Outweighing the Fear of Vulnerability
Have you ever wanted something and then when it actually happened or came through, gone into a full-fledged panic, and asked yourself why in the hell you wanted that thing in the first place? Maybe for you it was taking a new job or enrolling in grad school. Maybe it was registering for your first marathon or saying yes to a new role at work with more money and more responsibility.
We want these things and what goes along with them — the new job, the graduate degree, the accomplishment of running 26.2 miles, the bump in salary and prestige — but when it comes time to fully step into the commitment, something often happens.
Something called fear.
Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being vulnerable.
That kind of fear is powerful stuff. It causes anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and more.
But that kind of fear is also rooted in crappy thinking. A.K.A lies.
Fear of change is really believing that if things don’t work out we’ll have totally f*cked everything up.
Fear of the unknown is believing that playing it safe is better and personal growth isn’t worth the risk.
Fear of being vulnerable is really believing that we’re frauds, that we’re not good enough, that others won’t approve / accept / love us if we fully step into who we are.
(See what I mean? Lies!)
Last week, I had the privilege of delivering the keynote address at the Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s annual fundraising luncheon. It was an incredible experience and I loved every moment, once I got to the luncheon. But the few days leading up to the event and the morning of? My fear was just about winning the battle for control of my body and mind.
Intellectually, I was excited. I love talking about girl empowerment, I’d done the prep work and gotten super clear on my intention. I had crafted a speech I felt connected to and I had an outfit to wear that I felt good in. But that morning? That was rough. I went for a run and listened my favorite tunes. That helped until I stopped running and then the panic ensued again. So after dropping my son off at school, I put on my “80′s happy music” (don’t ask) and danced around like a fool. That helped. Plus, my dog was amused. Then I got out the yoga ball, sat on it, and bounced for a good fifteen minutes, a tip I learned from the brilliant Cheryl Dolan at Power Boost Live last year. That helped some more.
And then it was time to get ready and go. So I did.
Once I got there, I was better.
Once I got on stage, it was awesome.
I love speaking to groups about things I am passionate about, like the importance of empowering girls and giving them strategies to rock their lives. Just like you probably love your new job, or love being in graduate school and learning new things, or love the feeling of crossing the finish line after running a marathon, or love having the opportunity to grow and stretch within your company.
The key, I think, is to focus on the feel-good… on the love. Through the anxiety and stress and more, remind yourself that those feelings are based on nothing but fear-fueled lies. And love outweighs that kind of fear any day of the week.