Last week, we talked about fear and how it stops us – not only from doing things we really want to do, but also from reaching our amazing potential. The article and video got such a great response that it got me thinking about more tips I use to get in front of my own fears.
Honestly, I was hesitant to share last week’s article. When I read Susan Jones’ response in regards to the mistakes she sees beginner dancers make… “They’re so afraid. If I could erase their fear, I would”, I really resonated with it. I saw myself and remembered how my own fear shaped my initial foray into dancing.
However, I wasn’t sure that other people would see themselves in it. Your response to last week’s article told me that you do.
The process of becoming a champion dancer requires a lot of introspection and soul searching. (Every fear and insecurity comes up along the way!) My path led me to learn a few empowering tricks that work for anyone experiencing the challenges that fear evokes. Whether you go into fight or flight, want to make yourself invisible (or hide under the covers) or you simply become a bit insecure, the following will help.
So how do you overcome it?
There are many tricks out there. My favorite is using my imagination to erase the fears. There are three steps to my process.
Before you can change anything, you must first realize that you are being affected by fear. It can be sneaky and subtle, and it’s easy to think that it’s just part of who you are. It’s not. It’s something you are experiencing. You are luminous and amazing, and just experiencing a bit of fear. Begin simply with a practice of just catching yourself whenever you can and acknowledging – this is not me, it’s something I’m experiencing.
The second step is making a choice. Once you know it’s not who you are, but something you are experiencing, you can be in choice. It’s time to choose a different experience. What that experience will be – that’s step three.
Now comes the fun part. Deciding the new experience you WANT to have. Here’s what I do. I take a moment out of my day and journey into the future. I actually take two journeys, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s look at the ‘future’ part of this equation first. It’s important to choose a period that’s far enough out to observe the impact, not so far out as to lose the thread. For me, that’s usually between a month and a year into the future. For you, it might be different.
This is a deceptively simple exercise. It seems too easy to be effective, and yet it is one of the most powerful tools I’ve found.
Let’s use the example of one year. First, you’ll imagine yourself being accomplished at whatever the experience of fear had altered in the present. Live it out the way you’d like to experience it, as if you’ve really gone for it, 100%.
A few years ago, I added a dance discipline called Standard to my plate. It was new for me, which brought up a lot of fear and judgment. As a champion dancer and nationally recognized teacher, the pressure and expectation around this was weighty. I acknowledged that the fear and judgment was not who I was, but something I was experiencing and made a choice to change my experience. I then put myself one year into my future, seeing myself having joyfully added Standard to the forms of dance I do!
Here’s the key. That’s just a wish. The next piece is what makes this work.
The Key To Making It Work
You must also take a moment to see yourself in the future WITHOUT the accomplishment. In my example, I imagined that I let the fear determine who I was going to be one year in the future, that I did not step up and embrace that challenging journey of adding a new form of dance. I see myself, and my life, unchanged a year in the future.
This is important and does two things:
- It clarifies everything. Comparing the two futures makes whether or not I want to invest some of my time on this new thing SUPER CLEAR. In my case learning Standard. My time is precious and looking further out gives a perspective that is not possible in the moment, especially in a moment filled with fear.
- If shifts you out of whatever fear stepped onto your path. Putting yourself into the future, with and without the accomplishment allows you to see a bigger picture: who you will be if you choose to stay the same, and who you could become if you choose to go for it.
This is a deceptively simple exercise. It seems too easy to be effective, and yet it is one of the most powerful tools I’ve found. Every time I do this, I change, I grow – whether I choose to add the new activity or not.
The mere act of recognizing that you are experiencing a fear, that it’s not who you are, is life-changing in and of itself. Add to it putting yourself in the future, seeing a bigger picture, it puts whatever current drama that’s running around in your head into a different perspective. You get to see that fear really is False Evidence Appearing Real and free yourself to choose.
You can do for yourself what Susan said she would do for new dancers, you can “erase my fear”.
Maren walks you through the process here.