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How To Face Your Fears…And Discover Who You Really Are

I’ll never forget that day I was literally too scared to log back into Facebook.

It was August 2016 and my stomach felt like a towel being tightly wrung out.

I couldn’t even look at my laptop, which was sitting on the edge of the sofa after I’d hit the ‘post’ button about 15 minutes earlier.

“Are you alright?,” asked my partner at the time, slightly concerned that her boyfriend was resembling a ghost.

“Yes, I’m just going out a walk to get some fresh air,” I quickly replied.

I threw on my jacket and went for a stroll at a quiet spot alongside the River Leven that would not only calm my nerves, but ensure that I didn’t bump into one of my Facebook friends.

What if there were a few cheeky comments underneath what I had posted online?

What if some smart-arse had posted laughing emojis?

Maybe I should just go back home and hit ‘delete’ before too many people see it?

These were the questions going through my head as I walked along the riverside near my house.

The river and surroundings were quiet and peaceful. My mind: a warzone. What was it that had my brain frazzled that day? Why was my heart pounding like I’d just been chased by an axe murderer? How the hell could social media trigger such a meltdown within me on a random Tuesday morning? All I’d done was self-publish a fitness e-book. The e-book itself wasn’t the issue…the problem was that I’d ‘put myself out there’ by telling everyone about it on social media. By doing so I felt as if I’d just put a huge target on my back, awaiting arrows of judgement to come flying in from all angles. That single Facebook post, which seems very insignificant now, resulted in all my insecurities, self-doubts, self-judgements, fears, and worries flooding to the surface. Just like Eddie Leahy describes in his awesome article this week, this human response has been nicknamed ‘imposter syndrome’. At the very deepest level, it translates to fear.

I quickly discovered that this imposter syndrome/deep-rooted fear affects you psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

Psychologically: my mind went into overdrive about what people would think about my book. I worried they’d all start lining up asking questions about the validity of the content, how qualified I was, and saying stuff like “who made you the expert?”

Emotionally: I literally felt that fear and got anxious. I’d spent many months producing the book and should have been celebrating it finally being released. My own self-doubt dictated otherwise.

Physically: my stomach was in knots. I couldn’t even eat lunch that day because I felt sick.

I’m guessing many people reading can relate to those feelings in the stomach coupled with your mind going into overdrive…because fear lives within all of us.

Fear offers you an imaginary safety net – but you never really feel at ease in that safety net.

Fear makes you play small.

Fear holds you back from reaching your potential…and discovering who you really are.

Everyone has hopes and dreams, whether it’s becoming a fashion designer, selling their paintings, starting their own coffee shop business, or releasing a song they wrote. It tugs at their heart. Their soul screams for it to happen. They know how alive it would make them feel. Yet the vast majority of people don’t bother lifting a finger because of the fear of failure. Their trepidation about being judged paralyses them into a state of inaction. They unconsciously douse the flames of their own creativity. Your soul always wants to express itself through creativity. By ignoring that inner calling – and allowing your head full of fears to get in the way – you’re not allowing the real you to emerge and flourish. Now, onto what this whole article is about: how to face your fears…and discover who you really are. I could sum up my answer Nike-style: “Just do it.” But, while there’s actually value in that kind of straight-to-the-point approach, I know it’s not that easy for many people who struggle with insecurities and perhaps carry wounds from feeling judged or humiliated in the past.

Again, I’m referring to anything from applying for a job promotion or setting up a wee side business to starting your own YouTube channel or finally asking that girl out that you feel a really good vibe with. To help you face those fears, I’ve listed some confidence-building pointers. These are designed to inject some boldness into your life so that you can at least take one step towards whatever it is your soul is screaming for, but fear is currently gagging. I’d suggest you read over these more than once and let each point properly sink in. #1 Think about everything that could go right. Too often we focus on the negatives, or worse case scenario. “What if this, or that, happens?” When you become aware of your mind leading you down a path like this, stop that thought and replace it with a vision of what could go right. We all have the power to do this. Your thoughts create your reality. To learn more about the power of your thoughts, I’d highly recommend checking out the YouRevolution episode with Scottish author and speaker Gerry Murphy: Your Life CAN Change With The Power Of Your Thoughts.

#2 Accept that you don’t have all the answers right now. Take the pressure off yourself by realising that you don’t need to have everything all mapped out. You just need to begin – and then figure things out as you go along. Even if you have a game plan, there’s a high likelihood that it’ll change numerous times (or be ripped up completely) as your journey progresses. #3 Understand that failure is an integral part of success. ‘Fail and fail often’ is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard. I strongly believe that failure is the best way to learn. We figure out the best way something works by discovering what doesn’t. Here’s the best part: failure builds character and emotional resilience. When you get to the point where you don’t care how many times you stumble – and reframe those so-called ‘failures’ as learnings – then you reaching your destination is only a matter of time. #4 Trying is already winning. This ties in with the previous point, but I just want to underline that if you have a goal, dream, desire, wish, or hope…but are standing still paralysed by fear, then you’ve failed already. Trying and making 101 mistakes is much better than doing nothing and letting yourself down. #5 Even the greats experience imposter syndrome. Stephen King, one of the world’s most-accomplished authors, has admitted that he still struggles with imposter syndrome and has to find ways to overcome it. Many other stars we admire have revealed the same. Embrace self-doubt as part of the creative process. We all feel it. If whatever you wanted to pursue didn’t feel a little scary it wouldn’t be normal. #6 Envision who you’ll become. Here’s the surprising part about whatever goal, dream, or wish you soul is desperately crying out for: the end goal doesn’t really matter. The new job. The new business. The extra money you earn. Finally completing the marathon. What you achieve is not really important. What matters most is who you become in the process; how you expand and grow as a person. Going back to that day when I announced the launch of my fitness e-book on Facebook, where I had all these doubts, insecurities and fears that I’d be judged, criticised, and perhaps even laughed at. Here’s what really happened… Half a dozen people commented underneath congratulating me on the e-book release, and around 10 people shared the Facebook post to help promote the e-book. Turned out many of my fears weren’t real. But then my mind latched onto another fear: “What if no-one buys a single copy? That’ll be a disaster after spending months writing this e-book.” The e-book did make some sales, albeit just four copies, earning me a grand total of £36. The numbers or profits didn’t matter one bit. That day I faced some massive fears – and admittedly it didn’t feel good for a chunk of that day – but it gave me the fuel to write more. Five years on, I’ve self-published seven fitness books and another book about ayahuasca. I now earn a good living from those books on Amazon, which allows me more time to focus on other passions – the biggest of which is this YouRevolution movement co-created with my good buddy Alan Wilson. I’d never have dreamed any of this was possible. On that note, I’ll finish with a quote from a guy we all like around here… “The limit is not the sky. The limit is the mind.” – Wim Hof.

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