Hello Online community. More often than not I’m a positive person and an enthusiastic leader. I will take off my shoes and walk a trail that needs blazing or re-blazing, and help others do the same. There have also been a few times I have been known to sit idly by letting fear of one sort or another squash my desired outcome. Most strong leaders I know also have moments they need to choose to get up and move even while the fear chatters on.
Ever been there?
I don’t like that place. I much prefer courageously moving in compassion, love and hope. So I thought I’d share some tips we practice at Stream on “flipping fear”. Fear doesn’t have to be ignored, denied or pushed down. It can also be flipped to create forward momentum. When we flip fear we actually ignite the natural biochemistry in our brains. We take fear and switch it to joy and love.
A great book on this subject is from Dr. Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain. And another is from Dr. Louis Cozolino, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships. Both books discuss how our brains were designed to be social and to love, but painful experiences can change our reactions to isolation and fear. We experience fear and desire on the full range of our senses. We can “go there” in our heads without ever actually being present in that fearful situation. This can be harmful in the case of preparing ourselves for the worst and then sitting in the fear. Or it can be helpful in the case of visualizing the desired outcome or growth. There will always be the battle between fear, hope, dreams, and the potential pain. Truly just pushing it down, ignoring it, or delaying it will not overcome it.
One tool is finding visual reminders of statements from those who have gone before us. There are many quotes on fear and overcoming it which help provide motivation. One I have on my desk is from a mentor, “Do you see all the pioneers who blazed the way? Now you get on with it. Start running and never quit! When you find yourself flagging, go over the story. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” There is power in this will-focused strength.
Another tool comes out of my paraphrase from a C.S. Lewis story, “my greatest fear is only the flip-side of my greatest desire that has not yet been put into desired growth”. Sure it’s a bit like a motivational poster but in reality it does make sense. Every fear is there because we long for something instead of the fear. Somewhere we got hurt, or disappointed, or the same thing kept happening that we didn’t want to see, or perhaps it happened to someone near us. When we stop to consider something we are concerned or fearful might happen, we actually are in the presence of something we really want to see happen on the flip side of that fear.
So think of one thing you might have some trepidation, concern, or other form of fear regarding. Now consider what would be so bad about it if ______ actually happened? Once you get there, ask yourself, what is it I’m really hoping for instead?
That is the flip-side of your fear.
Your desired outcome is typically waiting for you to be courageous enough to look for it through the fear. We call this “fear-tracing”. Often times, this exercise can fill a couple sheets of paper as we tape blank sheets to the wall and keep asking, “now what would be so bad about _______ if _______ actually happened?”. We know we have reached the desire instead of a fear when there is nothing bad we see or when it begins to circle back again. This is where we roar back at the fear, you got nothing on me and I’m ready to go!
Let’s look at one more tool that comes from Dr. Henry Cloud in his book, 9 Things You Simply Must Do. He talks about “playing the movie”. If you consider that things actually happening then you can use it to live out the difficulties before they actually occur. This is not the practice of worrying. Worrying is non-acceptance of situations. But successful people consider situations they can do something about.
So again, take a fear that seems to pop up regularly. Now ask yourself if I could see this play out, how would I want to walk it out? Another way to consider it is to ask, what is it I’m really hoping for/longing for/desiring to see? Now you got the strength to consider, if this is what I desire what’s my first step to see this come to pass?
It’s time to face the fear, flip it to see your desired outcome and take steps to growing in hope, love and compassion. Our desires, hopes and dreams should outweigh our fears. When these are present, it is very hard ground for fear to take root in your brain or your heart.
• choose to listen to your desire to see beautiful change,
• let yourself play out the movie,
• and walk without fear.
Because flipping the fear will lead you to experience the desired growth in your life, your company and your community.
Personally what fear are you ready to roar back at and tell to back off?
Which tool resonated more with you, the fear tracing or the playing the movie? Both of those had brief explanations so message me with questions.
Professionally what’s your next step as a leader to eliminate fear in your team?
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She is also a certified Critical Incident Stress Management coach and co-founder of Renue.Me. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com
Initially posted at http://stilettosontheglassceiling.com/.