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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For way too long, there’s been an idea that discipline has to make kids feel bad if it’s going to steer them away from bad choices. But my gosh we’ve been so wrong. 

The idea is a hangover from behaviourism, which built its ideas on studies done with animals. When they made animals scared of something, the animal stopped being drawn to that thing. It’s where the idea of punishment comes from - if we punish kids, they’ll feel scared or bad, and they’ll stop doing that thing. Sounds reasonable - except children aren’t animals. 

The big difference is that children have a frontal cortex (thinking brain) which animals and other mammals don’t have. 

All mammals have a feeling brain so they, like us, feel sad, scared, happy - but unlike us, they don’t feel shame. The reason animals stop doing things that make them feel bad is because on a primitive, instinctive level, that thing becomes associated with pain - so they stay away. There’s no deliberate decision making there. It’s raw instinct. 

With a thinking brain though, comes incredibly sophisticated capacities for complex emotions (shame), thinking about the past (learning, regret, guilt), the future (planning, anxiety), and developing theories about why things happen. When children are shamed, their theories can too easily build around ‘I get into trouble because I’m bad.’ 

Children don’t need to feel bad to do better. They do better when they know better, and when they feel calm and safe enough in their bodies to access their thinking brain. 

For this, they need our influence, but we won’t have that if they are in deep shame. Shame drives an internal collapse - a withdrawal from themselves, the world and us. For sure it might look like compliance, which is why the heady seduction with its powers - but we lose influence. We can’t teach them ways to do better when they are thinking the thing that has to change is who they are. They can change what they do - they can’t change who they are. 

Teaching (‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘How can you put this right?’) and modelling rather than punishing or shaming, is the best way to grow beautiful little humans into beautiful big ones.

#parenting
Sometimes needs will come into being like falling stars - gently fading in and fading out. Sometimes they will happen like meteors - crashing through the air with force and fury. But they won’t always look like needs. Often they will look like big, unreachable, unfathomable behaviour. 

If needs and feelings are too big for words, they will speak through behaviour. Behaviour is the language of needs and feelings, and it is always a call for us to come closer. Big feelings happen as a way to recruit support to help carry an emotional load that feels too big for our kids and teens. We can help with this load by being a strong, calm, loving presence, and making space for that feeling or need to be ‘heard’. 

When big behaviour or big feelings are happening, whenever you can be curious about the need behind it. There will always be a valid one. Meet them where they without needing them to be different. Breathe, validate, and be with, and you don’t need to do more than that. 

Part of building resilience is recognising that some days and some things are rubbish, and that sometimes those days and things last for longer than they should, but we get through. First we feel floored, then we feel stuck, then we shift because the only choices we have we have are to stay down or move, even when moving hurts. Then, eventually we adjust - either ourselves, the problem, or to a new ‘is’. 

But the learning comes from experience. They can’t learn to manage big feelings unless they have big feelings. They can’t learn to read the needs behind their feelings if they don’t have the space to let those big feelings come back to small enough so the needs behind them can step forward. 

When their world has spikes, and when we give them a soft space to ‘be’, we ventilate their world. We help them find room for their out breath, and for influence, and for their wisdom to grow from their experiences and ours. In the end we have no choice. They will always be stronger and bigger and wiser and braver when they are with you, than when they are without. It’s just how it is.♥️
When kids or teens have big feelings, what they need more than anything is our strong, safe, loving presence. In those moments, it’s less about what we do in response to those big feelings, and more about who we are. Think of this like providing a shelter and gentle guidance for their distressed nervous system to help it find its way home, back to calm. 

Big feelings are the way the brain calls for support. It’s as though it’s saying, ‘This emotional load is too big for me to carry on my own. Can you help me carry it?’ 

Every time we meet them where they are, with a calm loving presence, we help those big feelings back to small enough. We help them carry the emotional load and build the emotional (neural) muscle for them to eventually be able to do it on their own. We strengthen the neural pathways between big feelings and calm, over and over, until that pathway is so clear and so strong, they can walk it on their own. 

