You can’t have courage without fear!
This month we are exploring Bravery, Courage and, Fear. We often think that fear is something huge and scary. That it is a sign of weakness, that we’re flawed, need fixing or are less than, if we experience it let alone talk about it.
This is not the case. We ALL have FEAR. It is a natural human emotion. It is essential for keeping us safe, allowing us the space and time to check in, before taking the leap and it propels us towards GRIT, determination and action. If we let it!
Many professionals in STEMM identify with elements of fear, however do not label it as it really is and therefore, fear is able to increase the hold it has over us. We buy into other disempowering labels such as “imposter-ism” “not allowed-isms”, “gender-isms”, and “hierarchy-isms”, whereby we perpetuate the ongoing lack of feeling dis-empowered, and allow the FEAR to WIN!
We do not have to be afraid of fear!
I propose to refute the well-known phrase from President FD Roosevelt – that “there is nothing to fear but fear itself”.
What if… when we recognise that our fear of the unknown, fear of success, fear of failure, or fear of not being good enough, are only thoughts that have been repeated over time which have become a belief. Just because they are a belief, does not mean they are true!
What if… we disrupt and question these entrenched beliefs to explore them with curiosity, inquiry and compassion. And allow new and different meanings to emerge.
When we recognise that we all feel fear at some time, that we can all investigate fear without fear, and that we can make friends with our fear and thank it for protecting us, then we can appreciate that fear does NOT have the power to hold us back, UNLESS WE GIVE IT THE POWER.
Simply put, fear is an emotion. We can learn to sit in the emotion (they are just clues that we are reacting to something), recognise the fear as just feedback, then we have the opportunity to choose what we do next from that moment on.
I (Elizabeth) was brought up on a diet of fear. Fear of speaking out of turn, fear of doing something wrong, fear of being punished, fear of adults, fear of not being noticed, fear of being noticed, fear of not being good enough. All of these beliefs I have questioned over the past decade and found them wanting. They are not truth, they are embedded in fear. When I recognise this, the power to rise up, shine my light and be who I truly am meant to be, then I no longer live my life dictated to or directed by fear.
FEAR is known to be False Evidence Appearing Real. As any of us who are researchers and academics know, we cannot have false evidence appearing real. However, we allow the fears in our lives to take over, we allow them to keep dimming our brightness and stop us from reaching our potential.
Let’s take the sting out of FEAR. Let’s recognise it for what it is. An emotion. When we allow ourselves to recognise it and feel it, we can say hello, make friends with it, understand why it’s showing up, and then take the driver’s seat and determine our own level of action.
The antedote to fear is ACTION
So, the next time you feel uncomfortable, uncertain, out of your depth, afraid, scared or fearful, recognise these as emotions, feedback and clues. Look them straight in the eye, thank them for keeping you safe, and then promptly scoot over into the driver’s seat, and start driving your way to freedom!