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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Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
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#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
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#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

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