Feel the fear…

This is a gem of a book. Susan Jeffers was the original “queen of self-help” and this updated edition of her first classic still has a lot to offer.

Her writing resonates with me because I have experienced what she describes and have seen it in coaching. Fear shows up in different ways: anxiety, avoidance, procrastination, nervousness, anticipating the worst of outcomes.

Often clients grapple with a problem or challenge over many sessions. A goal is set and then not acted upon week after week. They may make gains in other areas but there is a big thing that they just can’t bring themselves to tackle. Fear is often at the root of it. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of making the wrong choice.

Coaching can help deal with fear by exploring how it doesn’t serve you and is getting in the way. How imagining only bad results keeps you stuck, not safe. Planning how to handle a scary challenge builds the internal push to act. As a coach I am a listener, a support and an accountability partner. I have seen it many times – when my clients feel the fear and do it anyway it is a huge relief. Fear’s grip is reduced. Usually they are able to accomplish what they wanted. At the very least they begin to get freed up – and get more clarity and see choices for how to move forward.

My biggest take-aways from Feel the fear… and do it anyway:

  • No one is fearless – we all feel degrees and different types of fear when we are faced with a challenge, a decision or are trying something new.
  • If we let fear debilitate us, we end up feeling helpless and powerless. We distrust ourselves and feel stuck.
  • There is nothing unrealistic about being an optimist and seeing all the possible positive outcomes of our actions.
  • Not acting on what we fear causes us more pain than actually doing something. Taking action – even if it is terrifying or we don’t get the result we want – is empowering in itself and can create options and energy to continue.
  • Life is more fulfilling when we accept that loss, change, mistakes and challenges are a part of it. Our choice is how to react to it.
  • When we can recognize that fear is holding us back we can decide to act. The more we act despite fear the more resiliency we develop.
  • The most important thing to know is that: you can handle it!