Overcoming fear

Woman, flying through the air with arms outstretched

Even when we have learned to find the ten types of opportunity in a situation, there can still be three reasons why we find ourselves getting stuck.

The first of these is overthinking. The second is not knowing who we want to become. And the third is simply that we feel afraid.

Nelson Mandela said something about this when he quoted Marianne Williamson in his inaugural speech as president of South Africa. He said:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

And he also said,

“There is no passion to be found… in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Whether we feel afraid to fail or afraid to succeed, these times of change are creating an increasing range of issues that somebody needs to step up to address. And if you don’t, who will?

The appropriate way forward is know your purpose and values and to know that this is what you are here to do. In an imperfect world, this is what has meaning for you.

Then find an issue that matters you in line with that purpose and values, manage the risks, and inspire yourself and others to do what needs to be done, no matter how large or small.

If you still feel afraid, a simple coaching tool is to ask yourself:

What’s the worst that could happen?

Then create a plan to deal with that and your downside is covered.

If you still feel afraid, then either feel the fear and do it anyway or scale down your ambitions, choose a smaller goal that also inspires you, and find a way to do that.

Our playing small does not serve the world, it does not serve the people around us, and most of all it does not serve us. In this time of change, when all ways forward will be difficult and unpredictable, the biggest risk comes from standing still and doing nothing.

And when we allow ourselves to step into the place where we align ourselves with what we care most about, we bring the most value to the world, we experience the most flow and joy, and we also fully express the best version of ourselves in the world. That, surely, is what life is for?

We need you to do that. Just as you need us to find the issues that matters most to us and then engage to address those issues.

And as Nelson Mandela and Marianne Williamson also said:

“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Is fear holding you back? Are you settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Stephanie Carter via StockPholio.net

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