I went to my beginners Tango class yesterday. A nice lady, let’s call her Lara, partners up with me during the practice session and the first words that came out of her mouth were: “You’re scary”. Puzzled, I smiled and replied: “thanks for the compliment”. I had a feeling she wanted to say more. She continued: “I saw you dancing. You’re too good it’s actually scary dancing with you”. As flattered as I was, the truth of the matter is that I’m not that good at all! I’m a beginner, I was in a beginner’s class, dancing with beginner students, doing beginner Tango moves. Yet, Lara decided to ignore all the facts, came up with her own conclusions and chose to be afraid. Even with all my reassurance we still ended up having a clumsy, but admittedly amusing, dance which could’ve been much better for both of us be it she chose differently. To read more about how and why Lara’s mind ignored the facts, visit my next blog entry here.
What happened with my dancing partner is no stranger to many of us. Whether it is the fear of commitment, changing careers, success, public speaking, rejection etc. Similar to Lara’s fear of dancing with me, I’ve coached many guys who had a fear of rejection when it came to the opposite sex. Just like Lara, these men came up with their own rationalisations. That the lady they wanted to talk to is not going to be nice and that she’ll shoot them down embarrassing them in front of everyone. 90% of the time when I push them to get over their worry and initiate a conversation, the lady would turn out to be very friendly and happy to talk. It’s a common theme in so many people’s lives: worrying about things that never happen.
Where does Lara’s fear of dancing with me, the men’s fear of approaching women and my fear of flying cockroaches come from? It doesn’t matter. What matters is to understand why we feel afraid and how we deal with it. Between Lara and the men I coached there is one thing in common. And that is, they didn’t feel good enough about themselves. And they worried about an outcome that never happened. This creates fear.
In her book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway Susan Jeffers shares 5 truths about fear that I encourage everyone to memorise:
1- The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
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 myself is to go out… and do it.
4- Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m 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.
I’m sure that we can all identify with every single one of these truths. Take a moment and remind yourself of specific times when you experienced these truths in your life. Now keep the 5 truths and the specific times you just remembered in an easily accessible place in your mind and refer to them every time you face a new or an old fear. They’ll serve as a reminder that you’ve felt the fear and done it anyway in the past, and that now you can do it again. Do that and I guarantee you’ll be well on your way to conquering your current fears. But also remember, as long as you continue to grow, the fear will never go away. This however is no longer a problem for you. Because now as you continue to grow, you have the ability to convert any new fears into sweet anticipation.
It’s important to note that if the fear you’re facing is too difficult to overcome on your own or you believe it is an irrational, that you consult with an NLP practitioner a hypnotherapist or any suitable therapist. There are tools and techniques that would rid you of your fears in a matter of minutes.
Finally I’d like to share with you the story of a friend of mine, let’s call her Jenny. Jenny is one of the most extroverted, social, outgoing, fun, intelligent people I’ve met in a while. When I first met her, she confessed to me her fear of dancing. But because she’s the ever-growing person that she is, she took it upon herself to join me during one of the Tango lessons. Jenny was determined to face her fear. We ended having such a great time and laughing so hard I was a bit worried the instructors were going to throw us out. But being her usual charming self, Jenny of course got the instructors to love her. She beat her fear of dancing and continued to do Tango lessons for a while. But we still can’t dance together, because every time we do, we end up laughing so hard and not dancing at all!
Until next time,
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