Courage is Taking That First Step Into the Unknown

Courage is Taking that First Step Into the Unknown

Fear is something that has held me back in the past, not being prepared to take risks that moved me outside my comfort zone. That has all changed since I made the decision to become a life coach.  Each day I am faced with new challenges to overcome, new ways of thinking, and the person I now have to become. Each day I am faced with the decision to push through the fear to get my dream off the ground or to turn back.  Each day I choose to move forward, sometimes taking leaps of faith or some days smaller more manageable steps.

Guess what! It just gets easier, who knew that dealing with fear was just a process, and a change of perception.

I recently read the book “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jefferes. In it she explains the process that I have experienced. I hope the following information helps you to move forward and take that first step into the unknown.

The five truths about fear.

  1. The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow as an individual.
  2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.
  3. The only way to feel better about yourself is to go out and do it.
  4. Not only are you going to experience fear whenever you’re on unfamiliar territory but so is everyone else.
  5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

The biggest fear of all – the one that really keeps you stuck is

I can’t handle it!

At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can’t handle whatever life may bring you.

The truth is:

If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear?

Nothing

All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way!

Some fear is instinctual and healthy and keeps us alert to trouble. The rest – the part that holds us back from personal growth is inappropriate and destructive, and perhaps can be blamed on our conditioning.

What matters is that you begin now to develop your trust in yourself, until you reach the point where you can say:

Whatever happens to me, given any situation, I can handle it!

We can’t escape fear.  We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us in all our exciting adventures; it is not an anchor holding us transfixed in one spot.

If everybody feels fear when approaching something totally new in life, yet so many are out there “doing it” despite the fear, then we must conclude that fear is not the problem. The real issue has nothing to do with the fear itself, but rather, how we hold the fear.  For some, the fear is totally irrelevant.  For others, it creates a state of paralysis.  The former holds their fear from a position of power (choice, excitement and action), and the latter hold it from a position of pain (helplessness, depression and paralysis).  The secret to handling fear is to move yourself from a position of pain to a position of power.  The fact that you have the fear then becomes irrelevant.

To help you on your pain to power path, it’s important that you begin to develop a pain to power vocabulary.  The way you use words has a tremendous impact on the quality of your life.  Certain words are destructive; others are empowering.

Pain to Power Vocabulary

Pain >             >         >         >         >         >         Power

I can’t _____________________________  I won’t

I should ___________________________   I could

It’s not my fault ______________________  I’m totally responsible          

It’s a problem________________________  It’s an opportunity        

I’m never satisfied ____________________   I want to learn and grow

Life’s a struggle ______________________  Life’s an adventure

I hope _____________________________ I know            

What will I do? _______________________ I know I can handle it

It’s terrible __________________________ It’s a learning experience  

Begin eliminating the words terrible, can’t, problem, struggle, and should from your vocabulary. When you give your subconscious these messages your subconscious believes you. Not only does your sense of yourself change with a more powerful vocabulary, so does your presence in the world.  People who display an inner strength are treated differently from those who come across as weak.  The more powerfully you speak, the more you will be a force in the world around you.

You can also bring more power into your life by expanding your comfort zone.  Try each day to do something that pushes you outside your zone.  Take a risk a day – one small bold stroke that will make you feel great once you’ve done it.  Even if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, at least you tried.  You didn’t sit back powerless. As your power builds, so does your confidence, so that stretching your comfort zone becomes easier and easier.  The magnitude of the risks you take also expands.  As long as you are taking risks – no matter how small you are moving yourself to a more powerful position.

When you feel yourself hesitating take the leap instead of backing away. Feel the fear and do it anyway.


Cath McEwenAbout the Author: Cath McEwen

Cath McEwen is a passionate, genuine, caring, and certified life coach who is inspired to support individuals who are in pursuit of personal growth and their own passions. She started Daring to Dream Life Coaching as a part of her own dream, following a journey of self discovery and personal growth.

Cath believes that embracing change while being true to yourself, your values, and your unique talent is within the power of all of us. If you are looking for a new perspective or approach, and support to take that first step into the unknown she would love the privilege of working with you.

Find Cath on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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The temptation to fix their big feelings can be seismic. Often this is connected to needing to ease our own discomfort at their discomfort, which is so very normal.

