Fear; what is it good for?

Failure…or more accurate; epic failure.

That’s the point that moved me back to focusing on the areas of my life that needed me most. Have you experienced failure?

I know that we all have in some form or another. Small failures are normal in life. But small failures mean that we are only taking small steps and staying safe because of the numbing fear of more failure.

Can you relate? Have you ever wanted something and were too afraid to do what it takes to achieve what you wanted? Take for example, a baby. When you were young and learning to walk for the first time, did you fall? Now, I don’t know your backstory well enough but I’m going to bet you a million dollars that you did.

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Because we all did! But what if we had decided at that moment that it was futile to keep trying? What if we made the decision that we were going to keep crawling through our lives because it was safer? 

Sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? Yet, that is what most of us are doing every single day. We give up. We stop trying. Have you tried losing weight and getting fit before and failed? Have you started a business venture or challenge that excited you, only to fail in some way; big or small? Have you tried dating before and failed at connecting with everyone you went out with? Are you at a point right now that is keeping you in a place of complacency because of the numbing fear of failing, yet again?

I hate to say it but in order to achieve anything worth having, you must fail. Here are two major failures in my life and how I was able to overcome them with the support of friends and family:

I grew up extremely shy and kept to myself most of the time. I enjoyed solitude and quiet spaces because it was safe. I don’t know where the fear of speaking up began but I know it was an issue that hindered me through my school years. In high school, I became friends with a girl who pretty much spoke for me. She gave me confidence because she was so confident. I appreciate her to this day for showing me exactly how unscary it is to just speak up and be heard.

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Can you imagine now that I am not afraid to speak in public? I started with teaching aerobic classes when I was just 18 years old. I was scared out of my mind, but my passion for helping others to workout and feel good overcame my fears and I just kept practicing and doing. Did I fail? Of course I did! I would have blunders and mistakes every time I taught for a long time. But this didn’t stop me from continuing because I simply loved it! I now am not afraid to talk openly in public. I am not afraid to stand up and make a public speech. I may get nervous at the start but that doesn’t stop me anymore from still doing; as in the past.

Have you ever felt that kind of passion before? Have you ever been afraid of something but were so passionate about the outcome that it became the focus; instead of the fear? That is the place we all need to live in. This helps us build our confidence for the areas in our lives that hinder us still.

I was also always fearful of not having enough money. I don’t know where this fear began but I remember when my husband and I purchased our first home, I worried that we would make a bad choice at some point or another. We had excellent credit scores, paid all of our bills on time, both worked and provided for our young children and everything just seemed right. Yet, I still feared losing it all.

Be careful what you think about most because it can consume you. Not that I walked around worrying about it constantly; it was more of a nagging worry.

I won’t bore you with the whole story but at the time of the recession; we decided to take a move overseas and needless to say, this was the start of the worries coming to fruition. My hubby’s business hit a bumpy road and slowed down considerably. I was working part-time in the fitness field as a personal trainer and still a group exercise instructor (and if you know anything about this field, it’s not something to write home about in income status). Our move overseas was short lived but the outcome hit us rather hard. We moved again back to where we began and didn’t take precautions to scrimp and save enough to get back on our feet as we would have preferred.

One more overseas trip and a lot more debt accrued and we came back again, only to deal with the hardship of major debt, rebuilding our businesses, and settling into something we had no idea how we would manage.

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I can honestly say that faith was my best friend at that point. Faith and our family that had gone through the moves and stresses and ups and downs. We bunkered down together, all 5 of us and decided that we were going to persevere. It hasn’t been easy but let me tell you, we are finally getting to the point of not being consumed by the unknown and have the closest and strongest bonds together that we have ever had. This would not have been possible, had we not failed. So failure, in my humble opinion, makes us better for the process.

Fear paralyzes us into doing nothing. We now go through every day, grateful for our blessings and knowing we are not as “in control” as we think we are 😉 Letting go and just believing we are doing our best with every day has been the medicine to overcome the challenges that life brings our way. I’m not saying I know what the next stage will bring but I do know that I am not afraid of it. I know that I will face the next challenge with support, love and grace. What is holding you back because of your fears?

 

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Feeling the Fear; and Loving it!!!

Change can be scary, it can be uncertain and it can be paralyzing at times. What’s the saying, “Feel the fear and do it anyway?”

How often has this rang true in your life? I know that it’s been almost a constant and some of the decisions were my own; but many were just where God wanted me to go.

Fear is something we all experience. You may look at someone who is very successful and think they are completely fearless, but I guarantee you they have their own share of fear.

I have fear all the time. What if I fail? What will someone think of me? What if I’m not good enough? The past few years were full of fears and experiences that were not guaranteed to turn out the way I wanted. In fact, many of the experiences didn’t go how I would have chosen; but I have faith that God lead me exactly where I needed to be and where I am today. How can anyone argue with that?

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I competed in my first fitness competition and received many negative remarks that I went into it as an “un-Godly” woman and that really shook my life. I had to question my motives and if I was truly looking at it for my ego or something else. And you know what? Once I did it, it felt amazing.   I then decided to run my very first marathon…that’s 26.2 miles, in case you weren’t paying attention! That’s a LOT of miles for someone who doesn’t even enjoy running. True story.  But I did it. And the feeling of accomplishment overrode all of the sacrifices I had made to reach both of these achievements. Our family sold everything and moved overseas to another country. Talk about fear!!! It was scary, it was hard, it was awesome and it was ultimately a blessing.

