With Halloween right around the corner I thought it fitting to write about dressing up.
I do love me a good metaphor so I wanted to focus on how our fears dress up pretty much every day.
The important thing to recognize is that our fears are just that: costumes. They aren’t who we really are.
And if you are human you have experienced fear in your life. To clarify though, fear isn’t a bad thing all the time, it does serve a purpose.
Fear comes from a part of our brain which is designed to keep us safe (think fight or flight response).
The problem is the part of our brain where fear comes from doesn’t know the difference between walking down a dark alley and say, asking for a promotion. Both are scary, both involve the unknown.
Fear says ‘stay here, stay safe, stay the same’ but life by its very nature is ever changing and wanting us to grow…which is where the friction comes in.
So how do our fears cope?
They dress up.
And fears are very creative with their costumes: confusion, anger, shyness, abrasiveness, people pleasing, busyness, even overconfidence are all just costumes that fears dress up as to ‘protect’ us. The list of these costumes goes on and on.
My fear often dressed up as confusion. When I was going through major changes in my life fear often stopped me in my tracks because I claimed I didn’t know what to do next, who to talk to, what my business could look like, how I would make all my ideas work, and on and on. If you asked me about any change I was making I would usually respond with some kind of overwhelm statement, sprinkled in with a few ‘I don’t knows.’
Until one day I had enough and I realized that the idea of staying the same, staying stuck in my confusion, was actually worse than the risk of facing my fears. I claimed for so long that I didn’t know what to do until I accepted the fact that I had the power to figure it out.
So that’s what I did. I faced one fear at a time and figured it out. That’s not to say I have faced all my fears but my mindset has changed with how I look at fear which has made it a lot less scary.
We all have the power to overcome our fears but like most everything in life ‘the only way out is through’. You have to do the thing you are afraid of to overcome that fear. The antidote to fear really is action.
What’s one thing you’ve been afraid to do? See if you can start identifying the costumes your fears like to wear. Then, acknowledge them, but see them for what they are…really just resistance to doing the thing you fear.
Next, take action. Do the thing that you fear. Ask for that raise, start that business, ask her out, wear that ridiculous Halloween costume.
Once you do the thing you fear you’ll see that typically the thinking about the fear is much more stressful than the actual doing of the fearful thing.
And the sense of pride/accomplishment that comes with facing and overcoming a fear is absolutely freeing.
Let the fear drive you to be brave, to do great things, and make those important breakthroughs in your life.
Slowly but surely you’ll be taking off those fearful costumes and stepping into that fearless person you are.
You got this.