The Breakthroughs Blog

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Welcome 2014! Lessons in Facing Fear

Welcome 2014! Lessons in Facing Fear

Happy New Year

It’s now been two weeks since 2014 began. How are you enjoying it so far? Has it been good to you? Have you been good to it and to yourself?

Did you make any resolutions? Have you been sticking to them? Has it been easy or hard?

Here’s a little video I’d like you to see: (please click the link below and the video will open in a new window) – it’s a clip of me on New Year’s Day, being interviewed on National Television. LIVE. The rest of this post isn’t about resolutions though but about my personal experience of facing one of my deepest fears and some tips I can offer to help you face your own. 


The Backstory

I was given less than 24 hours notice to be on TV. Actually, at first, I was requested to be on with only a few hours notice (on New Year’s Eve) and I passed on the opportunity, as I’ve done in the past. On the spot, I was offered a second chance to do the interview the following day. My body was starting to feel the fear. I took an hour to think about it and said affirmatively, yes, I’d love to be there. Even though a big part of me wanted the producer to tell me “sorry, someone else filled the spot” – an even bigger part of me wanted to face this and start my year off with courage and trust in myself.

This made New Year’s Eve kind of interesting. I was making a nice dinner for my wife… minor panic attack. Mix the sauce, open the wine….a wave of panic and anxiety rushed through my body… peel, cut, and boil the potatoes…..another wave of panic and so on.

As each wave of panic arose, I immediately called on my resilient voice. I told myself, “If I keep listening to the voice of panic, it will overcome me and I’ll be a mess. I’ll have a terrible New Year’s Eve, I probably won’t sleep, and I’ll be in terrible shape by the time I get to the TV station.”

I could have made the whole experience a nasty terrible one I’d never want to repeat. That’s what I learned from my past and I was determined to create a new possibility and a new future.

I reached out for help, which is how we build resilience in the first place as infants. When kids are scared, they immediately reach out for connection, love and support. At some point, we were probably punished or scolded or persuaded to not be so needy, so we stop reaching out, we go inward, and there we begin developing our egos and false identities. So, trusting that my ego wouldn’t provide me with any support, I reached out to my wife and told her everything that was going on inside me. With love, presence and trust, she calmed me and reassured me. She reminded me that I’m at my best when I speak from my heart. “Just tell the truth. Have fun with it. This is a great opportunity…”

I responded with “yeah but, what if I freeze on live national tv? What if I can’t think straight? What if nothing comes out or even worse, I say something incredibly stupid?” We imagined the worst, the hilarious, and had a good laugh. Everything I’ve learned over the past 10-12 years told me that I’d survive and we’d have a fun story to share: “Remember the time I was on TV and stared silently for 15 seconds and then blurted out dumblefart blinkerdorf ?” Yeah, good times.

If you watched the video to the end, you will hear me talk about a terrifying fear of public speaking. That’s not the exact truth. The more precise truth is, I do love public speaking, performance and self expression of all kinds. Who knows where I’d be if it wasn’t for a deep, pervasive and gripping anxiety that I’ve had my whole life. It’s not always at the surface and I’ve done a lot of work to get to where I am today, so  I’ve had many good years without it crippling me but I’ve learned, it’s always there somewhere in my body waiting for any possible threat. Just the proposition of having a fearful experience sends alarms throughout my body and makes me want to avoid that experience at all costs. In some cases or areas of life, I do avoid those experiences. In others, when it comes to a higher purpose or a more meaningful reason, I do the work I need to prepare myself and take a step forward.

For this opportunity that life presented to me, I decided that I wanted to share something meaningful with anyone watching. I wanted to be real and authentic, heartful, calm, and even gracious. It wouldn’t hurt to appear somewhat intelligent and helpful as well(a guy can wish right?). I wanted my best parts to shine through and I think, for the most part, I achieved a lot of that in my first attempt. There are things I can pick on or pick apart with the clip but I won’t. It’s not important. The important thing is that I did it and have learned a lot from the experience. Plus, the support and pride of my family and friends is something very touching for me, so I’m grateful on many levels.

I rarely share personal stories and have tried to keep the information on this site and in this blog objective and something everyone can find interesting and helpful without me being the center of it. This time, I feel differently. I want you to see that it is possible to break through life-long fears and struggles and prove to ourselves that we are worthy and can do anything our hearts truly desire.

What lessons have I learned from this that might help you?

1When faced with fear, breathe. Breathe deeply several times and exhale deeply. Ground and center yourself. If you don’t know how, I encourage you to learn and practice. (Here’s a post on my site about finding your center)

2Name the fear, express it, get it out of you. Share it with someone who cares about you. Be as specific as possible, noticing parts of your body that feel any discomfort and noticing the messages your ego is telling you or warning you about.

3Decide what you really want (and it’s not to avoid the fear at all costs) and what this experience could give you. What’s on the other side of this challenging situation? Who will you be when you get through this? How will you grow? How will it feel to set your heart free and be your true self?

4Consider the worst that could happen? Will it kill you? Or would not doing it suffocate your spirit or soul even more? It wouldn’t hurt to have some fun with it and laugh a little.

5Decide, commit and resolve to doing it and then do it. Center yourself in your heart and keep your attention on your intention (how do you want to show up? who do you want to be? what part of you do you want to express?)

6Rejoice and celebrate no matter what the outcome. Celebrate your freedom and anchor it in.

7Summarize and review what you have learned. Reflect on your feelings, thoughts, emotions and any residual internal resistance (your ego may try to tell you, yeah that was just one time, next time could be a disaster). Capture the thoughts or ideas that uplift you and take a mental journey to consider what’s possible now? This will be your spirit talking and what your soul  is ready for, so listen carefully and don’t dismiss it.

8 If possible, do it again…. and again…. and again…. (could be the same fear or a different situation that scares you) each time you will develop a stronger sense of self trust, confidence and ultimately a higher level of self mastery.

An Invitation

What fears have been stopping you from being and expressing who you really are?  If you need some help, I invite you to sign up for a consultation and we’ll take some time to delve deep and create some meaningful goals for 2014 and beyond and I’ll help you each step of the way.

Here’s to a rich and fulfilling year, full of positive possibilities, love, faith and peace.



« Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson: Book Recommendation | Life Doesn’t Wait, So Quit Stalling and Start Living! »

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