How to do things we fear

150226 Shenzhen sign postJust read a blog post from an artist on ‘how to show up and sell your art’.

Which is mainly about how to connect with other people – and while there is a longing for it, there is also a fear.

This is not just a question for artists – it’s for anybody who wants to sell products and services.

For a start I think art is so much more than painting, sculpting or writing poems.

Everything we do from the heart that contributes to the beauty and wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants is, in my eyes, art.

But I digress.

The longing for connection – and at the same time being afraid of it – is valid for all participating in the ‘art’ of living.

So, how do we connect and communicate with other people when there is this fear stopping us?

How can we  stand up and show ourselves when we feel vulnerable?

In his blog, the artist offered some tips on how to do things in spite of feeling fear – how to push through the fear.

This is a valid approach. However, I think it has to be taken with caution. Let me explain:

I used to have a mantra: “let fear lead my path.”

Meaning, look where the fear is, and do it anyway – basically do what you’re afraid of.

Now, while this mantra got me into new places, and onto many adventures, both internally and externally, it also had it’s down side.

It made me go beyond boundaries that actually kept me safe.

Which was quite stressful.

You see, while we need to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone and explore new territories, we also need to respect our limitations.

If we want to grow  personally or develop our business, we also need to be a gentle on ourselves.

Pushing through fear too hard can put us into shock.

Applying such a mantra blindly can have a re-traumatising effect.

I know. My mantra ended up hurting me at times.

So, how do we deal with fear then?

By using the four steps I’ve written about before.

I learnt them many years ago from a dear mentor – and subsequently published them in a German management book. But that’s another story.

These four steps are valid in dealing with fear as well.

Here we go:

  1. Name the fear. For example, say to yourself: “I am afraid of talking to people I don’t know.”
  2. Acknowledge and accept that fear. It is there for a reason.
  3. Breathe gently.
  4. Go into your heart.

When in your heart, you can explore what the fear is trying to tell you. What are the real dangers that need to be considered, and what are limiting beliefs?

Now, explore what you can do anyway – what is safe for you to do – even whilst feeling the fear.

See? We can all do things we’re afraid of – and at the same time, respect ourselves!

The important thing is to do it with awareness.

If this feels a bit too hard for you to do alone, I’m here to accompany you along the way for a while. Just get in touch with me.

Things get easier when someone holds your hand while you take first steps.

Preeti