What does it look like to truly WELCOME opportunities for growth… especially when these “opportunities” often appear as challenges or difficult situations that bring up fear? I’m not talking about situations where you’re in physical danger… that requires a different kind of response. I’m talking about fears that live on inside us in the youngest parts of ourselves, unreasonable fears that arise to keep us safely right where we are, frozen in our comfort zone.
Fear of Change
When change is upon us, fear often arises. Fear of the unknown, fear of what might happen in the future, fear of loss, or some other, more specific fear. One of the acronyms for fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. It takes courage, determination, and commitment to keep moving forward. And time after time, I find that it pays off, even when I can’t see even a speck of light at the end of the tunnel. And when I can’t see any light, that’s the most challenging, yet powerful time to keep moving forward.
The Right Kind of Support
It helps a great deal to have the right kind of support. That might be a friend or family member. It might be a therapist or spiritual counselor. Sometimes, a group retreat with a circle of support is just the right thing. As I navigate my own current (huge) growth opportunity, I’m reaching for every one of those kinds of support. The group retreat I’m taking myself to is an Authentic Leadership Training in Austin. That will help meet my needs for community, for surrendering into receiving from other facilitators, and for a circle of peer support.
I am also calling in conscious community right where I live, in Chapel Hill, NC, by bringing Zegg Forum to the area and co-facilitating with my husband. We were part of the Maui Forum community for many years and found it very enriching. We’ll be offering monthly Forums, and if you would like to get notifications, please join the Deeper Connection in Community meetup group.
My personal methods for navigating fear:
1. Ask these two simple questions: Is this happening now? Do you want it to happen? If it’s not happening and you don’t want it to happen, how can you let it go? If it IS happening and you don’t want it to happen, how can you reframe it or change it?
2. Anytime you start a sentence with What if…, substitute Even if for the What if. This allows you to hold multiple possibilities at the same time. For example, “Even if I don’t get that promotion at work I really want, I will be okay.” This helps me calm down my black and white thinking, which is a real bugaboo for me.
3. Another way to hold multiple possibilities is to use “and” in the place of “but.” This is a good practice in general, since the word “but” tends to negate everything that came before it. For example, “I had a great time, and I would prefer to just be friends.” Using “and” instead of “but” is a more compassionate way to communicate to yourself and to others.
4. Come back to the present moment. Fears are projections on the future… what I call spinning stories. Take a deep breath, splash some cold water on your face, and be here now, with what is actually TRUE in this moment. Spinning fear-based stories is a way of manifesting things we don’t want. Circle back to method #1: Is this happening now? Do you want it to happen?
The next time you’re looking at AFGO (Another F*cking Growth Opportunity), start by naming it just to lighten things up. Then, I invite you to take the leap into the unknown, into the fears, even when you can’t see even an inkling of the potential outcome. Because as Robert G. Allen said, “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.” You can’t stop growth and change, so why not stretch into it whenever possible? There are always rewards.
We all have fears, it’s part of being human. What’s most important is how we navigate them. I’m learning SO much about this right now, and I hope my methods will be helpful to you as together, we Face Everything And Rise!
Love & blessings, Amrita