action. Fear is also a physical response, so you can interrupt it at a physical level by taking deep breaths. Just simply taking five breaths where you really try and let the exhalation be as long as possible you’re going to interrupt the fear. So all of those are tools on the side of managing fear.
There is another side of how you can move forward and that’s by strengthening the calling, the dream. That’s by increasing your connection to all of that because actually that is bigger than your fear, so if you can really like plug in the electrical cord into the socket of that passion and dream that’s going to be bigger than the fear and one way I think of doing this is actually dating your dream and here is what I mean by that. So often when we get a dream or an idea, something we’d like to pursue, maybe we enjoy the thought of it for five minutes.
I'm sure you’ve had this experience. You get really excited thinking about something you want to pursue and kind of romancing the idea and then you immediately put it on trial. Well how would that be feasible? How could I do that with my job? What about my mortgage? And all these questions about how make it happen come in.
So I liken this to a first date. If you wanted to explore having a great relationship with someone would you go out to dinner with them on a first date and say how actually would this work because I see that your family is from the Midwest and my family is from New York so I can’t see how we could get along or I don’t know, you have a—you wouldn’t do that. What would you do on the first date? You would get to know this person. You would show up with your warmth and your curiosity. That is actually what you want to do with your dream. You want to date it. You want to build a loving and caring relationship, so that means spending time with your dream, getting to know it, bringing warmth and respect and curiosity and actually treating it as something apart from you that deserves to be respected and listened to and nurtured.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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