We all have fears. We are all flawed.
It is time for us to embrace our insecurities and our faults and accept that all our scars are just as much a part of our experience as our triumphs.
Fear is a term that has a lot of airtime and horsepower in the workplace. It prevents us from going for a promotion, doing a presentation, asking a question, changing careers, resigning, starting a business, asking for what we want, and the list goes on and on. Fear is an old English word from the 700’s and it means “danger or peril”. Are we defining our experiences in the 21st century with a term that was created in the 7th century?
There are three types of fear: rational, irrational, and primal.
Rational fear is the fear of a real, plausible danger. Human nature pushes us to survive, and fear is designed to create a physical or mental response to a danger. One might have a fear of drowning because they are on a sinking boat in the ocean.
Irrational fear is the fear of something highly unlikely or abstract. While a rational fear might be drowning while on a sinking boat, an irrational fear might be of drowning while in the shower.
Primal fear is programmed into our human brains that stem from evolution. This is often a sensation, or a feeling fueled by our intuition or gut, not our intellect. A common example of primal fear is arachnophobia, the fear of spiders.
As humans, we often design our own version of reality, built from past experiences. These personal realities we each experience are based on data points from our own narrative and are not rooted in any actual evidence.
Think about something you are afraid about right now. Are you in imminent danger? Do you feel unsafe? Are you creating a story so you can feel more in control?
What if we change our relationship with fear?
I have been talking a lot with my guests on the Warriors At Work show about having freedom with fear present. Instead of fear preventing movement forward, maybe it could be something we embrace.
Fear is a universal experience. Let’s first accept that we have something in common as human beings and have certainty that is going to appear in all our lives.
Next, let’s learn to name the fear. By labeling it, you are giving your brain more time to understand and process what you are feeling and how it is manifesting in your body. Explore what is happening to you when fear is present. For some it might be irrational or impulsive thoughts for others it might be a queasy stomach. Whatever it is, tune in and listen to the wisdom.
Third, see how much in your life you have mastered when it seemed daunting and scary and then, talk about it with others. Yes, share that wisdom with others. It could be just the pearl of wisdom that another person needed in that moment, and it could provide a pathway for another person to move from fear to freedom.