“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson
I love this quotation by Marianne Williamson because it reminds me that fear will not only emerge in times of strain and stress, but it will also appear when we are approaching greater success and responsibility. Even when positive change is proposed, fear is a natural and common response, but if we aren’t aware of our fear it can become a crutch that keeps us hobbling along instead of sprinting toward the finish line. Our fear tells us to stay put and not make any change. Fear wants us to stay the same, because staying the same is safe! But is staying safe really what you want? Think of any astounding athlete or prolific entrepreneur. Playing it safe was not the name of their game. We assume that fear means something is wrong. We react to fear believing we should protect ourselves from harm. This is the exact pattern that keeps us stuck and unable to take action. When change is proposed or about to take place, fear triggers resistance. We may run and hide to avoid the fear, or revert to old familiar habits that make us feel comfortable and in control. We become “reaction robots” and simply respond by default with the hope of keeping “safe“. BUT, fear is actually a signal we are approaching the next level of our self-growth. I recently wrote a post about how to stick with your commitments. I received some feedback from readers asking how they can uncover their blind spots. You may be wondering this as well. “What are the habits and reactions that keep me stuck?” Gaining self-awareness isn’t easy because often these habitual patterns of responding are unconscious. When we uncover our default response and how we tend to avoid fear, we can stop going down the familiar road of limitation, and instead make intentional and deliberate decisions to stay on the path of transformation.
Five fear based blind spots to check
Comfort zone Everyone has some sort of comforting behavior and tendency we fall back on in times of distress. When we feel afraid or uncertain we turn and run to these comfort zones. Fear tells us that we belong in this comfort zone, and if we begin to step beyond the boundaries something bad will happen. Don’t let your comfort zones define you. You can define and create the life you desire when you decide to befriend your fear during moments of self-growth. Defensive behavior Have you ever know someone who can’t take bad news or negative feedback? A person who responds defensively whenever something doesn’t go their way? This can be seen through blaming others, lashing out, or simply playing the victim. This defensiveness can help us feel in control and allows us to shield any unpleasant feelings, but it prevents us from actually dealing with a problem. This is why defensive behavior keeps us stagnant and in a rut. When we are unwilling to acknowledge our weaknesses or problems we cannot change them. Attacking Have you ever met someone who is constantly fighting against change with all their might? Someone who is always on guard? People with the tendency to attack believe they are protecting themselves from pain by showing their dominance and strength. Attacking can be seen through a bully or someone who is always trying to “one up” other people. It’s as if they have to say, “Here is why I’m good enough.” “Here is what I have done to feel good about myself.” They try and overpower others out of fear of losing their own power. They do not realize that personal power comes internally, when we are able to live from intention instead of reaction. Avoiding The person who avoids their problems may be totally aware of their weaknesses but they refuse to take action or deal with them. When we avoid growth, discomfort, and challenges we begin to wither away. Challenge and discomfort are pivotal in our personal evolution. We are either growing or dying so choose to grow each day. Face your problems before they get out of control. Playing not to loose Have you ever seen your favorite sports team take a huge lead in a game only to begin playing carefully and end up losing. They were playing not to lose! Instead of focusing on how not to lose we need to play to win. Most people are so afraid of what they will lose they forget about the glory that comes from winning. Taking fear head on with the intention of winning allows us to stay mentally strong and courageous. When you start getting ahead, don’t get afraid.
You’re starting to check your blind spots, now what?
The irony of blind spots is that when we check them and are aware of them, we are much less likely to “wreck.” Simply acknowledging that we have our defenses up gives us the personal power to decide if we want to lower them. Here are two other ways to take more control over your attitude and responses. Spend your time intentionally: If you want something to be different, it’s about being intentional. Next time you find yourself starting to go down the same worn out path, instead of simply reacting, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What do I really want?” “Is the way I’m spending my time in line with what’s most important to me?” Be intentional with thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Ask yourself, “Are my thoughts aligned with what I want?” “Are my feelings helping me get what I want in life?” A little progress in this area will go a long way. Take a small action step today: Make it a daily practice to take action and push beyond what’s comfortable to you. The first step on a new path is the most difficult, so determine what “baby step” you can take today. Do something out of the ordinary that helps you open your mind. What will you do today to make progress on your commitments? In each moment we have a choice to respond in a way that will keep us stuck and defeated, or take us toward victory and evolution. This week, practice being more intentional and deliberate with your thoughts, feelings, and actions.