The Value of Scaring the Heck Out of Yourself
Personally, I find there is great value in scaring the heck out of myself from time to time. According to the Oxford Dictionary, “heck” is a euphemistic alteration of “hell,” which is generally equated with fear and suffering. Here on Earth, we suffer when we allow fear to govern what is possible in our lives.
You see, it’s our fears, and our assumptions and beliefs about what might happen if we challenge our fears, that limit what is truly possible or impossible in our lives. That’s it. The quality of your life will be as expansive or constrained as the fears you give your power to. When you choose not to be intimidated by your fears, your life flourishes like a plant that gets repotted into a bigger, more nourishing space. You literally make more room to be the fullest possible expression of you.
That’s why I believe it’s a valuable practice to routinely look for ways to do things that scare you. When you make it a practice to notice where fear is limiting you from attaining the things that matter most to you, and take action to meet those fears in a purposeful way, you build the ability to move through fears that threaten to confine you into being less than you truly are.
Challenging your fears begins with noticing where the edge is for you and then finding ways to step up and over that edge, even if just a little. For example, you could:
- Share your ideas more clearly and directly with smaller audiences, as you build your courage to address the issues you care most about on a larger stage
- Find people who are masterful in an area that interests you and learn with and from them, through classes or coaching
- Let go of the PowerPoint and speak from your heart about the things that matter most to you, as you inspire others to do the same
- Write your poem, paper, or book and get it published any where, then look for more influential places to have your voice be heard
What really matters is that you notice where the edge is for you, and find ways to give yourself more space to bring the best of who you are and what you have to offer to the world.
When I was creating our Coaching in the Moment® workshop I had very little experience with facilitation. The prospect of leading a roomful of people through a day-long learning experience was truly frightening to me, but I knew that the only way to bring the work I cared deeply about to the world was for me to challenge my fears.
To “scare the heck out of myself,” I took an improv class. And it did, indeed, scare the heck out of me. Let me go on the record as saying, I have no talent whatsoever for improv. Regardless, I learned how to stay present and play with whatever was thrown at me. I learned that bombing out with people watching could be funny if I laughed instead of getting self-conscious and embarrassed. As a result, I found my own way of facilitating that works well, and I thoroughly enjoy.
Recently I co-delivered a Coaching in the Moment workshop in a high rise in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There was a moment during the workshop when I looked out over the vast expanse of the city and listen to the contented hum of the participants behind me coaching each other in Spanish and Portuguese. And it hit me that I was living the dream I’d dared to dream a number of years ago of having my work be used around the world to enable people to learn with and from each other through meaningful conversations. It’s a dream that would never have come true if I hadn’t consistently pushed the edge on my own fears.
Where’s Your Edge?
Take a moment and listen to your heart. Where is your edge? How is fear limiting your ability to attain the things that matter most to you? Not sure? Ask your heart what you truly long for. Listen compassionately and courageously. Write down what you hear without editing or compromising. It’s likely that your fears will show up fairly quickly to intimidate you with thoughts of what you will lose if you challenge them. Fear always speaks of loss and what isn’t possible or worth risking. That’s how your fears keep you in check.
Rather than giving into your fears, ask your heart, “What will I gain if I move through this fear? What will that outcome look and feel like? What might open to me in that expanded space? Notice how your heart speaks to you in terms of what’s possible. Courageously write down what your heart reveals to you without letting your fears do any editing. Then give your heart permission to lead you as you step out in that direction. Then take another step, and another, perhaps building slowly or maybe moving more quickly, until you find that your dreams have become your reality.
Dianna Anderson, MCC
Join the Conversation
How have you challenged your fears to attain the things that matter most to you?