Tai Chi Girl KickingHow do you handle your fears? Do you run? Hide? Ignore them? Or do you boldly step forward, following them to their root?

I’m not afraid of much, but I can honestly say that some phases of my life have scared the crap out of me!

Moving away at 16 to go to college in a distant city that I had never visited? – Pretty scary!

Quitting my professional job to work for myself, from home? – Yelp that was scary too!

For many of us it’s the fear of the unknown and possible failure that gets us stuck. But just like all great scientists, inventors and astronauts of our time, we must go boldly into our own unknown, if we ever want to reach our highest aspirations.

Here is my 5 step process to moving through my own fear.

  1. Understand it. We fear what we do not fully understand. We fear the illness will kill us until we understand how it works. We fear the darkness until we can trust ourselves to turn on the light. Learn about the thing that scares you most, and the fear starts to fade away.
  2. Be open. The people around you and even your own inner critic may call you crazy and senseless. That’s fine. When we stretch our paradigm of thinking the stuff “out there” seems weird compared to what we have always thought. Allow yourself to be open to the new possibilities no matter how crazy they seem. Just know that you can choose ANY of those possibilities. A “crazy” one or a “less crazy” option if you want.
  3. Let the pieces fall apart. It always gets worse before it gets better. Just like we pull all the clutter out of the closets to spring clean the house, the same thing happens in our lives when we step through our fears. Things may not make much sense anymore. What you thought was up may really be down. Let that be okay. Rest in the awareness that this is just the process. That all is still well and the world is still in order even though it feels like YOUR world is out of control.
  4. Let the pieces come back together as they may. This is not the time to be a control freak (and for me that’s easier said than done). When you’ve gotten this far in the process those “ah ha” moments will happen and everything will start to make sense again. It just might not be in the way you thought. Embrace that feeling! Surrender to the impulse to do only what you are inspired to do instead of what you think you should do.
  5. Rest in the afterglow. Yes I said afterglow. Congratulations! You’ve come out on the other end of your fears and you are still alive! You are probably wiser, stronger and more secure too! Enjoy this moment and celebrate your accomplishment. You worked hard for it. You put in the time, the energy and the tears. Claim what you’ve achieved and allow yourself time to just BE, before you hop onto the next big thing in your life.

Fear is a natural part of our human experience. It’s how we handle our fears that make all the difference in the quality and success of our lives.