I See You. I Feel You. I Love You.
“Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up” ~Veronica Roth, Divergent
Living a life of small and big adventures every day, it may look like I do not experience fear. The truth is that there is still an underground rumbling of fear, doubt, uncertainty and anxiety with almost every step I take. Does that surprise you? It isn’t that I feel fear about getting out of bed in the morning or making my coffee or letting the dogs out to pee. But, the rest of my day is defined by the choices and decisions I make, and that is where the fear comes in: this wide, open chasm of infinite possibilities.
Here is the key I discovered on how to navigate fear. First step is to realize that we all have fear and doubt as part of the process of living. This is normal. There are unexpected things that happen every day and as a human being, I have labeled the unexpected as bad and good: “Shit happens”, and “My Life is Filled with Blessings.” Those ideas can bring up joy and fear. The tools I have learned to embrace in the navigation:
- Connect with fear, doubt, uncertainty and anxiety. Acknowledge it, instead of pushing it down. “I see you. I feel you. I love you.”
- Turn up my desire so high that it burns off the fear and I use it for ignition, accessing all the power that is tied up in fear. “What do I want?”
- Creating safety. That can mean arriving some place early to check out the location, researching an area online before I visit, slowing down and tuning in to how I feel about going somewhere. “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
- Divide the action into small steps. Set a structure in place. This can be a list and breaking down even the smallest, most obvious actions. “Wash face. Brush teeth. Get dressed. Leave house at 11 am”
- Take the steering wheel and put desire into the navigation seat. Desire will keep guiding. It will stir the embers until the thought of not taking action is greater than the fear. I drive, and desire is the cheerleader to ignite me. “You can do it. You can do it. You can do it.”
Now, come along with me, as I take you on a tour of one of my fears and desires. One of the things that scares me right now is publishing my next book. I have 12 books on Amazon and I have coached hundreds of women in writing a story. With all of that experience, why the fear? It doesn’t matter how many times I have done something, vulnerability is always there. I have never published this particular book, and even though I can draw on past experience, the experience of this book is unknown.
Jason Mraz is a successful singer and songwriter. At a leadership conference for teenagers, I heard him talk about how it doesn’t matter how successful the last album was; when you start writing again, vulnerability kicks in and you wonder if you can ever write another song. I have heard New York Times Bestselling authors say the same thing. Human experience is filled with fears and doubts, even if one has had success in the past.
Here is my process and how I support myself in the face of fear.
- Set up a timeline of details to complete
- A weekly and daily review of the timeline
- Dip my toe in vulnerability and build confidence with small steps
- Make friends with fear and doubt
Set up a timeline of details to complete the book, based on what I know about finishing and self-publishing a book. After setting up the timeline, I doubled the time I thought I needed. That gives me wiggle room for processing. Also, over the last six months, I have had several “soft launches” penciled in on the calendar. After writing for a few weeks last November, I was clearer about how much time I needed to write and process and edit. This is based on experience and intuition and fear disappears with the evidence of the past experiences.
A weekly review of the timeline. When I was six months away from the launch date, which was originally in June, I checked the timeline weekly. I did a ton of writing in March and April and then put it aside in May for a few weeks. There were some family events and I didn’t have clarity about Part II of the book. So, I did research and typed notes and wrote random paragraphs in each of the chapters in Part II. Then, I let it rest. At the beginning of June, I looked at the ideas with fresh eyes and I was ready. Since I was pointing the timeline at the end of June, I changed it and recommitted to July 22. Now, that felt right, and I believed it was possible.
A daily review of the timeline: This is where the fear really increases. A few times a day, I have a wave of fear. I doubt that I can finish the book. I criticize myself for telling people I was writing a book. I pause and feel it. Refocusing on the end date, I feel the desire. What will it feel like when I see the book is on Amazon? I get excited and I know I can do this. There are always bumps in the road with the vision and writing. Feeling the excitement, I know this is possible. Connecting with desire and my intuition, I know I can do this!
Build confidence with small steps. A few months ago, I was looking at some photos I took in Venice, California and one of them popped out as an inspiration for the book cover. I looked at the photo for a few days. Then, I shared it with my three daughters. One of them immediately said, “I love it!” Having one person say they liked it built some confidence. I kept the photo visible for another few weeks while I was writing. Then, I sent it to the graphic artist who was going to create the book cover. I asked her if the photo had the right dimensions, etc…, and would it work. She said yes and that she loved it. By sharing this, I feel the vulnerability and little by little, with a few people who see and agree with my vision, I can begin to share it even more. I am not trying to get everyone to like me or like the book cover. Knowing it resonates with some of my closest, “safe” people strengthens the positive, so I can handle the criticism.
Make friends with the fear and doubts. One more thought. After hosting hundreds of radio shows on the internet, I am still nervous and fearful as the show is beginning. That feeling is perfect. I like to think of the fear as excitement and a feeling of bubbling pleasure. The butterflies in my stomach and the fluttering of my heart keeps me connected and sparkly and sharp. It raises the adrenaline which raises the energy and vibration.
Fear is another way to feel alive. Embrace it and go for what you want to experience!
Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey by Andrea Hylen will be available on Amazon, July 22, 2018: Paperback and Kindle version