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My whole life is full of blessings. Some were tough to go through but what came out later was something I could never have accomplished or experienced without it.

 

This year, I have taken on another huge and super scary goal. You know the kind of goals that make you a little weak in the knees and kind of wanting to throw up?

Ya, that’s the type of goal I set for this year. I don’t believe if I hadn’t gone through all the challenges before, that I would even consider working towards this type of commitment. Whatever brings you passion and yet keeps your top priorities in place, is the key to your success and happiness.

 

A key difference between being successful and not, is either letting the fear stop you from reaching your goals or feeling the fear and going for it anyway. The moment we can learn to embrace fear then we open ourselves up to so many opportunities. The moment you let fear take hold and stop you from doing things, then you shut yourself off from reaching your true potential.

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What will this year bring? Stay tuned….I’m just getting warmed up!

Feel the FEAR Much???

FEAR

Such an awful place to live, right?

When you really sit down and think about the word, “FEAR”, what does it even mean? Is it real? Is it imagined? Is it learned?

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Yes, to all of the above. It can also be the one area that continues to hold us back in life. When you hear others tell you, “It’s only your imagination”, “Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” ~ do these help you put your fears to rest? Probably for a few minutes or even a few hours if you are lucky. But ultimately, you still have a deep seated fear that needs to be remedied to help us build confidence and cure the fears!

Most fears today are psychological.  Worry, tension, embarrassment, panic all stem from a mismanaged, negative imagination. When people tell you that it’s “all in your mind”, it only highlights the fact that they believe you are imagining it and your best action is to ignore it.

But fear is real. It does exist and it stops us from reaching our goals and gaining success in our lives. It stops us from capitalizing on opportunities; it wears us down physically; it can make us sick; it can shorten our lives and it keeps our mouths closed when we want to speak.

I grew up painfully shy. I would hear people whisper around me, “she doesn’t talk”, “why is she so quiet”, “if only she would open up”. All these comments did for me was to feed my fear of opening up. It kept my mouth closed because my mind would be so loud as to why I should not speak up.

“You have nothing interesting to say”, “You aren’t as smart/confident/pretty/talented/etc as these people”, “You will say something stupid and turn red with embarrassment”, etc. These were the real thoughts brewing in my head, among others and they were powerful reasons to continue feeding my fear of just simply speaking.

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It stemmed from my lack of confidence. But confidence in reality is not given; it’s earned. It is a talent we need to develop over time. We aren’t born with it naturally, but can learn it through the #1 fear killer of all: ACTION.

Action can cure any fear. You know the saying, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”? That is the only true cure for your fears.

Think about some of your biggest fears today. Many fear financial strains, job insecurities, public speaking and death. So what can you do about these issues? Just ACT! If action is in your control; it HAS to be done!!! The only time action cannot cure your fears is when the control is totally beyond your grasp. For example, a natural disaster or unplanned accident. While these are concerns among many, there is little you can do to make sure they never occur. The best you can do is to plan ahead in case they happen and then turn your attention to other issues that help ease your mind. Enjoy your life and loved ones, help others who are in need and pray.

As for the fears that can be controlled or alleviated by action, you must do exactly what you do not want to do most. For example, if you fear public speaking; then you MUST work up to doing just that. Sounds debilitating doesn’t it? But it does work and I promise you that the fear is worse than the actual action in the long run.

How did I cure my awful fear of shyness? I pushed myself to talking and learning how to grow my confidence by doing what I love and helping others instead. So turning the attention OFF of me and then jumping into the issues that held me back. I loved my fitness classes and was constantly being asked to lead a class…this scared the heck out of me but I decided my desire to do what I loved was more important than the fear I held so I learned from those who knew and stumbled my way through some rather awkward classes…

But guess what?

I eventually began to grow in confidence with my knowledge which in turn allowed me to take on more challenges and chip away at the fears little by little. I can now stand in front of hundreds of people if needed and speak with little fear. How? By planning on what I will talk about, learning as much as I need to know about talking through the topics and just DOING it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. This isn’t a quote to be passed by lightly. It is the truth in all of our lives. We all have fear and insecurities. If you let those fears hold you back, you are letting yourself down from some amazing successes and joys.

I hadn’t realized how far I had moved away from my fear of being shy until a few years ago. I reconnected with a friend I knew in preschool. This friend was someone I always remembered well as being one of my closest and dearest childhood friends. I remembered her fondly and would sometimes wonder where she was and where her life had taken her. It was at a 5K run a few years back that I found her again. Small world, right? After my race, I scanned the results lists that were posted regarding the runners and how they had placed in the race. As I read through the names, I spotted HER name!! What an exciting feeling!! Where could she be??  At the awards ceremony, I saw her and ran up to ask if she remembered me and she did!!! It was truly an exciting time and as we talked, we exchanged numbers and contact information. We later planned to run another race together and on our drive to the location that day, she turned to me (who had been talking most of the trip) and asked me the big question, “Kathy, you were SOOO shy when we were young. Like, painfully shy. I don’t know if I ever recall you talking at all!! What happened to you????”

It was at THAT moment when I realized exactly how far I had come. I did not allow my fear to take over my life and stop me from reaching any goal or any challenge I set out to meet. It is possible for you today too. Feel YOUR fears and take action on making them a distant memory for you too.  Start today and do it NOW! Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 11.03.15 AM