So many people struggle with fear.
Fear of work, acceptance, rejection, money, safety, politics, health and wellness and more. Recently I drove to Portland Oregon and a number of people I know mentioned to me that Portland is different than when my wife and I got married 26 years ago.
While it was certainly different than 26 years ago; I didn’t experience fear that was described to me. While staying in downtown, where most of the trouble was supposed to be found; none of it was my experience. Maybe I was lucky. There were homeless people, people with mental health situations, and road rage as examples that I witnessed firsthand. But I wasn’t afraid.
Similarly, I have talked with people about politics who fear the upcoming election (from both sides of the aisle) and wondering what is going to become of our country.
There are some who are concerned about how to navigate their relationships and whether they will be accepted or rejected for who they are and what they believe to be true.
I have talked with men who feel marginalized based on the color of their skin and fear being pushed aside without anyone getting to know who they are.
Women have confided in me their fear of pursuing what they really want in life – to be a mother – for fear other women will ‘turn on me’.
Fear is a paralyzer.
Fear puts front and center the anxieties we have.
Fear forces us to stay in a comfort zone.
There is one way I know to overcome fear; Lean into it. What I am NOT saying is if you have a fear of spiders that you go to a spider filled basement and sit for hours. What I am saying is no matter what your fear is; lean into the fear just a little. Explore it, feel the tension and anxiety of your distress in a controlled way.
When I was in Portland, it would be a lie if I wasn’t a little apprehensive at first. I made the choice to lean into my time there. I walked the area, engaged with some of the homeless people along the way. I did this so that fear did not rule in my life.
By leaning into the fear, by choosing to engage with it, I was taking control of my life and actions. I have found in life that when I engage with fear, it builds confidence. Over time, confidence builds on confidence (not producing arrogance) allowing me to move in spaces and situations I might not have a couple of years ago.
Overcoming fear takes time. Lean into the fears you have. It will build confidence for you down the road.
Confidence is key in life and work.
What will you do you want to do this week to lean into fear?