10 Tips for Fighting Through Fear: Life Lessons from Courageous (Wise) Women

Ok, so one day you wake up to find yourself in this situation you never meant to be in.

Or maybe you did. In fact, maybe you worked darn hard just to GET here.

Maybe this is a really tough thing that has shown up in your life without your bidding.

Or maybe it’s really a GRAND thing that you’ve been working for all along.

Doesn’t matter.

This is the one that takes your breath away, makes your hands tremble just a little. The one that makes your stomach go flip-flop like you’ve just hit a hump on a winding country road.

However it happened, whatever the reason – here you are. Now’s the time. You’ve got to get through this situation. You’ve got to do this thing.

And you’re just a little freaked out. :)

 

Everything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile, initially scared me to death.”

–Betty Bender

What to do? How do you gather your Courage? How do you get your Self to the other side of the challenge that’s right in front of you?

Recently, I raised that same question with a group of Courageous Women. Every one of them had powerful stories of things they’d been able to do that had “initially scared them to death”. How did they do it???

Most of them had never really thought about it. After all, we just do what we have to do right?

Well, to a point. But truth is we ALL use a variety of tools to help us get through. We just don’t realize it. These women were no different.  As they began to talk, the lessons grew clear. And I thought you’d enjoy the benefit of learning from their experiences.

Because their methods work.

So here you are, 10 bits of (Courageous) wisdom for fighting through fear.

1. Find your (internal) Incredible Hulk

Hunker down. Pull within. Search inside yourself for the sheer gut-level GRRRRRRR that’s hiding in there. If you need to turn away from the world for a brief time, that’s okay. There’s a part of you that could lift a car off a child if you had to. Find her.

2. Create – and state – your mantra.

Many women have a favorite phrase they repeat over and over again to push themselves through a challenge. It may be a bit of scripture, a quote, or an affirmation. It may be something they believe, or something they’re working TO believe. Doesn’t matter. It helps.

I can do this. I. CAN. DO. this.”

One way or another, this will be over by this time next week.”

I am surrounded by Love and Light, and all that I need will be with me this night.”

3. Ask for (and ACCEPT) help.

At the risk of stating the obvious (!), a lot of you DON’T do this. Here’s a simple truth, Courageous Women. NONE of us can do everything on our own. ALL of us need help from time to time, in all kinds of ways. You don’t think twice about helping out a friend who needs you. In fact, you’re happy she asked.

So what makes you any different? She wants to help YOU too.

4. Carry protective gear.

When you’ve got to walk through something scary, make sure you’ve got your protective gear with you. That may mean carrying a can of pepper spray in your hands and READY to USE while walking to your car at night.

Or it may mean wearing your favorite Power Suit and Power Jewelry to the meeting you’re having with that bank president.

5. Make a power grab. (And here’s a hint. Information is power.)

One of the very best things you can do with anything hard (or even just uncomfortable) is to do your homework. Gather your research. Read everything you can about the subject at hand. Study. Think. LEARN. Seek out guidance, counsel, experts. Ask enough questions (and then some) to feel like you have what you need.

Some of us wing it when we’re facing something outside our comfort zone. Some of us close our eyes and hope it all turns out okay. Some of us avoid learning about the things that are so overwhelming. (I’ve recently forced myself to start learning about long term care insurance. Ugh.)

But the reality is, the more we know, the more we know. And the better we feel.

6. Keep the faith.

If you have a strong faith tradition, drawing on that faith is probably already something you do. But even if that’s not the case, it still helps to seek a Source of power outside yourself. Those in recovery programs like AA and NA talk about the concept of a Higher Power, whatever that is for you… They believe that learning to lean on Something greater than ourselves, is critical.

They’re right.

7. Learn to spot projection.

This is one of those fancy-dancy psychobabble words that gets thrown around a lot, whether folks really know what it means or not. At the risk of oversimplifying a complicated subject, here’s what it is in plain English.

“It’s the pot calling the kettle black.”

Every now and then someone will react to you in a way that is WAAAAY over the top, out of the blue, completely unexpected, and completely beyond anything that makes sense. When that happens, it can be unsettling, hurtful, even scary.

Odds are, it’s more about them, something (unconscious) being triggered in them that has little — or nothing — to do with you.

Spot it. Release it. Move on.

8. Visualize the (perfect) outcome.

One of the most powerful things you can do is also one of the easiest. That is to, quite literally, create a picture in your mind of your desired outcome.

The key here is to picture it EXACTLY the way you want it, and in exquisite detail. When this thing is done, what will the situation look like? How will it feel? What will you be wearing? What will the room look like? What kind of smells or tastes might be in the air? What words or sounds will you hear? What will you know? How will you know it? What look will be on your face? Their faces?

Get the idea? Draw a picture in your mind. Make sure you include all your senses. And make it Picture Perfect. Hold that. And take it with you when you head off to face your challenge.

9. Make some noise.

When my kids were little and had to face something scary (like getting a shot or standing back up after a crash in the driveway), I told them to make some noise. “It doesn’t hurt as much if you make some noise!” I’d say.

I don’t know if that was true or not, but they liked it. And if you read the post about our treetop adventure you KNOW how powerful a full-throated roar can be. So make some noise. Take a walk out in the woods and yell. Or drive down the interstate, alone in your car, and shout to the world that you KNOW what you’re DOING, thank you very much!!

(Of course, this could also fit in nicely with #1 above.:))

10. Don’t lose your perspective.

More than anything else, remember this. The sun will still rise tomorrow. The earth will still spin nicely on its axis. And you will come through. Don’t minimize the importance of what you’re facing, but don’t make it bigger than it is, either. Don’t let it define you. Don’t let it crush you. And don’t doubt for a moment that somehow, you’re going to figure things out.

You’re going to do Just Fine.

So how about you?

What tricks do YOU use to push through fear?


Photo Credits: by Paul Bica on Flikr

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