Copy of Fear & Ego
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
– Jack Canfield
For most of us, we experience fear when facing a new challenge – something we may never have attempted before or not for a long time.
We know it’s fear because our body sends us signals – tight chest, sweaty palms, fuzzy brain, the feeling of overwhelm – these are all signs we are facing something new.
I recently got back on my pushbike for the first time since I was a teenager. And the only way to the bike path is down two steep hills. Boy did I feel the fear – I was sweaty and nervous – checking my brakes all the way down. But I made it, and it felt amazing.
So, the next time I rode my bike it was easier, and each time after that it became easier and easier, until I no longer feel any fear riding down the hill. I just feel exhilaration. And I learned to trust myself again on a bike.
This applies also to public speaking, or speaking in any group of people, fear of making mistakes and even the fear of success.
But what we do next is our choice – how we respond will dictate our success in life.
We are often taught that fear is something to avoid and run away from.
That we shouldn’t feel or talk about fear. We should be able to just get on with it.
Why Face Fear?
Did you know that feeling fear is actually a sign of personal growth? Fear is something to be harnessed – fear is a sign we are challenging ourselves.
It is NORMAL.
Yes – feeling fear is NORMAL.
And making mistakes as you learn and grow is also NORMAL.
We then learn to trust ourselves, which in turn means we know we can handle whatever challenges come our way.
So, instead of putting our heads in the sand and fearing the fear, our inner power will come from taking action and stepping into the fear.
As certain as falling off the bike when starting to ride one, we are destined to make mistakes – yes FAIL – as we go through life.
Failure is a necessary part of taking action and achieving our results.
The question is, why do we fear failure so much, when it is a normal part of being human?
We are not robots – we are living breathing beings – you are not perfect.
So, when we are facing new challenges, to make the impossible possible, you must look at the whole picture and think big. For what purpose are you undertaking this challenge? What will it give you when you succeed? What will it cost you if you don’t?
If you are not making mistakes and failing, you are not growing and moving towards your goals.
The most successful people in the world face fear every single day – it is part of their lives. They are always making new decisions, facing challenges, and mastering new skills.
As Susan Jeffers beautifully states in her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, “We are all human and all face fear – fear is not the problem. It’s what we do with it that counts”.
If we see fear as something to avoid, then it controls us and we lose our personal power and become frozen, unable to deal with the challenges ahead.
However, if we see fear as something to move towards, to take action on, that gives us choice and opportunity, then our personal power grows and expands.
We learn to trust ourselves which in turn means we know we can handle whatever challenges come our way.
The Truth About Fear
There are 5 fundamental truths about fear and when you know this, you will understand how important fear is to us.
- The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow
- The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go and do it!
- The only way to feel better about yourself is to go out and do it!
- Not only are you afraid when facing the unknown, so is everyone else. It is completely NORMAL.
- Pushing through the fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from being helpless and not in control of your choices.
So, what do you think about fear now? Have you changed the meaning you put on fear?
How are you going to be next time you face fear in pursuing your goals?
Your Comfort Zone
We are all responsible for our own choices and decisions, and ultimately our outcomes and successes.
Each time you move from your safe and secure comfort zone, through fear, to your learning and growth zones, you expand your original comfort zone to now include those new challenges you have just overcome.
But remember, each new challenge will have a feeling of fear attached to it.
We need to learn to live with fear while focusing on the steps to our success.
We need to understand how our body responds, and how to harness this.
So, when you feel fear next, how will you respond?
Will you acknowledge it as normal and that you are growing?
Or will you hide away, avoid it, and stay stuck where you are now?
The journey to success begins at the end of your comfort zone.
“The bigger your heart, the more you love, the more you control your life.
The bigger your ego, the more you’re scared, the more others control your life.”
– Stephen Covey
What exactly is ego? It actually comes from the Latin word for “I”.
Psychology has borrowed the term to refer to our sense of personal identity and self-esteem.
Our ego is there to protect us from danger.
It always expects something to go wrong, so it keeps a look out and keeps us safe.
Hence, ego’s natural state is fear.
Initially, our ego created our reaction to being physically threatened. Our bodies go into the fight/flight mode. Is that a tiger approaching? Our heart rate increases, blood pressure and breathing increases. We are ready for danger. Our ego is aware of our surroundings always.
But these days, we don’t have the threat of the tiger. But our ego keeps busy inspiring fear, self-judgement and judgement of others.
All our negative emotions of hurt, anxiety, anger, sadness, blame and rejection – well they all have the root of fear –the fear of not being loved, not being enough, or not belonging.
Our ego will protect us no matter what. It believes it is always right regardless of the facts and evidence to the contrary.
Our ego that keeps us locked away in our own little world, separated from the present moment. It keeps us safe and secure.
The fearful state our ego creates is an illusion – and the incredible news is – we have the power to defeat it. We have the choice how we respond and the meaning we decide to give events. Because all our fears are in our minds. All the future events you are worried about? They don’t actually exist. They are in your mind only.
Our unconscious behaviour may keep us safe behind our ego, but by bringing conscious awareness to our thinking and behaviour, we can choice a different path – to challenge our ego.
We are not always right. We can never always be right.
And there we have it. Our ego keeps us safe from failure.
And again it’s small steps – it takes time to change our unconscious patterns and habits.
The more awareness you bring to how you react – that is your unconscious behaviour to an event – and consciously respond – you can change your habits and start to expand your world.
Let go of your ego about being right, and let go of your fear about being wrong.
Let’s do another exercise together.
Download the workbook from the ‘Materials’ tab at the top of this page.
Let’s start to understand what our fears are, how they keep us safe and stuck, and what we can do to move through them and live life on our terms.