Your fear about your big dream can do more to derail your best efforts than lack of money, lack of time, or lack of influential connections-combined. 99.9 percent of the time when your big dream isn’t moving forward it’s because you are letting your fear drive your actions or lack thereof.
If you don’t spend time overcoming fear and why you are feeling afraid, you will stuff down your fear with inaction, excuses, or participate in compulsive behaviors that leave you feeling more anxious–with fear still in control of your life.
Let’s face it, dreaming big is not for the faint of heart.
I was introduced to the idea of dreaming big by Barbara Sher, a best-selling author, dream counselor, and prominent public speaker. She’s published several best-selling books on dream achievement and believes that you can achieve any dream in spite of how you feel, and most importantly, in spite of your fears.
In her book, It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now Barbara Sher writes about dealing with fear as part of big dreams.
What Barbara Sher Says About Overcoming Fear:
What over-extended adults are really afraid will overwhelm them is a broken heart. They are afraid the pain will flood over them, and they’ll drown in it.
But that flood of pain can actually save them. In fact, nothing else will make stress disappear.
Fear isn’t something you can bluff.
You can’t talk yourself out of fear; you have to go to its source and take away the danger. Danger is the underlying feeling that you are having, the child’s feeling of grief.
What’s so dangerous about giving into the feeling of grief? Well, nothing in reality, but we automatically shy away from emotional pain just as we avoid physical pain, because they feel equally threatening.
But if you take some time and allow the sorrow to surface, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. You will experience the hurt, but you won’t drown or be overwhelmed at all because nothing is more natural than releasing feelings.
Look at any baby, and you will see the truth in that. And once expressed, the feeling will pass, leaving big changes in your viewpoint. (Haven’t you ever noticed the clarity that comes after a good cry?)
Because no matter how realistically bad any situation seems, once you let your feelings out, everything looks very different and far more manageable. You may feel the remnants of sadness for little while, but almost immediately you’ll feel calm and unafraid.
But you can’t reach this calm fearlessness with adult logic.
Just because you know you’re more grown-up than you feel at that moment, there’s no point in saying this is only a childhood feeling and can be ignored. Childhood feelings are huge, and if they are not dealt with, they can create enormous stress for you.
If you try and reason yourself out of them , they’ll stay as powerful as ever, and you’ll have to fake self-confidence. Faking anything is exhausting.
So turn the job over to the real master of emotions, the child inside you who is having these feelings in the first place. She’ll know exactly what to do.
Let your inner child show you how.
Barbara Sher’s 2-step exercise to reduce fear:
1. Bring on the anxiety.
Take a look at your checkbook and think about your expenses, or remember all the things you aren’t doing to make your dream come true, or simply think about all the things you should be doing in your life, whichever makes you feel the most overwhelmed or tense.
Pay attention to what this anxiety feels like. Become conscious of its effect on you, and give it a name. Tell yourself that this is stress, this is what it feels like.
2. Now bring up the hurt.
For a few moments close your eyes and pretend you’re very young and full of this same stressed feeling. Heave a big sigh. Imagine you are a young child with responsibilities too great for you and no one to help you. Let your feelings rise up and roll over you just as if you were a small child without inhibitions.
Let your face express the feelings just like a small child might. Search for the words that will bring up the most emotion, “I am scared,” “I hurt,” “I feel so unprotected,” “Nobody wants to take care of me!” Sigh again, and if a tear falls, all the better.
It might seem a little scary at first, but releasing your feelings won’t harm you. Remember that babies do it every day.
Keep your eyes closed for at least a full minute, and let the hurt feelings roll through you. You’ll feel them rise inside you like a tide or wave of heat. Take the palm of your hand, and press lightly on your upper chest just under your collarbone.
If the hurt is centered there, a deep sigh will release it. Or touch your throat, and see if you want to let out a quiet groan. Or put your fingertips just below your eyes on either side of your nose, and if the feeling is there, you’re moments away from feeling tears in your eyes.
Try and stay with your feelings until it peaks and subsides. Then take a deep breath and release it and open your eyes.
Now check out what you are feeling, paying special attention to your stress level. Has it changed?
Your feelings of fear about your life and your big dream must be allowed to surface, to be felt and to be released so that you can move forward. Try this little exercise the next time you begin to experience stressful thoughts of fear or anxiety. It absolutely works and it should allow you to overcome your fear.
I am a firm believer that working on your big dream only when you feel like it, or when life is good and you are happy just doesn’t work for most people. You have to be able to understand your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage for the days when you don’t feel like doing anything to support your dream.
There will be down days, trust me–just don’t let fear run the show. Recognise it. Deal with it. FEEL IT. Hopefully, this 2-step exercise by Barbara Sher will help you overcome your fear and move forward on your dream journey–even when you fear you can’t.
Catherine Hughes is the founder of 8 Women Dream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead but don’t hold that against her.