Like most people, I’m no stranger to fear. And to be honest with you, fear has gripped me a lot during the past few years. Leaving all that I knew as a long-termer in the Corporate world to embark on a journey that would not only change my career, but my relationships, how I live, my income, and what I thought I knew about myself. There have been plenty of times that I’ve stopped and asked myself “What in the world am I doing?”. Add on top of that starting a business and learning things I had no clue about before, has had my comfort zone perpetually in motion, going up and down as if I were riding a horse carousel…although a roller coaster ride would probably describe it even better!
I often hear a fear-related response when people learn what I do and that it involves horses. Quite often it’s reflected in the words, “Oh, but I couldn’t, I’m deathly afraid of horses”. I get it. Horses can make lots of people uncomfortable – they’re big and they’re strong and sometimes unpredictable. Heck, horses have pushed me outside of my comfort zone more times than I can tell you. And yet, by pushing through a fear of one horse in particular, I have learned a tremendous amount about myself. Besides the passion I have for what I do, that one horse has been the largest factor for where I am today – pursuing my dreams. But what if I’d let fear grip me instead?
The bigger question becomes, and this is not only about horses but rather anything else imaginable, what are the thoughts behind the fear? What is the story we tell ourselves that keeps us trapped from moving forward? What can be learned from challenging ourselves to overcome our fears?
What would you need to know about your fear, the knowing of which would change the outcome?
Fear story telling doesn’t stop with horses, however. We have lots of stories we tell ourselves and allow to get in our way. They generally involve our future and create a dialogue in our head, driving us crazy with ‘what if scenarios’. We scare ourselves with these, allowing them to zap our energy, create anxiety and paralyze us from being our best. So where does our fear stem from? Let’s take a deeper look.
Fear often fits into three categories which can span lots of areas including relationships, career, and reputation:
1) Fear of failure
2) Fear of success
3) Fear of change
To overcome fear, it’s important to understand the core feelings driving it. Pick any fear currently consuming you. Which of the above fits? What are the thoughts behind them, and what past experiences might also be feeding those beliefs? Perhaps some of them are conscious, with many more being unconscious. By exploring the thoughts behind the thoughts you can begin to dissect the fear, its grip on your life and the way it keeps you from what you need and want to do. In fact, in an earlier blog I shared one such story.
The irony about working with horses is that when people are willing to step into their fear long enough to experience them, in the right setting that is, they realize that they’re not so big, bad and scary as their thoughts may have led them to believe. And for those able to allow themselves that opportunity, a horses’ natural intuitiveness can provide deeper insight into how their fears may be limiting other areas of their life, at work and at home.
Would horses offer a new learning opportunity for you? You won’t know until you try. One thing is certain, the outcome won’t always be known but you will be able to add it to your experiences. After all, it’s those experiences that shape who we are, what we do, and how we do them.
Three years ago I wouldn’t have written this blog for fear that I’d be exposing myself, that perhaps I didn’t write well enough or wasn’t bold enough to post it. And if fear had been given its way, than perhaps I wouldn’t have the opportunity to influence even one person to rethink what’s limiting their life.
When you move beyond what frightens you, you’ll witness a new world, one with fresh perspectives, hope, confidence, promise and growth. Today, what is it that’s keeping you from being there?