Written by Hyeon-Ju, Coach on Collective Gain, who serves as an honest mirror reflecting what clients find difficult to see in themselves in order to make them ready to uncover what is most essential and true.
“Fear is the raw material from which courage is manufactured.” -Martha Beck
When I think of the moments I’m proudest of in my life, they all have fear in common. In every instance, before I took the plunge—to leave a secure career and follow my heart’s calling, to have that hard conversation, to show my true self when it would have been easier to hide—there was fear. It took different forms. Sometimes it was fear of failure. Sometimes fear of rejection or fear of what other people would think. It all boiled down to the message, “This is not safe!!”
And my fears were absolutely right. It wasn’t safe. Each of those actions took me out of whatever cocoon of safety I’d built, and into the unknown.
There was risk, and there was also great reward. The unknown has been where I have experienced joy, been delighted, discovered parts of myself I’d barely dared to imagine. The unknown has been where I’ve experienced life and its possibilities most fully.
My mind knows this. I can even share the insight with you here. But it doesn’t stop the fear from coming back every time I need to step (or leap!) outside my comfort zone.
What I’ve come to accept is that fear is just our natural, built-in response to stretching and growing beyond what we know. It’s our internal alert system signaling that we’re deviating from familiar roads. In that sense, it’s letting us know we have a choice to make: to stay in the safety of what we know or to venture into new territory. It’s an opening to move forward with intention.
These days when I feel fear creeping in, I appreciate it for what it is — a sign that I’m moving toward something that will expand me. The process might be uncomfortable (in fact, it usually is), but it will always bring me more fully into my own life.
And when the fear is overwhelming, there are two strategies that help me move past it:
The first is to connect with something within myself that is greater than the fear. This can be a sense of purpose/meaning or it can be pain. Both are effective. Don’t discount the value of pain.
The second is to remind myself of what is never at risk—my inherent value as a human being, and my worthiness to be loved. This enables me to see risk-taking for what it is: something I can recover from. I might fall down and get hurt, but connecting to the sense of love within myself reminds me that I will always have a place to return, to lick my wounds, heal, and replenish myself for the next adventure.
If you’re feeling fear right now, bravo. You’ve caught sight of what you might grow into. And you’ve moved enough toward it to set off the internal alerts. Fear is simply the invitation to courage. Now, you get to choose.
Thanks to Hyeon-Ju Rho, Collective Gain Coach, who authored this post. Hyeon-Ju is a Certified Professional Coach focused on continual search for meaning and purpose, and the process of coming home to oneself.
Connect with Hyeon-Ju Rho.
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