Big feelings in them are meant to raise (sometimes big) feelings in us. This is all a healthy part of the attachment system. It happens to mobilise us to respond to their distress, or to protect them if their distress is in response to danger.

Emotion is energy in motion. We don’t want to bury it, stop it, smother it, and we don’t need to fix it. What we need to do is make a safe passage for it to move through them. 

Think of emotion like a river. Our job is to hold the ground strong and steady at the banks so the river can move safely, without bursting the banks.

However hard that river is racing, they need to know we can be with the river (the emotion), be with them, and handle it. This might feel or look like you aren’t doing anything, but actually it’s everything.

The safety that comes from you being the strong, steady presence that can lovingly contain their big feelings will let the emotional energy move through them and bring the brain back to calm.

Eventually, when they have lots of experience of us doing this with them, they will learn to do it for themselves, but that will take time and experience. The experience happens every time you hold them steady through their feelings. 

This doesn’t mean ignoring big behaviour. For them, this can feel too much like bursting through the banks, which won’t feel safe. Sometimes you might need to recall the boundary and let them know where the edges are, while at the same time letting them see that you can handle the big of the feeling. Its about loving and leading all at once. ‘It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to use those words at me.’

Ultimately, big feelings are a call for support. Sometimes support looks like breathing and being with. Sometimes it looks like showing them you can hold the boundary, even when they feel like they’re about to burst through it. And if they’re using spicy words to get us to back off, it might look like respecting their need for space but staying in reaching distance, ‘Ok, I’m right here whenever you need.’♥️
We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety have magic in them, every one of them, but until they have a felt sense of safety, it will often stay hidden.

‘Safety’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what they feel. At school, they might have the safest, most loving teacher in the safest, most loving school. This doesn’t mean they will feel enough relational safety straight away that will make it easier for them to do hard things. They can still do those hard things, but those things are going to feel bigger for a while. This is where they’ll need us and their other anchor adult to be patient, gentle, and persistent.

Children aren’t meant to feel safe with and take the lead from every adult. It’s not the adult’s role that makes the difference, but their relationship with the child.

Children are no different to us. Just because an adult tells them they’ll be okay, it doesn’t mean they’ll feel it or believe it. What they need is to be given time to actually experience the person as being safe, supportive and ready to catch them.

Relationship is key. The need for safety through relationship isn’t an ‘anxiety thing’. It’s a ‘human thing’. When we feel closer to the people around us, we can rise above the mountains in our way. When we feel someone really caring about us, we’re more likely to open up to their influence
and learn from them.

But we have to be patient. Even for teachers with big hearts and who undertand the importance of attachment relationships, it can take time.

Any adult at school can play an important part in helping a child feel safe – as long as that adult is loving, warm, and willing to do the work to connect with that child. It might be the librarian, the counsellor, the office person, a teacher aide. It doesn’t matter who, as long as it is someone who can be available for that child at dropoff or when feelings get big during the day and do little check-ins along the way.

A teacher, or any important adult can make a lasting difference by asking, ‘How do I build my relationship with this child so s/he trusts me when I say, ‘I’ve got you, and I know you can do this.’♥️
There is a beautiful ‘everythingness’ in all of us. The key to living well is being able to live flexibly and more deliberately between our edges.

So often though, the ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’ we inhale in childhood and as we grow, lead us to abandon some of those precious, needed parts of us. ‘Don’t be angry/ selfish/ shy/ rude. She’s not a maths person.’ ‘Don’t argue.’ Ugh.

Let’s make sure our children don’t cancel parts of themselves. They are everything, but not always all at once. They can be anxious and brave. Strong and soft. Angry and calm. Big and small. Generous and self-ish. Some things they will find hard, and they can do hard things. None of these are wrong ways to be. What trips us up is rigidity, and only ever responding from one side of who we can be.

We all have extremes or parts we favour. This is what makes up the beautiful, complex, individuality of us. We don’t need to change this, but the more we can open our children to the possibility in them, the more options they will have in responding to challenges, the everyday, people, and the world. 

We can do this by validating their ‘is’ without needing them to be different for a while in the moment, and also speaking to the other parts of them when we can. 

