We haven’t been here before!
The new ‘normal’ may well be around the corner for some but we have to cope with huge complexity to get there. This is tiring and ambiguous. New routines, new contexts, new strategies can all involve some element of fear and learning. None of us have been here before!
Here are our five tips on how to lower your fear levels and how to make it work in your favour.
Step 1: “The best way out is through”
Start by simply putting one foot in front of the other towards your next destination. Otherwise known as, ‘one step at a time’. This will help to shift your energy towards a new goal with patience. ‘Flight’ is often the more natural response. The result of fear is fatigue or adrenalin. Notice what your body is telling you about fear.
Step 2: Create a positive picture of where you are going:
The mind is a powerful tool. Just as it can undermine your confidence with negative thoughts, it can bolster your confidence by doing the opposite. Visualise the experience you want to have, imagine (or draw!) how you will feel when you get there.
Continued awareness of your vision and commitment to show up for yourself is where true grit lies – it is a quality that can be quite compulsive. Without the destination, fear can take you to all sorts of places you don’t want to go!
Step 3: Surround yourself with heroes or heroines who believe in you and inspire you!
Deborah Fleming, Founder of Chameleon Works says of her recent 750km solo charity trek: “I created a Whatsapp group of important friends and colleagues who encouraged and believed in me when I was full of self-doubt.”
“This group grew in importance for me as the trek got tougher and it helped me overcome fear of failure with their words and messages of encouragement.”
“Reading Rosie Swale Pope’s amazing story ‘Just a little Run around the World’ made my feeble 750km hike look like a walk in the park in comparison – she was my heroine who helped to push me through the leg pain, blisters and loss of toenails to endure the distance and collect £6000 for Bowel Cancer UK.”
Sometimes, looking to those inspirational people can enable perspective – a valuable tool when facing fear.
Step 4: Notice how you react to fear (or lack of it!)
Become more aware of what fear feels like physiologically. You may feel ‘pumped’ each day, sometimes exhausted, sometimes tearful.
Deborah says: “When I returned from completing my hike back to my ‘normal’ life in the UK, I noticed that I felt a huge sense of loss – it was loss of the ‘buzz’ of adrenalin that living with fear each day on my hike had given me. Fear can take energy but also the adrenalin of it can be quite energy giving too.”
Being aware of how fear is impacting you is a useful step to handling it. Recognise when to take a break.
Step 5: Reflect – there is learning in silence.
You may sometimes keep busy and overfill your diary as a way of avoiding real, deep connection with pain or fear of the unknown.
Deborah quotes “I am sometimes fearful of what silence tells me about myself, and so avoid it, leaving no space to reflect or confront my past. On the trek, miles of track with nothing but forest silence for days ahead of me was difficult; returning me to places of solitude and isolation that surfaced grief that I had not connected with at home.”
Avoiding silence is so much more natural these days than donating yourself some. It’s the learning to ‘donate’ time that helps.
If you are wanting support for your teams to cope with ambiguity, our online team performance ‘Away Days’ or personal coaching can enable a positive transition, minimising fear whilst maximising your capabilities.
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