The more I coach and speak to people about their dreams and how they can get there, the more the word fear comes up and the more obvious it became that fear is the one thing that stops people from moving forward. It occurred to me that perhaps we are a little too accepting of fear. There is fear…and then there is Fear yet we lump everything into one without ever really taking a look at what we are afraid of. Some fears can and probably should be ignored, others most definitely should not.

What should NOT be ignored ? Physical fear. Your life is precious and it should be protected, this is what fear is there to do. That is why we are afraid of small narrow ledges on the top of sheer vertical cliffs. It is a warning and attention should be paid to that warning (I know, some of you may read this and go huh ? But isn’t diving deep something that can affect your physical being ? The answer is yes, of course, but that was a fear I managed and dying was a risk I accepted)

What COULD be ignored ? Well the more emotional fears. The fear of failure, the fear of humiliation, the fear of being rejected. These are fears that affect how we see ourselves and how we position ourselves in the world. These fears support who we currently think we are and who we think we are is nothing more than an accident of our experience to date. It can change…if you have the courage to change it.

Yes, it is not quite so cut and dried because you most definitely would not want to give up your day job and become a travelling monk if you have a family to support and financial obligations and all the responsibility that comes with a modern life. Then again, you could take your weekends to start that, slowly building up your dream until it can financially sustain you. Which is where the concept of baby steps comes into play. For ever dream there is a step you can take right now, all you need to do is stop focusing on why not and instead focus on what is possible now with what you have. It should be a step that creates fear in your being…and some doubt because without those two elements all you are doing is repeating what you always have done…and the means living the life you have always lived.

Fear is something you can manage. You have a choice! You can choice something that petrifies or just scares you. Something that creates huge change or something that can be fitted into where you are. Yet somehow we choose all or nothing.

What if facing fear is nothing more than risk analysis ? What if there were only ever two basic questions you need to ask to determine if this is a valid fear or not ?

1) Will this physically affect me (or another) in a negative manner

2) Will this affect my ability to support myself physically (so my income, housing, all that good stuff) ?

If the answer is no to both then why aren’t you going for it ? Courage is not the absence of fear, it is getting on with it even though you are afraid! Courage is also something that is built over time. The more you face your fear the less afraid of facing your fear you become.

So, what step could you take right now that would take you from being comfortable and safe to being slightly uncomfortable and open ? What could you start practicing that would support your dream ? And most importantly, when will you start to practice it ?