‘Yes maths is hard, and I know you can do hard things. How can I help?’

‘I can see how anxious you feel. That’s so okay. I also know you have brave in you.’

‘I love your ‘big’ and the way you make us laugh. You light up the room.’ And then at other times: ‘It can be hard being in a room with new people can’t it. It’s okay to be quiet. I could see you taking it all in.’

‘It’s okay to want space from people. Sometimes you just want your things and yourself for yourself, hey. I feel like that sometimes too. I love the way you know when you need this.’ And then at other times, ‘You looked like you loved being with your friends today. I loved watching you share.’

The are everything, but not all at once. Our job is to help them live flexibly and more deliberately between the full range of who they are and who they can be: anxious/brave; kind/self-ish; focussed inward/outward; angry/calm. This will take time, and there is no hurry.♥️
For our kids and teens, the new year will bring new adults into their orbit. With this, comes new opportunities to be brave and grow their courage - but it will also bring anxiety. For some kiddos, this anxiety will feel so big, but we can help them feel bigger.

The antidote to a felt sense of threat is a felt sense of safety. As long as they are actually safe, we can facilitate this by nurturing their relationship with the important adults who will be caring for them, whether that’s a co-parent, a stepparent, a teacher, a coach. 

There are a number of ways we can facilitate this:

- Use the name of their other adult (such as a teacher) regularly, and let it sound loving and playful on your voice.
- Let them see that you have an open, willing heart in relation to the other adult.
- Show them you trust the other adult to care for them (‘I know Mrs Smith is going to take such good care of you.’)
- Facilitate familiarity. As much as you can, hand your child to the same person when you drop them off.

It’s about helping expand their village of loving adults. The wider this village, the bigger their world in which they can feel brave enough. 

For centuries before us, it was the village that raised children. Parenting was never meant to be done by one or two adults on their own, yet our modern world means that this is how it is for so many of us. 

We can bring the village back though - and we must - by helping our kiddos feel safe, known, and held by the adults around them. We need this for each other too.

The need for safety through relationship isn’t an ‘anxiety thing’. It’s a ‘human thing’. When we feel closer to the people around us, we can rise above the mountains that block our way.♥️

That power of felt safety matters for all relationships - parent and child; other adult and child; parent and other adult. It all matters. 

A teacher, or any important adult in the life of a child, can make a lasting difference by asking, ‘How do I build my relationship with this child (and their parent) so s/he trusts me when I say, ‘I’ve got you, I care about you, and I know you can do this.’♥️
Approval, independence, autonomy, are valid needs for all of us. When a need is hungry enough we will be driven to meet it however we can. For our children, this might look like turning away from us and towards others who might be more ready to meet the need, or just taking.

If they don’t feel they can rest in our love, leadership, approval, they will seek this more from peers. There is no problem with this, but we don’t want them solely reliant on peers for these. It can make them vulnerable to making bad decisions, so as not to lose the approval or ‘everythingness’ of those peers.

If we don’t give enough freedom, they might take that freedom through defiance, secrecy, the forbidden. If we control them, they might seek more to control others, or to let others make the decisions that should be theirs.

All kids will mess up, take risks, keep secrets, and do things that baffle us sometimes. What’s important is, ‘Do they turn to us when they need to, enough?’ The ‘turning to’ starts with trusting that we are interested in supporting all their needs, not just the ones that suit us. Of course this doesn’t mean we will meet every need. It means we’ve shown them that their needs are important to us too, even though sometimes ours will be bigger (such as our need to keep them safe).

They will learn safe and healthy ways to meet their needs, by first having them met by us. This doesn’t mean granting full independence, full freedom, and full approval. What it means is holding them safely while also letting them feel enough of our approval, our willingness to support their independence, freedom, autonomy, and be heard on things that matter to them.

There’s no clear line with this. Some days they’ll want independence. Some days they won’t. Some days they’ll seek our approval. Some days they won’t care for it at all, especially if it means compromising the approval of peers. The challenge for us is knowing when to hold them closer and when to give space, when to hold the boundary and when to release it a little, when to collide and when to step out of the way. If we watch and listen, they will show us. And just like them, we won’t need to get it right all the time.♥️

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