“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela
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What does the word ‘fear’ conjure in your mind? Is it an image of something you are afraid of such as spiders or needles, or is it something less tangible that holds you back? When we are younger, our fears are more often tied to concrete challenges as opposed to transitional fears such as moving up a grade in school. As we age, our fears tend to be more deep-rooted and less tangible, such as those of major life transitions. It may feel tempting to lead a life of sameness, without change and avoid pushing our inner self to live our best life. Overall, transitional times tend to create fear, where the unknown may seem ominous or the change itself overwhelming. How about you, at your current phase of life, do you consider yourself fearful or fearless regarding transitions?
By nature, I am a cautious person and I own that. When it comes to taking physical risks, I tend to hold back. However, when it comes to taking internal risks, I have definitely become more fearless with age. Even starting this website/blog meant pushing past my fears of criticism, scrutiny and judgment. I used to avoid public speaking and I now purposely face it to give presentations. In the past few years, I have entered writing contests, submitted proposals for conferences and applied for jobs. Have they all turned out favorably? Certainly not. Has my confidence and resilience grown? Absolutely!
As Brendan Burchard¹ says: “Fear rips us from freedom. It is the destroyer of greatness….Yet look at all the adults who act like powerless children and avoid the life they want because of fear.”
What propels transitional fear?
What is at the root of fear during transitions in our life? Almost universally, the answer is the fear of failure. Some of the most significant transitions in my life, that many of us face, such as leaving home, changing educational institutions, getting married, starting new jobs, having children, moving, etc. scared me – I did not want to fail. Conversely, fear of success can also create uncertainty within ourselves. What will the new me look like after this transition?
How to become fearless in the face of transitions?
Focus on yourself:
1. Self-compassion: Be kind & compassionate to yourself just as you would be to someone else during this transition. Tell yourself, “It is okay to feel afraid”.
2. Self-care: Nourish your body with physical activity & nutritious food and nourish your mind with meditation & mindfulness.
3. Self-awareness: Acknowledge what you are feeling and why, and how you are reacting to others.
4. Self-actualize: Look ahead to what you want for yourself during this transition and what you need to see it through.
5. Self-respect: Respect is one of the most generous gifts you can give others – be sure to give yourself a huge dose. You deserve it!
How do you face transitions in your life? Are you fearful or fearless or a bit of both?
I want to take a moment to thank my always supportive husband for his help with our web designer through our recent website transition. This was a relatively minor transition in my life to a new web design, but I was fearless given my motivation to make something better and more engaging for people like you!
1. Burchard, B. (2014). The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power. Hay House: USA.