Do it Scared and Master Your Fears

by | Jul 10, 2023 | Life Lessons

Do you have a dream or goal that scares you? Good! Master your fears and get to it. You see, “There is nothing worth doing that is not scary.” In this article, you’ll learn seven common emotions underlying fear that can keep us from pursuing our goals and dreams and how you can move forward despite your fears.

“Be scared. You can’t help that,” William Faulkner put it. “But don’t be afraid.” It’s an essential distinction. A scare is a temporary rush of a feeling. That can be forgiven. Fear is a state of being, and to allow it to rule is a disgrace.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Courage is Calling

You don’t have to be fearless to accomplish great things in life, but you do have to master your fears.

That may sound like a contradiction but think about it. To be fearless is to be without fear. That’s not necessary to achieve big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAG). Fear can be present; it just cannot lord over you such that you compromise your dreams and yourself. When fear rules, we think small, and we pursue small goals. We go after those things that we have a sizable degree of certainty that we can achieve. But is that what you’re here for? To move through life with incremental success? Making small gains, but never really achieving what burns in your heart? I don’t think so.

We all want to achieve our highest potential and live our best lives. We are wired toward self-actualization. More than anything else, it’s fear that stands in our way.

What to Know About Fear

Because fear often plays a role in keeping us from our goals and dreams, it’s important that we understand fear so that we can neutralize its negative effect on us. One thing to know is that fear is an emotion that arises in response to a perceived threat. The threat may be real or imagined. Fear triggers a fight, flight, or freeze response. Where there is a real physical or emotional threat, fear can save our lives. In those instances, fear is helpful instead of a negative emotion.

Where the fear is based on imagination, the damage the fear causes can outweigh the damage of the perceived threat. That’s when fear becomes an obstacle to our growth and wellbeing. Unhelpful, psychological fears are subjective. Giovanni Dienstmann, a meditation teacher, teaches a course on overcoming fear on the meditation site, Insight Timer. He says that one of the best ways to determine whether fear is helping or hurting you is to ask yourself these questions:

Who will I become if I overcome this fear? and Who will I be if I live under this fear?

If fear is keeping you stuck, keeping you from pursuing your highest aspirations, causing anxiety or depression, procrastination, pessimism, self-sabotage, or other negative thoughts and behaviors, then it’s safe to say it is a liability. This unhelpful fear must be called out and mastered. But because we are all so different in terms of what matters to us, our values, our experiences, strengths, and proclivities, and the circumstances we face, the root of cause of the fear is likely different for each person and in each situation. Knowing what underlies your fear is essential if you are going to speak to that fear and put it under your control.

Seven Emotions Underlying Fear

According to Dienstmann, there are seven common emotions underneath our fear of failure. They are:

  1. Vulnerability – being unwilling to expose myself to others for fear of being laughed at or taken advantage of
  2. Unworthiness – I feel inadequate and trying will only remind me of that.
  3. Shame and embarrassment – failure would jeopardize my relational security. I will be judged badly and feel embarrassed.
  4. Guilt and regret – I already regret past mistakes. Why would I take up new challenges. I won’t be able to live with myself for the mistakes I might make.
  5. Impostor Syndrome – will show that I am fake, that I don’t know what I’m doing.
  6. Loss – it will be painful to experience loss of money, opportunity, time, or status.
  7. Uncertainty – I don’t know what will happen if I fail. The consequences might be bigger than I expect, and I may not like my new place in life.

Enlightening, aren’t they? When I took the course, I could relate to a few of these underlying emotions. The one that resonated with me most is the last one – Uncertainty. The teacher labeled this as an attachment to security. In other words, being afraid of uncertainty means a person values their current status more than their potential. This is when success can lead to complacency and keep a person from becoming all they can be.

Which of these emotions is the strongest for you? It could vary by circumstance, but generally, there is a default emotion underlying your fear of failure that shows up time and time again. It’s important to uncover your fear so that you can speak to it directly, master it, and get that fear to work for you instead of against you.

For example, knowing that my natural response is based on my discomfort with uncertainty, I’ve learned to remind myself that nothing is certain. Tomorrow is not certain. Certainty or security is an illusion. Would I rather stay where I am or pursue my goals and feel proud that I at least made the attempt? Of course, I want to make the attempt. I don’t want to live with regret.

Another way to master the emotions underneath your fear of failure is to think about the messages behind the fear, then apply this TLC model. Ask yourself:

  • Is it True?  – what is the evidence? Chances are, there is none.
  • Is it Logical? – does the message have any rational basis? Does it make sense?
  • Is it Constructive? – does the message help you or keep you stuck?

Do it Scared!

Fear is a common emotion. We all experience it. But just as we learned to be afraid, we can also take steps to unlearn fear. Committing to your personal development and addressing roadblocks such as, self-doubt, perfectionism, need for approval, and unhealthy achieving can help you put fear in its place.

One of the best lessons I learned from a friend is when you can’t beat the fear, Do it Scared. That’s right, do it anyway. Often, we find that if we just start moving toward our goals and dreams, the doors open, the path becomes clearer, and the Universe sends help at the exact time when we need it most. Do you have a goal or dream that scares you? Good! Get to it and see what happens. If you just give yourself grace, allow yourself to make mistakes and recover from them, set realistic expectations or none, and speak positively to yourself, I know that you will be successful. Do it Scared!

#yourahalife #selfbelief #positivity #resilience #healthyachieving #doitscared #overcomingfear

Thanks for reading and being a part of the Your Aha! Life Global Community. I hope you find this article helps you to move forward with your dreams and master your fears. Please share the article with your friends.

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My purpose is helping others get to know, believe in, and accept themselves so that they live their best lives – lives with more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. Their Aha! Life. I’m so grateful you’re on the journey.

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With love,

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