Objectify your fears: from shackles to freedom
We often view fear as a series of stop signs telling us where not to venture. That was a smart strategy when we lived in the wild, and fear kept us alert and alive. A lot has changed since then.
Welcome to another edition of Sunday Spark – where I share bite-sized ideas that challenge how we think about productivity, wellbeing, and personal growth.
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I recently had a chat with a friend from a previous workplace. I come from a software development background, for those who don't know, and so people from my past tend to be software engineers. Over the last few years, he's been making a significant shift. After 40 years of doing nearly nothing artistic, he's been learning sketching (pen & ink), water colouring, drawing fantasy type maps (ex: Lord of the Ring), and much more. I was excited to hear from him and about the shift he's been making.
It's astounding the shifts we are capable of making when we're willing to step into the unknown.
The unknown can be a scary place. For a lot of us, the unknown means fear and anxiety. Fear has a way to hold us back. We often view it as a series of stop signs telling us where not to venture. That was a smart strategy when we lived in the wild, and fear kept us alert and alive. A lot has changed since those times, and fear no longer has the same meaning, although it often still feels like a matter of life and death.
When we're held back by our fear in our day and age, we miss out on great opportunities, life experiences and creating the impact we seek to make.
The big question is, how do we free ourselves from its shackles?
We have to find ways to point to it, see it, appreciate it, experiment with it, challenge it, and notice if it has any merits. Most often, fear is unfounded; there is no tiger.
Objectifying our fear is a great process. It enables us to see it from a distance and not only be possessed by it.
As an example, I look at the shift I've done with my writing this past year. Writing has always been scary for me and anxiety inducing. I hid from it for a long time, almost as if I was hiding from that tiger. That wasn't the case, but it's how it felt.
I first started by writing about what seemed to scare me about writing in the first place. Putting the words in front of me allowed me to objectify it, look at it, admire it, and challenge it. The more I looked at it and reflected upon it, the shackles slowly loosened. Eventually, it led me to a feeling of freedom and the ability to share my thoughts online with you all more freely. Fear isn’t gone, but it has less of a grip on me.
On our journey to transform and create the impact we seek, there's an alternative way to look at and experience fear. Instead, we can start to look at it as a series of signposts informing us of challenging and exciting new places to visit and experience.
The goal is not to get rid of fear but to improve your relationship with it.
What areas have you managed to free yourself from the shackles of fear and step into the unknown? I'd love to hear your story.
If you're curious about making this process more practical for you, consider reading A four-step process to identify limiting beliefs. It offers a guiding resource.
Helping people unblock themselves and grow in areas they haven't been able to before is what I do for a living, so please reach out if you have any questions.
Quote of the week
Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action in spite of fear, the moving out against the resistance engendered by fear into the unknown and into the future.
From M. Scott Peck. A very fitting quote.
Sparknotion – Think Differently.