A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how our thoughts are not the truth. One of the lovely women in the comments, Lizzie, told a story about her sister's fear of sewing. Her sister, Stephanie then popped in with her own comments about her fear. I've thought about them both for a few weeks now*, wondering how they went with their fear-tackling plan. They were going to face it as a team and act.
See you either sit in your fear, avoiding it, not looking at it, OR you ACT!
The sister that was scared of sewing, Stephanie, was so scared that she didn't even want to read my post. From the sound of it she has been sitting in her fear for some years.
Action is the only way to make the fear shift. You won't wake up one morning unafraid and ready. That just doesn't happen.
We all have fear. Fear is part of life and especially part of doing something new. That doesn't change. Sitting and waiting for the fear to pass is the problem. The fear won't just go away by itself.
Fear is a crafty little bugger too. It disguises itself as all sorts of crazy things. Fear as avoidance. Fear as disinterest. Fear as a lack of time. Fear lies to you and gives you excuse after excuse as to why you shouldn't/don't need to do the thing you are afraid of.
My fear often pops up at the start of the kind of craft project that involves a new skill. I don't start the project. And then I don't start it again. And then I don't start it some more. I use - seemingly valid - excuses, like that I don't have time to understand the new process. Or I don't have all the information and don't have the time to sit with the instructions. Or that there is another project that is much more appealing that needs to be done right now.
There is this ace quote by Derek Sivers who says “If [more] information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”
We don't need more information. We need to deal with our fear and get started. Not by making the fear go away - it won't - but instead by figuring out how to move through it. By figuring out how to choose courage and act.
Because the only way to learn the thing we want to learn, is to do it.
You can't learn to drive by sitting at home on the couch being fearful. The only way to learn to drive is to drive. You can't learn to sew a top by watching a youtube. The only way to learn to sew a top is to sew a top. You can't learn to do a welted pocket without trying to do a welted pocket.
Sitting in our fear is not the answer. Neither is using the excuse that you don't know enough to start. We can't out-information the fear. It will still tell us that we don't know enough.
The fear isn't going anywhere. And the only way through is to choose to act. In order to act we need to flex our courage muscle - which like any other muscle gets stronger with the exercise. The more times we choose little acts of courage, the more we practice courage, the easier it gets to choose courage the next time. You know where your courage lives and you know how to make that muscle fire.
And then moving through our fear gets easier and easier.
After years of working with my fear I know that my avoidance stage is part of the process. Eventually I figure out a way of forcing myself into starting the thing I'm afraid of. I ask a friend to sit with me or I take a workshop or I make up an imaginary deadline. I force myself into action. And through the action I often I find that the thing I was afraid of really wasn't that scary. It is often really very simple.
The only way we get to do the things we want to do in our lives, is to get conscious and aware of what we are avoiding doing, AND then act.
Flex your courage muscle and start before you are ready. Because you can never be ready by sitting in your fear.
I'd love to hear your stories about getting though your fear and avoidance.
*If you two lovely ladies are reading then please let me know how you went :)?