Do we embrace fear or fight fear?

meaningful-lifeA very good friend of mine was discussing films with me a few weeks ago, whilst I am not a huge digital streaming guy for films, I still can be quite old-fashioned and be known for ordering the occasional DVD from Amazon, after some time. My friend convinced me that I really should see the film Peaceful Warrior.

The story is about a young gymnast Dan Millman played by Scott Mechlowicz, and his struggle to make sense of his life in which he is successful but still unfulfilled. By chance he meets his “Yoda”/Shaolin priest/Boss Paul who helps him “git his head straight” after which he goes on to be comfortable with his athletic prowess albeit not exactly Olympic caliber. When one is successful, one does not have the time and patience to look back or forward. Dan is leading his life in chase of a dream – to get a gold in the Olympics. He and his coach knows that he is the best, but still inside he too knows that something is missing. It was in one of his sleepless nights that he meets a petrol pump attendant who changes his life – step by step. He also realizes the change but he is not ready to let go the garbage within him. As the petrol pump attenders says “I call myself a Peaceful Warrior… because the battles we fight are on the inside.”

The movie takes a u turn when Dam meets with an accident – where his leg bone just shatters, it is not only the leg that breaks but also his heart to go forward for his only love, the Olympics.”A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.” Socrates(as Dam calls him), the petrol pump attendant teaches the guy to find his long-lost love and dream. But towards the end he finds the hard truth that Socrates was a illusionist character – whose sole purpose of life was to take Dan to his dream and make him prepared to win the battle within him. This is almost a “Rocky IX” type movie with a wonderful happy ending.

Have you thought that through within your own life?

fear-of-failureMany people are afraid of the thought of change without having change in their life. We all have our own examples of how fear can be such a huge, impenetrable barrier.  Fear…some would rather bury it, walk around it, build bridges over it, cover it with medication or another substance, stay busy to deny it, ignore it, avoid it by staying within a box rather than name it, or even embrace it joyfully.

As children we were told to always fight. Always resist ‘bad situations’. Shake them off. Be happy. Always feel good, taking the positive from everything we do.

That is impossible, although Audrey Hepburn did once say ‘impossible is I’m possible’. We all feel the negative end of emotions. And that’s just the way things were supposed to be as humans. Without the negative end, we wouldn’t be able to feel the positive end of emotions. No one wants to float in the neutral zone all the time, life would lose all meaning and we would all be walking aliens.

Anxiety is one of those negative emotions. It stems from fear and then leads to stress. Usually fear of the future. And fear stems from the mind, from our thoughts.

Imagine what would be possible if you embraced fear and considered it to be one of your greatest teachers in adversity? If you resist fear or react when you feel fear, then you cannot learn from it or even recognise any lessons that would contribute to your continued evolution. And if you are not learning from it, then you can’t look at the fear as something that can be reframed into a positive opportunity to grow and change.

So, if you want to accelerate your success and make better choices in your life both personally and professionally, embrace your fears rather than avoid or ignore them. Only then are you able to distinguish between the facts and the negative assumptions of what may be. Now, compound this with embracing your vulnerability. I am not referring to being vulnerable as in putting yourself in harms way but being vulnerable is in being authentic and human. And if you start embracing your fears, your worries and your vulnerability that every person’s ego has tendency to shy away from, then what else can stop you? Nothing. You have broken the fear based paralysis that keeps you stuck in one place and the grip that fear had on you. This is your success formula for becoming unstoppable.

Key tips for overcoming fear:

  • Make fear your ally rather than your adversary so that you can learn and grow from it.
  • Top executives have learned what average executives fail to learn; to embrace their fears and do what needs to be done anyway.
  • Things rarely happen the way we worry about them.
  • That you fear is not real.
  • Identify the indisputable facts surrounding every situation so that you can make an objective decision based on what truly is, rather than what you think is true but is not.
  • Determine your healthy and pleasurable fuel source to ignite your passion and drive your activity and efforts.
  • You are the greatest gift you can give to your prospects/customers and team, as well as the best-kept secret, so let it out!
  • Fears and dreams are only possibilities that are constructed in your imagination.
  • Bring yourself and your thinking back into the present moment. Since that which we fear lives in the future, the fear can’t get to you in the moment.
  • Shift your focus to the outcome that you do want to create or manifest instead of what you don’t want or what you want to avoid.

In human terms, this is what we call healing emotional trauma. Coming to grips with what makes our perceptions distort certain dangers to the point that we experience helplessness, and healing this. Fortunately, it is possible to do so. It is possible to undo fear conditioning and to unlearn learned helplessness. But this can only happen once we face the actuality of the problem, instead of dismissing it as something we should be able to easily deal with, just as the film Peaceful Warrior demonstrated, if only we put a little more willpower, determination and conviction into it.