Big beautiful neural pathways will let them do big, beautiful things - courage, resilience, independence, self regulation. Those pathways are only built through experience, so before children and teens can do any of this on their own, they’ll have to walk the pathway plenty of times with a strong, calm loving adult. Self-regulation only comes from many experiences of co-regulation. 

When they are calm and connected to us, then we can have the conversations that are growthful for them - ‘Can you help me understand what happened?’ ‘What can help you so this differently next time?’ ‘How can you put things right? Do you need my help to do that?’ We grow them by ‘doing with’ them♥️
Big feelings, and the big behaviour that comes from big feelings, are a sign of a distressed nervous system. Think of this like a burning building. The behaviour is the smoke. The fire is a distressed nervous system. It’s so tempting to respond directly to the behaviour (the smoke), but by doing this, we ignore the fire. Their behaviour and feelings in that moment are a call for support - for us to help that distressed brain and body find the way home. 

The most powerful language for any nervous system is another nervous system. They will catch our distress (as we will catch theirs) but they will also catch our calm. It can be tempting to move them to independence on this too quickly, but it just doesn’t work this way. Children can only learn to self-regulate with lots (and lots and lots) of experience co-regulating. 

This isn’t something that can be taught. It’s something that has to be experienced over and over. It’s like so many things - driving a car, playing the piano - we can talk all we want about ‘how’ but it’s not until we ‘do’ over and over that we get better at it. 

Self-regulation works the same way. It’s not until children have repeated experiences with an adult bringing them back to calm, that they develop the neural pathways to come back to calm on their own. 

An important part of this is making sure we are guiding that nervous system with tender, gentle hands and a steady heart. This is where our own self-regulation becomes important. Our nervous systems speak to each other every moment of every day. When our children or teens are distressed, we will start to feel that distress. It becomes a loop. We feel what they feel, they feel what we feel. Our own capacity to self-regulate is the circuit breaker. 

This can be so tough, but it can happen in microbreaks. A few strong steady breaths can calm our own nervous system, which we can then use to calm theirs. Breathe, and be with. It’s that simple, but so tough to do some days. When they come back to calm, then have those transformational chats - What happened? What can make it easier next time?

Who you are in the moment will always be more important than what you do.
How we are with them, when they are their everyday selves and when they aren’t so adorable, will build their view of three things: the world, its people, and themselves. This will then inform how they respond to the world and how they build their very important space in it. 

Will it be a loving, warm, open-hearted space with lots of doors for them to throw open to the people and experiences that are right for them? Or will it be a space with solid, too high walls that close out too many of the people and experiences that would nourish them.

They will learn from what we do with them and to them, for better or worse. We don’t teach them that the world is safe for them to reach into - we show them. We don’t teach them to be kind, respectful, and compassionate. We show them. We don’t teach them that they matter, and that other people matter, and that their voices and their opinions matter. We show them. We don’t teach them that they are little joy mongers who light up the world. We show them. 

But we have to be radically kind with ourselves too. None of this is about perfection. Parenting is hard, and days will be hard, and on too many of those days we’ll be hard too. That’s okay. We’ll say things we shouldn’t say and do things we shouldn’t do. We’re human too. Let’s not put pressure on our kiddos to be perfect by pretending that we are. As long as we repair the ruptures as soon as we can, and bathe them in love and the warmth of us as much as we can, they will be okay.

This also isn’t about not having boundaries. We need to be the guardians of their world and show them where the edges are. But in the guarding of those boundaries we can be strong and loving, strong and gentle. We can love them, and redirect their behaviour.

It’s when we own our stuff(ups) and when we let them see us fall and rise with strength, integrity, and compassion, and when we hold them gently through the mess of it all, that they learn about humility, and vulnerability, and the importance of holding bruised hearts with tender hands. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistency, and honesty, and the way we respond to them the most.♥️

#parenting #mindfulparenting

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