How to Face Fears – The 3 Phases of a Challenge

Below is a transcript of this recording:

If we think about creating the life or business or relationship that we really want, often we can see that what’s holding us back is fear. In other words, we’re not getting what we want because we don’t want to do the stuff that scares us. We’re scared we’re going to be uncomfortable, we’re scared we’re going to risk our money or energy or time, or we’re scared we’re going to do something that will have us feel rejected or look like a loser, a failure, a moron.

But how often do we challenge these fears? How often do we really take the time to look these assumptions in the eye? Through experience, I’ve found it’s really helpful to understand how fear shows up in our minds so that we don’t let a speed bump turn into a wall.

But first up — in case you don’t know who I am, I’m Tripp Lanier. I host The New Man but more importantly I’ve been a professional coach for about 15 years now. This means I’ve spent thousands of hours helping guys figure out how to do the work that will put their lives and relationships and professions on a better trajectory. And I’ve been fortunate to coach everyone from Navy SEALs to best selling authors to fancy pants executives to that guy who lives up the street from you.

So let’s get back to this topic of doing the stuff that scares us so that we can experience greater freedom, aliveness, love, and peace.

When we’re in the creative process and we’re looking at the next scary step it’s helpful to understand what we’re really facing. Often this is where we drain ourselves and get stuck because we can only see our challenge from one perspective instead of three.

Let’s break down our challenge into its three main parts.

The first part happens before we take the scary step. This phase is the worry and anxiety and dread. And you can bet big money that this is usually the worst part of the entire process — even though no action has been taken yet. Like a scared child frozen out on the end of the diving board, we’re usually in a state of anxiety. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what I should do. We can spend months or years or decades frozen in this place of fearful avoidance.

The second part is when we get into action. This happens when we engage our challenge. And weirdly enough when we’re engaging our challenge we don’t usually feel the fear anymore. If anything we begin to experience excitement — aliveness. If our challenge and our skill levels are aligned we may even begin to experience flow. While we’re in the act of creating we’re focused on the challenge itself. Like the kid who just stepped off of the diving board and into the air, in that moment we don’t have the space to be freaked out about it. We’re not worrying our dreading about the future because we’re engaged in the present moment.

And then the third part is what occurs after we take action. This is where we typically experience peace and freedom and aliveness. We’re transformed as a result of going through our challenge. We’re no longer that scared frozen kid running through all of the worst case scenarios because we’ve stepped across that threshold. At the minimum we’re simply relieved to be done with the thing, but most likely we’re already running to get in line so we can do it again.

Bottom line — When we’re facing a scary challenge, we can remember that the worst part of the whole process isn’t actually doing it — it’s the time we spend worrying and avoiding our challenge. But we don’t have to let our fear get us stuck in that miserable place. We don’t even have to believe our fears. We don’t have to buy into the theory that just because that first part sucks then that means the whole thing is going to suck. And if we review our previous experiences then we can see that waiting to do something feels quite different than the experience of actually doing it. We can remember the gazillions of times that we’ve done scary stuff that ultimately became no big deal.

I hope this has been helpful for you. This is a short excerpt from the book I’ll be publishing soon. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for the mailing list using the form below.

Best to you and thanks for listening.

Click here to learn more about coaching with Tripp Lanier.

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