Change. It’s required to get us from where we are to where we want to go. Yet, it can be down-right scary and difficult to enter the great unknown. How do we move forward even though we are gripped with fear and uncertainty?
I’ve lived with fear for as long as I can remember. It’s created a well-worn path in the hallways of my mind.
When I started my blog, I experienced fear at every turn.
Fear of not having anything important to say.
Fear of failure.
Fear of losing credibility.
Fear of embarrassment.
Fear of learning in front of others.
Fear of losing a sense of control.
Fear was all I could think about. It was exhausting and overwhelming!
One day, I opened up about my emotional state to a friend. She replied, “It takes courage to do what you are doing. Getting yourself out there and being vulnerable. You are brave!”
Ever had an encounter with someone who spoke life-giving words to you, and they took you by surprise?
This was one of those moments!
It felt like those words hit my forehead and BOING, bounced right back off again! I had no grid to capture them. Instead, they began swirling around the periphery of my mind. I didn’t own them, but they were close enough to grasp.
I wrote in my journal about the exchange with my friend. Later, I reread those three words, “I am brave,” and a floodgate of emotion came over me. They touched a place in me like never before. They sunk deep and began to heal and soften the tough exterior usually covered by fear. It was at that moment those words became a part of me, making themselves at home.
I found myself proclaiming, “I am brave for doing what I am doing. For being vulnerable and becoming more of who I am.”
Being brave is a new way of thinking! A new way of being!
Bravery peels back the layers and exposes fear for what it is – an imposter. Like the little man who hides behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, yet projects himself as a ginormous creature with a booming voice, complete with billowing smoke. Oh, if we could live our lives viewing fear as an imposter rather than an ominous creature. We could live boldly and courageously.
My perfectionist side still piped up, “Will I survive this new path?” My creative side replies, “Being brave will give me a chance to flourish and grow.”
I want my creative side to have the opportunity to do so.
How do we make room for change?
Find people who speak life-giving truth.
We need others around to support us in the process. Positive change occurs when we choose people in our lives who speak words that bring life.
They see in us what we don’t see in ourselves and call it out.
They speak words that breakthrough whatever keeps us stuck and helps us to move forward.
Be open to share struggles with people we trust.
Sharing our struggles and seeking help gives us opportunities to hear different perspectives. Ones that we may not have thought of. When we are mired with our own thoughts and emotions, it’s hard for us to see much else. We get tunnel vision.
Sharing our struggles allows others to show empathy, to provide much-needed encouragement, and to remind us that we are not alone.
Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Change can be uncomfortable. The mere mention of the word may cause us to resist going down that path.
We may associate fear or risk with change. Fear of the unknown. Risk of going outside our comfort zone.
We usually experience the highest level of discomfort before we start. If we can take that leap of faith, we realize it’s not so bad after all, we survived, and our confidence grows.
We don’t need to have all the answers to move forward. Trust that they will emerge as you go.
Learn to manage fear as it never goes away.
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions.
Everyone experiences some level of fear when confronted with change. It proves we are human. If we avoid change, it can prevent us from doing what we want to do and becoming who we aspire to be.
Managing our fear allows us to forge ahead and test whether the situation will be as bad as we assume. Usually, we discover life-changing breakthroughs instead.
It takes a leap of faith, a level of openness, and a willingness to risk for change to occur.
Progressing from having no frame of reference, to entertaining a new idea, to finally making room for change is a choice.
A choice to walk into the person you were meant to be.
To come out of your hiding place and be brave.
To treat yourself with compassion and be more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
To experience the messiness and joy of learning and of growth.
It is a choice to take this on and to get rid of old thought patterns that will no longer serve us. To make room for what will move us forward and give us new life. It takes bravery to walk into the great unknown. You can do it!
You are brave!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published by sharonkrueger.com.
Featured Image by Benjamin Davies