Imagine… you are in a black box. The walls are charred, smoky and peeling. You want to escape this black box but there is no obvious door. High up on the wall there is a stamp of light. You long to escape to the light but the black box holds you firmly in place because there is no ladder to reach the light.
The charred walls are your fire extinguished due to lack of air. This black box is fear, and I was locked in it for years
FEAR KEEPS US IN PLACE
Fear keeps us locked in place.
It dampens your fire and limits your potential. And here’s the rub. Most of your fears are imagination based.
We create stories to put a label on our uncertainty, our anxiety, our worries, creating stories about our future that have no evidence. We are habituated to negative thinking and forget that we have a choice to think differently.
I learned early on how fear kept me small. It almost destroyed the fire inside of me. It took me a long time to figure out how to let that fire burn bright.
Growing up in Scotland into a family where poverty, violence, anger and disappointment were a daily occurrence, I learned from the age of two or three that the world was not a safe place. I learned how to hide. How to stay silent. How to be invisible. I learned not to ask for too much because it would not be given. I learned that if you kept your mouth shut you would be safe.
My presence in the world was not a gift. It was a burden. I was another mouth to feed and when my mother brought another mouth into the world, it was not a happy event. And then there was a third child, but this one came with a lot more baggage than anyone could have predicted.
The history of my mother’s children was tragic. She had given birth to a child when she was seventeen and it died three and half years later from congenital heart disease. Shortly before her daughter’s death, she was raped by her brother and was pregnant with their child. When she gave birth to the child, she wanted nothing to do with it so my grandmother raised her. I was child number three.
When number five came along, my father told her to get rid of it. She tried for five months with various remedies for unwanted pregnancies and failed. These stories were told to me many years later after she had died. I had always known there were secrets and had no idea how tragic her life had been.
THE COURAGE TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP
Her life was raw but Grace kept putting one foot in front of the other each day. She showed me the meaning of what it means to be fearless.
It’s not the absence of fear, but the courage to take the next step.
Moving between being fearless and being fearful, we put labels on our anxiety, our worries, our uncertainty. You may pretend, ignore, defend, avoid and look for ways to push aside the discomfort you feel but it doesn’t change it.
The self-doubt eats away at your self-esteem. It pushes you to be less than you want to be because you are afraid to take the next step. You make excuses for your lack of action. You procrastinate, and look the other way. You say you don’t understand why you’re feeling stuck when the answer is clear.
You avoid taking the next step.
Being fearless is not the absence of fear, it’s the courage to take the next step.
I had to develop the courage to take the next step or die trying. So let me ask you this:
- Where in your life are you afraid to take the next step?
- What would the next step look like?
If you’re looking for answers then talk to me. I’ve taken a lot of fearful journeys in my life and I’m happy to share what I learned that moved me beyond it. I can help you make change faster than you thought possible.