We are in a truly critical time in history and believe it or not, you have power over which direction it goes. But it's also a scary time, so there are no surprises that fear that can stop you from making your mark. Are you really going to bow down, when fear is something you can learn to overcome? Of course not, you're braver and wiser than that!
Think for a minute about how fear shapes our lives from the smallest decision to the biggest leap.
Any number of things can wave that flag of 'danger' to us and lead to fear, whether it be a funny look from a colleague (Have I done something wrong?) or an empty pantry (I must eat, now!).
Fear thoughts run through our heads all day, but you can learn to recognise fear's 'greatest hits', get its useful messages and calm that scared part of us to make sure that you get done what you most want and need to.
That list of deep wants and needs will be exciting and scary.
That list of deep wants and needs is essential to living life to the fullest and making the world a better place.
The important thing to note is that fear does not travel alone.
It is the leader of a tribe that hurts us all. The tribe includes anger, shame, hopelessness and despair.
Their work, unchecked, makes us feel paralysed, tired, unmotivated and makes us want to escape or to pick a fight.
Learning how to work with fear is not only the key to your happiness, but to better outcomes for your community and the world.
A few questions, to help you see how fear is influencing us right now...
When we are too overwhelmed to listen to our own fears, how do we listen to others?
When we are too scared to see ourselves, how do we see others?
When all we see is 'not enough' (fear thoughts!!), how will we provide for everyone?
When we don't meet our own needs, it's harder to meet the needs of the community.
If we are too intimidated to talk to someone we want to, how will we talk to someone we really need to connect with to help make the world better?
now let's go really big.
Let's look at the biggest challenges in society now. Deep breathe and stay with me, because the alternatives ROCK!!
I did some climate change research in the mid-2000s and was in contact with some of the best climate scientists in Australia. They talked over and over about people looking like 'deer in headlights'.
Basically, fear is f*cking up our chances of addressing climate change.
I'm only just able to accept this now, after coming out of a fear phase myself that left me apathetic and hopeless.
* People are afraid, so they ignore the science and don't act.
* Politicians are afraid to see the science, or afraid of the voters not supporting them, so they don't act.
* Climate activists are consumed by fear and anger and burn out.
Oy. Time to work on managing fear, no?
Race, gender, sexuality, age, dis(ability) relations
Let's be clear, the first step to working through the complexity of these relations is to recognise privilege - this is where fear stops us before we get started.
When we are too afraid to see our privilege, that is, the power we have over others due to money, race, gender, sexuality, age, physical ability, we aren't able to understand how the world really works and where the solutions lie.
It also means you're probably not connected to the people that hold the solutions – those being oppressed through experiences of racism, homophobia and other types of discrimination, at individual and structural levels.
When we are afraid to let go of power or privilege then inequalities remain strong or grow. Fear runs high, people can feel isolated, powerless and hopeless. That does not lead to good. You only have to think of ISIS to see how this unfolds, but suicide and incarceration are also painful examples.
When we are stuck in fear, we don't really see people or problems from the root cause, we just look at the surface. To use a medical example, it's like providing endless medication for a preventable disease. You end up with people still getting sick as well as antibiotic resistance!
Fear can make us blind, ignorant and to contribute to the problems of the world.
Fear can lead us to numbing and ignoring, to putting off plans, to staying at home, to giving up. To not taking time to understand how we can make things better, even a little better.
fear is the master saboteur.
the great news is, YOU can work well with fear to save yourself and help heal the world.
It all starts with eavesdropping on your thinking, on noticing fear thoughts and soothing yourself. Hot tip: yelling at or ignoring fear do not work!
Then learning that fear will always be around, but that's okay. Carrying on anyway.
My work revolves around helping people to recognise and work well with fear, so that they can 'get out of their own way' and create their ideal lives. But more than that, my ultimate purpose is to help people positively impact the world, no matter their sphere of influence.
I've got two events coming up soon that will teach you the basics in how to work well with fear!!
Check out my Melbourne short-course with Chafia Brooks – Revive: Mind and Body – (Three Sundays from 1-3pm, you can so make time to change your life!) and my power workshop in Canberra 'Unblocked' on the 15th October, also 1-3pm.
No excuses (we know that's just fear talking). Sign up today and bring a friend!
Hi, I'm Dr Lara Corr, life coach and researcher in work and wellbeing. I coach successful 30 and 40 somethings who want more fulfilling or bigger careers but doubt themselves and their options. I help them get out of their own way, find direction and go for what they really want.