Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. ~ Les Brown
I’ve got some big stuff coming down the pike professionally this fall/spring—my new book comes out in March, I’m traveling and speaking more, we’ve expanded our team and our global renewal group program is exploding. The other day in yoga class while reflecting on all of this extreme growth, I heard the creak of the attic door, followed by a slow shuffle and then a quiet knock on my door: my old friend fear was coming for tea.
Most of us are in the thick of big transitions right now—cross country moves, divorces, financial loss, new jobs, career changes, launching businesses, graduating from college/training programs—and as I sat with my emotions, I let fear sit quietly at the table, peering at me over his big brown mug and ... I just breathed.
Feeling fear—or anxiety, or worry—when you’re stretching, expanding and stepping into new skin is normal.
My coach’s response to my slightly frantic email request this past weekend for monthly fall meetings was, "When we evolve and expand, the push back of anxiety is a part of the process. Look forward to being with you through this journey."
How are you managing the transitions in your life? Are you plowing through (business as usual) or are you slowing down and asking, “What will sustain me through this time?” (Read more.) How are you responding to surfacing anxieties or fears?
Here are nine ways of responding to fear that have helped me through personal and professional changes and crises:
9 Steps to Overcoming and Releasing Fears
Feel Your Feelings. Fear showed up for me the other day while I was at yoga and in a downward dog. My first reaction was to curl up in a ball or to distract myself by thinking about what I could cook for dinner. But I kept breathing and became curious about this emotion and what it was here to show me. One of the most powerful ways to heal and to grow, is to allow yourself to stay with what you’re feeling—you’re not “fear”—you’re just experiencing some fear. It’s fleeting, momentaryand it won’t kill you. It’s like a cloud passing overhead; feelings come and feelings go, just like the weather. Read more.
Define the unknown. Often our fears are unfounded, figments of our imagination, or simply not based on fact or reality. Research, explore, and seek out resources that help you have a better understanding of the change that lies before you or the arena you’ll be moving into. Usually, the more you know, the more comfortable you become and your fear of the unknown begins to dissipate.
Become comfortable living in the unknown. Many situations are out of our control and at times, we simply have no idea what the future holds. This is particularly true when you're taking risks and living with polarities. Living in the unknown is an uncomfortable state for most of us. However, this is the time when many experience the greatest personal/professional growth. Release expectations, focus your energy on what you can control, trust yourself and your instincts and breathe. This won't last forever. Read more.
Ask for support. You never, ever have to go through a change alone. Creating a support system to assist you in brainstorming, processing ideas, sorting through options, seeing things in new ways or simply listening can help tremendously in dispelling fears and anxiety. Also, sharing personal fears with close friends or colleagues is often one of the fastest ways to turn the boogey man into a smurf. (Meet our career/life coaches Angela and Sarina here.)
Play the "what if" game. Ask and answer, "What is the worst thing that could possibly happen to me if I ... (whatever it is you're moving toward)?" Write the answers down. Many times we're so paralyzed by the thought of this "worst thing" coming true that we make a mountain out of a molehill. So you fall on your face—but at least you took a risk. And, you begin to see that yes, you really will be all right, whatever the outcome. Whew, what a relief! "To risk is to truly be free." J. White
Take baby steps. One of the main reasons many of us abandon ideas, job changes, new businesses, etc. is because we become overwhelmed thinking about everything that needs to be done. We literally drown in a sea of details and wonder, "Where am I ever going to find the energy to do this?" Break your goal down into simple, realistic steps: one meeting a week, two visits a month, research the top three companies in the industry by Friday, etc. You don't have to do everything right away. Have you ever heard the phrase "action-motivation-action?" Beginning the process will give you the energy to keep going.
Trust: timing is everything. How does the saying go: "Make plans and watch the universe laugh at you?" Planning and goals are wonderful, but realize that there is an ebb and flow to everything in life and often we don't accomplish things in the manner in which we had anticipated (I experienced this after a sick child and a writer's block kept me from making progress on a project). Relax. Trust that everything happens for a reason and when the timing is right, everything will click into place.
Be gentle with yourself. If you're battling fears, know you are in good company. Everyone on the planet faces fears and we all process these emotions differently. Trust you’re doing the best you can where you are and just as you would tell a friend, "Keep on trying, you're doing great, I know you're on the right track," extend the same compassion to yourself. Like all of us, you'll have easy days and challenging ones.
Set yourself up to succeed. When looking at whatever it is you want to create in your life, ask yourself "What do I need to set myself up for success?" Stock the cupboards (the emotional, physical and mental cupboards, that is). Build your energy reserves, make your self-care a priority, align yourself with the right individuals/organizations, have a clear vision for what you want.
And, last but not least, give yourself permission to fall apart. At least a little! Holding it together is over-rated.
Want more in-depth insight around these nine tips? Visit my blog The Journey (I encourage you to subscribe to my weekly posts) and at the top left you can “search” by theme and tap hundreds of posts, articles and resources. And, view all my past life balance e-newsletters here. Join the dialogue with me on our Live Inside Out Facebook Community. We’d love to hear your comments around the theme of fear!
Warmly, Renée and the RTA Team
P.S. Wondering how we can support you? Here’s a quick snapshot of our coaching services and products.
Upcoming Events and Training:
- September 1-30 Personal Renewal Group Online Facilitator Membership Are you a therapist, coach, parent or birth educator, leadership consultant or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Join an international community and facilitate self-renewal groups/retreats for women based on the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more. Or, click here to find a Personal Renewal Group in your area.
- September 1-30 DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN NOW: Live Inside Out Teleclasses. Listen in the comfort of your home or office to Renee’s recent Life Balance Teleclasses. Download these inspiring, interactive calls; themes include: The Power of Self-Care, Owning Your Personal Power and Staying Connected to Your Partner. Free for a limited time.
- September 21-22 Private Event Women’s Leadership Retreat- Creating Balance in Unbalanced Times
The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa, Scottsdale, AZ Learn more about RTA private retreats.
- October 19-21 Friday-Sunday, A New Way of Being: Women's Self-Renewal Retreat, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, The Berkshires, MA. Tap into the transformative power of self-care to nourish your body, heart and soul. Learn to integrate self-renewal strategies into your daily life, slow down and access your Wise Self and step into a New Way of Being. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Kripalu. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Details here. View flyer here.
- November 3 Girls Empowerment Network (GENAustin) We Are Girls Conference, Austin High School Finding Calm in Chaos: Four Ways to Re-Balance Your Life – a free workshop with Renee Trudeau.
- Fall 2012—date TBD. Finding Your Center: An Evening of Self-Renewal for Couples, Austin, TX. Date night! Join Renee for a fun/enjoyable evening as she supports and guides couples in how to Live Inside Out, experience more peace and harmony in the everyday and step into a New Way of Being.