Five Lessons – About Fear

Recently I shared on my social media channels that I was having a ‘wobble’. That I was feeling THE FEAR. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll know the kind of fear I was talking about: the kind of fear that makes you doubt yourself; that shakes your self-confidence and makes you want to escape back into the security of full-time employment. You know that one, right?

I’ve learnt a lot about fear over the years because as well as the entrepreneur’s fear of failure, I’ve faced the fear that comes from being diagnosed with cancer; the fear that arises when you lose your job; when you have no money and no way of paying your bills. I’ve faced the fears that I hope no woman I know has to face (although I know so many have) the fear of physical assault, abuse, and rape.

If you’re trying to change the world, you’re going to get hit by THE FEAR every now and again.

I don’t believe in the adage ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ – that may work when you’re about to jump out of a plane; or bungee jump off a bridge but when your fear is crippling your confidence in yourself, you need to find a way to release that fear not simply try and ‘push on through’.  And I do believe that there are antidotes to fear. I shared my favourite techniques for releasing fear recently in a Facebook Live and talked about it in my newsletter. But this is such an important topic that I am also doing this blog about it. So here are my antidotes to fear. I hope you find them helpful:

The antidote to fear is connection.

I recently watched a TED talk by Johann Hari about addiction. In his talk, Johann argues that isolation worsens addiction and that connection is the key to overcoming it. Firstly, I highly recommend his talk. Secondly, it occurred to me that the same is true of fear. When I look at all of the remedies and techniques I use to tackle fear, they nearly all come back to connection of one kind or another.

Connection to others

When I look back on the times when I was most afraid, they are also the times I felt most alone. Lying in a hospital bed at 2 am, after major surgery to treat cancer, wondering how I would pay my mortgage and terrified that I would lose my home. Isolated from my friends and family by a husband who hated me having any connection beyond my connection with him. Working at home, alone, on my new business day after day. These days the first thing I do when I am feeling afraid is reach out to someone I love and who loves me or someone who shares my vision within my community of changemakers. I’m not asking for what my friend Jo would call a ‘wine and whine’ session – but an opportunity to share how I feel; seek reassurance; and reconnect.

The antidote to fear

Connection to your purpose

When I work with clients one of the first things I get them to do is to get really clear about their purpose. Then we map out where they are on their journey towards that purpose – all the milestones along the way. Why? Partly because it’s an essential part of developing your communications strategy (and that’s what I do!) but also because connecting with your purpose can be a great antidote to fear. And looking back on the journey and seeing how far you’ve already come also helps to put fear in perspective. Fear hates perspective!

Connection to Source

This won’t work for everyone but I do believe that even those of you who profess to have no religion or belief in spirituality of any kind, may find meditation useful in this scenario. For me, the silent, focus on your breath and ‘clear your mind’ style of meditation has never really worked. In the silence, all I can feel is the fear! Instead, I do a more active form of meditation – based on chanting the Gayatri mantra. It grounds me, brings me into a deeper sense of connection with what I call ‘Source’ and allows me to surrender and let go of the fear.

Releasing fear (and connecting to your body)

Now for my tried and tested, fail-safe, ‘no fear can survive it’ technique. Are you ready?

DANCING.

Yes, you read that right.

DANCE!

Fear is an emotion and rather than suppress that emotion, you need to find a healthy way to release it. Dancing, for me, is one of the best ways to do that. Find some suitably loud, dance music and let go! Dance in your kitchen, your bedroom, your living room. Dance in the garden. Dance in the street. Just keep moving until you’re hot, sweaty and a bit out of breath. Give yourself over to the music and movement and watch that fear disappear.

Everyone has their own method for tackling fear. Feel free to share your top tips in the comments below. And above all, remember that connection is the ultimate antidote to fear – so reach out and connect, any time. I’m always here.

Let’s change the world!

Sara Price
Sara Pricehttps://actually.world/
Sara has spent over 20 years in PR and lobbying working for some of the biggest brands in the world. Her focus now is on supporting visionaries to change the world through the power of great communications. Sara’s career began in the UK Parliament developing an in-depth understanding of the corridors of power. She then worked as a political advisor to UNICEF where she witnessed the power of individuals and organisations to effect global change. Sara sat on the UK Board of one of the world’s largest PR agencies, H&KStrategies, and in 2010 co-founded the award-winning independent communications agency: Pagefield. Over the course of her career, Sara has developed communications programmes for some of the most famous brands in the world from Kelloggs to Airbnb; she has advised organisations as diverse as Lunar Mission One and SheDecides; and created multi-national campaigns for Global Peace Ambassador Prem Rawat. Sara is also a coach, mentor, trainer and soon-to-be published author. Her vision is a world in which everyone with a big dream to make the world a better place feels inspired and empowered to do so. Sara’s enterprise, Actually, exists to fulfil this vision: offering training, advice and support to social entrepreneurs, charity leaders, campaigners and businesses with a social purpose enabling them to change the world.

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  1. Thank you for this wonderful essay on an important topic, Sara! I love all these suggestions. I’m thrilled you included dancing-a favorite of mine (and guided meditation). I would add that if a person suffers with persistent traumatic stress or PTSD, then seeking support to resolve this challenge is optimal because the nervous system may be “stuck” in fight/flight/freeze without a pathway beyond these three modalities. Asking myself Byron Katie’s four questions I have found to be profound for many fears come from “false evidence appearing real” thoughts or a reliving in the mind of past, unresolved experiences. Shaking, wiggling, giggling, fake laughing that then shifts quickly to real laughing, running, jumping for joy jacks, biking, swimming all support me moving the energy of fear through my body and out into the stratosphere. Being with other people in person remains vital-nothing can replace actual contact and conversation with another human being who you love (and who loves you) or several of these types of humans.

    I’ve come to realize that often our greatest fear is death, which then makes us terrified to live. Cultivating courage in the face of uncertainty-feeling the discomfort of uncertainty-flowing it all through the heart can be a practice for a lifetime. I’ve learned to allow death to be my greatest teacher-to free me to be brave-to actually live like it matters-sort of fearless. I also would add that lots of people show anger when what’s actually happening is they are terrified. This has helped me hold much compassion for angry people. They’re like cornered porcupines with their quills standing up.

    Singing-Whenever I feel afraid, I strike a careless pose and whistle a happy tune-from The King and I!

    Thanks, again, for discussing and welcoming actual strategies! Rather than suppress or power through-so much better to work with the fear-listen to it for a bit-see what it has to teach us about being alive and then move it on through by way of many paths!

  2. Sara, thank you for writing this piece. It, too, resonates with me. Fear can be such a hideous beast, and I agree that each person deals with it differently. I think back to over two years ago when I was about to hand in my resignation and finally leave an employer of almost 16 years. For as toxic as a situation as it was, I was fearful of leaving that space. But, the moment I handed over that piece of paper, I knew it was the right thing to do, and I could feel myself detach from the fear. To think that I almost let the fear win, makes me cringe at times. However, then I remember how far I’ve come, and I know that even a baby step outside of that zone can make all the difference.

  3. Wow… this one really resonated with me, Sara! I remember when I quit a job that I loved for more than a decade to step out on my own. I had no choice really, but the day that I turned in my letter of resignation is seared into my memory. As determined as I was, there was this voice inside me that kept saying “What in the hell did you just do??” A few days in the fetal position under the covers made that voice louder and louder. It wasn’t until I crawled out of that isolation and connected with others that I prioritized my efforts on doing things rather than thinking about things. Thank you for sharing. I think this one will hit home for many readers!

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