You aren’t human if you don’t experience fears. Ok, I said it and now some of you are going to tune out, leave, and not read the rest of this article. Which proves my point. Some of you are afraid to deal with the fears of what you might learn just reading this article from some guy you don’t know, who thinks he’s got it all figured out.
Honestly, a) I don’t have it all figured out, b) I’m simply sharing my perspectives on fears, and c) if you’re afraid to hear something that you don’t want to hear by reading this article – welcome to being a normal human being who’s got fears. You’re just like the rest of us.
For starters, fears are normal and healthy. In fact, scientists tell us that if you didn’t fear, there is something wrong with your brain. That’s just one of the interesting factoids about fears. Others are you don’t have to be scared, fear isn’t all just made up, and because you experience fear doesn’t mean you are a phobia maniac.
You’re just being human, so suck it up buttercup and deal with it. Yes I do realize that statement may have incited fear in some of you. Sorry, it was just meant to be a light hearted jab. Which leads me to the first of 10 ways to stop giving your fears CPR…especially us men, we tend to let our testosterone driven beliefs brainwash us into thinking we can’t experience fear because that is an assault on our masculinity. Whatever! It’s time to get over our bullshit fears.
10 Ways To Stop Giving Your Fears CPR
- Have fun with your fears. Life is too short to let fears hold you hostage. Experiment with how you can make your fear fun, an adventure, maybe even a joke. For instance, if you have a fear that your boss has it out for you, turn it into a game. Each time you feel that way, create a ridiculous story, or imagine him as Darth Vader and you’re Luke Skywalker. Or maybe if you are a Seinfeld fan, turn the whole story into a conversation that Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer would dissect. You might even turn it into your own version of an Avengers movie. Have fun with your fears and see how soon they take a hike!
- Ask yourself, “How true is this fear?” 90% of the time the fear isn’t true until it is proved to be true. I thought everyone would hate me when I came out of the closet. Truth is, only a handful of people did, and to be quite honest, I didn’t need them in my life. The more unfounded truth you give to your fear, the more you buy into. Which means, you’re feeding your fear with no proof!
- Stop trying to write a best-seller. In other words, stop the story making. Deal with the facts, only the facts. We can only deal with what we know and no amount of story making is going to change the outcome. What we can do is hypothesize based on what is known, but even then, with more information will come more abilities to write the true story.
- Tell the beast on your shoulder to shut up! Our little gremlin voices love, love, love to tell us we’re not good enough, we don’t know what we’re doing, or to feed us a line of crap. All with the good intentions of protecting us, but that’s rarely the case of what really happens. That little voice usually spins the crazy making wheel and makes us buy into a truth that doesn’t exist. The only time the voice is spot on, for the most part is when it is speaking from your intuition and experience. Now proceed to #5 to learn more.
- Trust your intuition and experience. Most fears can be quelled from listening to your intuition, your gut instinct, you know that following your heart sort of stuff. It’s not as “woo-woo” as you might think. Even if you haven’t experienced an exact fear in the past, some aspect of that fear has been presented to you previously and you’ve made it through. Tap into what you’ve experienced, that sucker punch to the gut, or even that intuitive knowing, and follow those signs to alleviate your fears.
- Stop letting others stoke your fear flame. It all starts with that first time Mom or Dad says, “ If you do______then _______will happen.” Yes, blame the first fear flame throwing on your parents, go see a therapist, and get it worked out. That is one option, but the truth is, we learned fears from others. Some of those fears are very valid and they protect us from getting eaten by a wild animal, or hit by a car because it’s not very bright to step out into a busy street filled with traffic. The problem is, the fears invoked by others are often unfounded fears. Those are the ones to dive deep into and ask one question, “Is this about them or about me?” A fear is only as alive as you give it life, or as alive as you allow someone else to give it life, in your life.
- Get curious and ask, why, why, why! Remember how annoying it was to your Mom when you would say, “Why?” Then, those of you who are parents got payback big time when the spawn of your loins started asking you, “Why?” As annoying as this may sound, one of the quickest ways to douse the flames of fears is to get curious and ask the questions – who, what, where, when, why, and how – about your fears. Who made this fear come alive? What really will happen if I face this fear or ignore it? Where will this fear get me? When is it enough is enough with this fear? Why do I keep allowing this fear to run my life? How might I work through this fear once and for all. The more curious you get, the more you resolve or work with your fears!
- Do a features and benefits, fears analysis. As a marketing and branding guy, one of the things I was tasked with in my product marketing days was to come up with the features and benefits of a product so that we could have a mass consumer appeal with our product and dominate the world…so to speak. Same thing applies, but in reverse for your fears. What are the features and benefits of your fears? Probably very few to be quite honest, but by taking the time to act as if you were going to sell this fear to a consumer, you will break it down and see that for the most part, there is no features or benefits to your fears.
- The Morbid Truth. Fears will kill you. The stress, the worry, the sleepless nights, the weight gain and emotional gymnastics, from the stress, the worry, the sleepless nights, can lead to a laundry list of physical and emotional killers. Is that what you want? Do you want to die at the hands of your fears? I think not. None of us wants to die, yet we know it is inevitable, but why rush the inevitable, when dumping our fears is within reach. Shift your mindset, practice some quiet moments, take some deep breaths, and let the power of what is in your own capabilities remove the fear, and those that you can’t remove and control, simply find a path to have peace with the unknown, and focus on what you do know. Don’t let fears suck the life out of you….time will do that on it’s own…so make the most of that time and tell fears to take a hike.
- Calculate the money, money, money – honey! If you work, think about your hourly rate. We all have one, even if we are salaried. If you are self-employed you can figure this out too. And, if you are retired, good for you, and I’m jealous, but you can do this too. Think about your hourly rate or the hourly rate you were paid at your last job. For instance, my last paying job I made about $70 an hour. When I get sucked into fear, I time myself and imagine that for every hour I’m allowing myself to wallow in fear, I have to pay myself my hourly rate. Oy vey! That adds up fast. The last time I was in a fear space, kid you not, I was there for almost 24 hours off and on. So do that math, $70×24=$1680. I don’t think so. I could buy a whole lot of wine, go on a nice little weekend getaway, pay my portion of the mortgage, get 16 massages at $100 a pop, etc., etc., etc.! When we pay our fear, is it really worth it? I don’t’ think so. Which means don’t go in to emotional debt with your fears.
While fears are normal, and do play a role in our lives, we don’t need to allow them to rule our lives…right? You control the fear narrative, and you alone can stop the trash talk of fears. The reality is this, when you let fear rule your life, you have no life and you will continue to apologize for the life you live when fear is the master.
Little Something Extra
If it’s time for you to quit giving your fears CPR, take the Unapologetic Life Assessment so you can pinpoint exactly which fears need to be taken off of life support.