Child, it's time to break the shell
This is the chorus from one of my favorite songs, from one of my favorite albums, from one of my favorite artists. India Arie’s Songversations album is full of all sorts of beautiful thought provoking songs. ‘Break the Shell’ is that reminder song for me that brings home the fact that the magic happens in that space of discomfort that is often filled with fear.
Fear is a natural and inevitable emotion. This is the first and most important point that we have to take in. The fear that I am addressing in this post is the fear that comes from when you are trying new things, or aspiring to hit higher heights in your personal and professional lives. Although I would be very happy to kick fear off of the growth train, I have learned that it is an essential and powerful emotion that is necessary. I venture to say that if you are never feeling any fear, you may not be playing big enough. Now, I am a little too practical of a person to tell you to throw caution to the wind and jump on the radical train, but I want to encourage you to examine your fear a little more.
Doing new things can be exciting. There will be failures. There will be discomforts. There will even be fears of failure and discomfort. The important thing is that you don’t allow these fears to dictate your pathway and your journey. Failures let you know what isn’t working and how you need to regroup. In order to grow, you have to push past the fear.
For those of you ready to try new things, build new relationships, and make changes in your lives, know that fear will be there. Fear can sneak in when you are saying ‘no’ to something in your life that is no longer serving your needs, or when you are saying ‘yes’ to a new opportunity…fear finds a way in. The key is not to allow it to paralyze you. Here are a few tips on helping you deal with your fears.
1. Separate yourself form the fear. Know that it is an essential emotion and that you don’t need to protect yourself from it. Accept it and then let it go.
2.Know that fear is universal. Sometimes we feel as though we are the only ones feeling fear. Everyone feels fear. It may look different for different people, but it is an emotion that creeps in for everyone.
3. Be mindful of your stories. Fear often comes as a result of what we have been telling ourselves. Be sure to check your thinking. Never discount the power of the mind as it will always show us more evidence of the things we want to see. When fear takes over, our mind searches for other stories to add to that narrative.
4. Understand your fear. Take the time to study it. Does it show up in particular situations? Does anxiety like to tag along for the ride? Notice patterns in it’s arrival, notice ways that you manage it that work for you, notice what doesn’t work, notice your triggers and make a plan.
5. Tap into your supports. Sometimes fear can become overwhelming. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a fellow colleague or entrepreneur, or coach, have a safe space that you can talk about your fear. Stewing in fear sometimes allows that fear to grow. Having a good conversation can reduce it’s power, put it into perspective and allow you to let it go.
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.