Hello Fellow Fear Finders,
Feeling fearless doesn’t mean ignoring or battling your fears, but rather accepting, enlightening and embracing them as part of your path toward a deeper understanding of what gets and keeps you stuck. In the process, your fears can shift from being roadblocks to becoming part of the precious and unique landscape of who you are and how you tick.
I thought it might be helpful to share a “case study”–in letter format to make it a bit more personal–of the types of concerns that have been shared with me throughout my journey of fear research and exploration.
Susan is feeling stuck in unfulfilling work and a stale marriage, and experiencing guilt-laced inner dialogue that’s keeping her there:
I’m 52 years old, have been in the same job for 15 years (which is okay, but I don’t love it) and have been married for 21 years (which is fine but is feeling stale). I’m struggling with depression and feel stuck in my life, but don’t have the first idea about how to change anything. I feel old, afraid and unsure of myself, but also feel that I have a lot to be grateful for—which leaves me with guilt about being unsatisfied in the first place. I can’t envision a path forward to finding passion in my work or in my marriage, but deep down I want to reinvent my life. Not sure where to start, or whether I can start.
Look forward to connecting,
Does any of this resonate with you? Wouldn’t it be liberating for Susan to identify the fears that live within her dissatisfaction with her work and marriage relationship? It represents a crucial first step, because only then can she shed light on what’s keeping her stuck.
Fear Finding Exercise:
Susan’s fear exploration may start with the simple (not always easy) exercise of envisioning a job that would spark her and identifying the factors that get in the way of her pursuing that. Chances are that each of those factors are joined at the hip with fear.
Consider a few possibilities:
“I won’t be able to make the same money if I did that job I really want.”
Susan can enlighten the fear by unpacking the financial facts. Has she done an in-depth review of her budget and lifestyle choices so that she’s clear on her expense and savings profile and what she truly needs to support herself and her family?
“No one will hire me at that job because all of my experience is in this one.”
Susan can enlighten the fear by researching the specific jobs that interest her and the types of credentials they require. Are there channels where she can pursue expanding her skill set in her spare time and/or join networking groups to learn more about opportunities? If she hasn’t considered these, then a second layer of fear lurking behind that may need to be identified.
“I’ve been married a long time and this is how it goes. Things are fine. I have nothing to complain about.”
Susan can enlighten the fear by tapping into the narrative her brain is building around her marriage relationship and identifying fear fact versus fear fiction. The fact is that she feels the relationship has grown stale. The fiction is the judgement she has assigned to her own feelings. This is a good starting point for changing the narrative.
I’d love to hear how this hypothetical Fear Finder letter hits you. And if you haven’t done so already, please also consider participating in my Fear Finder Research Project so that I can include your important responses in my research and build useful and effective frameworks to help you embrace and enlighten the fears in your life.
It’s not a quick or easy process, but one worth exploring.
If not now, when?
To courageous living,