Taking down fear requires persistent attention — and yields unimaginable rewards
Does fear ever leave us alone? Do we ever outgrow it? Does it ever tire of dancing on our souls? Not mine. Mine is [email protected]!#ing relentless.
Every move I make, path I decide to venture down, every change, decision or choice… Boom! There it is — mocking me — calling me out. Sliding up next to me and wrapping its arm around me like the creepy uncle we avoid at a family reunion.
Do you recognize this fear that I am speaking of? As soon as you get crazy inspired to do something big in life, something that excites you, something that calls to you and makes your heart flutter…it shows up. Dark. Powerful. Familiar. Heavy. Poking at every weak spot in your psyche. And so damn real, it feels like it’s in the room with you sitting right on your lap, weighing you down.
Why should I get to have, be or do anything that I want? Do I really deserve all of this? Who do I think I am?
As soon as I contemplate taking a “leap of faith” and changing the direction of my life, endless mind-chatter ignites. It leaps boldly into the fear zone of my consciousness.
In the spirit of transparency, let me state that I crave safety. My soul aches for a life-is-good, all-is-well, kumbaya feeling. Yet, this platform of security I yearn for has eluded me. It is always just out of reach — minus the tiny pockets of calm. I look up and ask the Universe, is the joke over yet? Enough with the character building!
Flashback…I was living my life, raising two kids, working at one “job” to develop another — my coaching career. I fluctuated between inspired and numb on a daily basis. Nothing was dreadfully wrong and yet nothing felt ecstatically right. Ever felt comfortably numb?
The one constant was my daily prayer. During meditation I prayed that my best and highest path would show up in my life. I know I am on this planet for a purpose. I pray to remind myself of this too. I believe in all things fun. But more than that, I want to live a life that contributes to others, to the world.
A few years ago the course of my life/career was thrown off track by a hurricane-force financial disaster. This is not my beautiful life. This is not my beautiful car. Letting the days go by. (All 80’s peeps know what I am talking about…) But I digress…
My emotional resume: Scared. Unsure. Single Mom of a tween and a teen. Floating at the mercy of the tide.
Guess who is knocking on the door? Creepy Uncle Fear! Waving a hand-written invite to my personalized pity party, we sit down together for a deep, tête-a-tête about what a failure I am. No negative detail goes unaddressed. Every possible thing that ever went wrong is under the spotlight. Fear has invited its best friends: judgment, insecurity, unworthiness…all working in tandem to see how small I can feel. Fear pointed out to me, This “living your dreams” bullshit is just that. It ain’t gonna happen. Look how it all worked out for you, Jenna. Get real and get back in your cubical! I got small and allowed fear to take up residency.
I spent years being “practical.” I worked. I paid my bills, barely. I got through each day. I told myself that being responsible was the new inspired. Living ‘on purpose’ was a phrase that made me cringe each time I glanced at Oprah’s magazine covers. It was a message I taught my coaching clients, but one that I was not practicing myself. I was living life as a full-blown hypocrite. I taught others to go for it! Live their dreams! Burn the boat! Squeeze every bit of juice out of life! I believed it was available to them.
What was I doing wrong? What about me?
I whipped up a great story around why I was living as a sell-out. I made excuses, lived in denial and did everything necessary to get through each day doing a job for which I felt no passion and had no connection. What did I get then, you ask? A paycheck. The every-two-weeks paycheck. Stable. Steady. Safe. I operated from a place of fear.
My soul was dying a slow death, all in the name of safety.
During this period I stayed connected to my yoga and meditation practice. In that space, my world of endless possibilities still existed. It is where I connected to my higher self. In that space I still knew my life had purpose. When I had the courage to leap, even an inch forward, the stars aligned for the purpose of bringing my life to a higher state. People and opportunities entered my life with synchronistic beauty.
And Jenna lived happily ever after…
Oh snap. Wouldn’t a fairytale ending be sweet? “No bueno!” yelled Uncle Fear. Fear jumped right on in and called forth all sorts of new anxieties to stop me in my tracks, whispering things about losing paychecks, losing security, being ungrateful, acting irresponsibly and on and on it went. I was standing on the cliff, knowing it was time to jump. Anyone who has ever considered life a ‘personal growth’ journey knows that these are the big moments. When opportunity arrives, we do one of two things – take it or don’t. It was jump or settle. (Can you feel my heart breaking as I type that dirty word…’settle’?). Could I settle into ‘settle’? – it was a slow death in my mind.
I made a choice and I jumped. Today is a Brave New World because I took the leap. Looking back I can tell you this, I have no regrets. I did what I did. I took care of my family. I built amazing relationships. I learned new professional skills. I gained business knowledge that will serve me well going forward. Friends who had given me professional opportunity, revealed themselves as family when they acknowledged that my happiness was more important than the “bottom line” of their business. Everything had served a purpose. It all prepared me for my life’s exciting next leap!
After deciding to go for it, my fear watched me from the cliff’s edge and I could hear his loud words, “You’re an idiot! This is such a stupid move! So irresponsible!” Now, as I move forward, as I engage, as I re-connect with the world that I know and love, a world where everything is possible and anything can be fun, these self-defeating theories fade into the distance, losing their grip upon me. Mind you, my creepy uncle has not gone completely — he can return, uninvitingly knocking at the door, but he no longer lives with me.
Behind the door that opened for me, there are 10,000 of the most amazing, generous and successful people I have ever known in my new Isagenix family! I am living a beautiful, fun, fulfilling life. I love my life and I love sharing what I do — helping others take their leap toward their best life.
A leap of faith is exactly that. No one can leap for us. No one can push us. No one can decide for us if it’s the right leap for us. Deep down you know.
Deciding and committing and leaping is how we change our lives.
Deciding and committing and leaping is how we change the world.
Deciding and committing and leaping is the hardest damn thing, yet makes life worth living.
It’s now. Today. We are here for such a short amount of time and no one gets a guarantee of when the party’s over. There is no such thing as failure. There are choices that don’t work out and lead us to different choices. We are a glorious work-in-progress. My point is this…go for it! Tell your creepy uncle to take a long walk off of a short pier. Surround yourself with people who are leaping! When opportunity knocks…answer! Hold a space in your life for things to work out beautifully. Consider joy an option!
The next time you have to decide whether to jump with faith, think of this…and know that I am pushing you with love!
Come to the edge, he said. They said, we are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them…and they flew.
~ Guillaume Apollinaire
Want to read more about overcoming fear? See Leap Of Faith