There’s fear, and there’s fear.
There’s being afraid of the dark, and then there’s the kind of fear that you are built of - the fear that occupies all cells, penetrates all thoughts, and subtly makes up your entire being, affecting every word you don’t say, every opinion you don’t speak, every move you don’t make, and every action you don’t take.
I’m the latter.
And occasionally I am scared of the dark too.
Feel the fear and do it anyway - says Susan Jeffries. I mean, that’s great. For when you occasionally have fear, or experience it. But when you are actually MADE of it? Thats a tall order.
I subscribe to a theory that we all have our shadows. And mine just happens to be fear.
I suppose I could have had jealousy, greed, anger, frustration, gluttony. Any of the above. But mine happens to be fear.
So wherever I go, whatever I do, it’s there. Sometimes it’s taunting me, haunting me, and other times it’s in it’s full blown expression - which looks like paralysis.
I do get paralysed by fear.
Fear is debilitating. It ruined my life. Or to put it more accurately - it was ruining a life I used to think I wanted.
Here were my top 4 main fears.
- Fear of making a mistake
- Fear of being seen
- Fear of criticism
- Fear of falling
There was no aspect of life that this doesn’t affect -
- trying (and immediately abandoning) new hobbies,
- from taking public transport and riding the next stop until someone else got off (lest anyone thought it was ME who pressed the button),
- walking down stairs,
- doing anything in winter,
- school... don’t even get me started (traumatising), or
- moot club at law school.
I mean, I’d rather forgo my entire future legal career than take part in that. PUBLIC SPEAKING. Actually fuck off.
And then went I went from school to a job....
Well I moved positions or companies anytime some big responsibility leap presented itself, including helping out with the Social Committee.
So Susan Jeffries - what would your tips be for this kind of pervading, all-seeing all-knowing fear?
Because in the end, I had so much fear and anxiety it blew out my adrenal system.
In the beginning this looked like I was just becoming a lightweight who couldn't handle her drinks, and could only have coffee once every 2 days for the jitters.
Then it looked like coeliacs disease, and dairy intolerance, and chronic fatigue. And thats not even mentioning the work related stress and panic attacks.
My liver was slowly malfunctioning, slowly buckling under the toxic load of stress caused by fear.
And so began a massive process of healing. And fear management tactics.
I have been trialling this and I've come up with two clear favourites:
- Find something to Do that you LOVE more than you fear, and
- Do something everyday that scares you,
Love cannot exist in the same space as fear.
So if you LOVE something - and I’m not talking about rollercoasters, or as some people have said to me - video games. I’m not talking about watching movies with your friends, or walks by the sea, or shopping - I’m talking about what you were put on the planet to do.
Figure that out.
If you REALLY love something, you will do it no matter what. This can be translated as figuring out what your passions are - really really specifically - and doing THEM to a T. Stop doing the stuff that scares and stresses you and focus on the stuff you really connect to that LIGHTS YOU UP.
In this realm, there is no space for fear.
I love people, and I love finding out their why, and I love giving them a platform to talk about it. i could do it all day long. On camera, off camera, on stage and in private. I love it. I love it enough for there to be no room for fear.
And the second tactic.
Do something every day that scares you.
Fear is just given to us as a warning system. And if you pay TOO much attention to the warning system it can throw you off.
Sure, we want to be warned of EXTREME danger, so that we can act accordingly.
But when the warning system is just trying to keep you safe, keep you in your comfort zone, and that shit isn't even REAL, PLUS that comfort zone is shrinking, what are you going to do?
Why would we even want to be in that comfort zone though?
What good stuff ever happened in a comfort zone?
What inventions, world changing negotiations or announcements or movements ever happened in a comfort zone?
I don’t know the actual answer to this but I am going to guess ZERO.
So fear is your mind’s way of keeping you safe. And sometimes, the safest thing you can do is be risky. And the riskiest thing you can do is stay safe.
All you ever wanted is on the other side of fear.
And so begins my year long experiment to embrace fear, embrace the things that scare me. My goal is to find out what is on the other side of it - who I am, and also to practice the resilience, the muscle of doing things that aren’t comfortable, that are scary, and that can change the world.
Let’s do this.
Let’s Challenge Fear.
Join my challenge here: www.instragram.com/alexturner_trailblazer