5 Things Successful Women do Differently – #2 They do it afraid!

We are continuing our series – 5 Things Successful Women do Differently. This series is based on five things I shared with my niece during a recent conversation we had about success.  I told her to become successful she will need to follow a proven formula.  Since success leaves clues, the formula wouldn’t be hard to decipher.  Last week, we talked about belief.  Today we’re going to talk about doing it afraid!

The Second thing that successful women do differently – They do it afraid!

Underneath your fears lie great opportunities.

I know… That quote sounds annoyingly corny, but it is true! I used to roll my eyes when I’d hear self help gurus make statements like that. I mean really… DUH! Don’t tell me what I already know.  Instead, tell me how to get there!

In my 7 Secrets of a Confident Woman Series, I described fear in the following way:

There are fundamentally two kinds of fear: Rational or Good fear and Irrational or Bad fear.

Rational fear causes you to look to the left and to the right before crossing the street. This kind of fear is able to give you common sense to keep you away from danger. That’s the rational kind. It’s rooted in our animal instinct of pure and absolute protection of our self and our tribe. Rational fear ensures self preservation.

Then there’s irrational fear. The fear that creates the same kind of physical sensation you get from rational fear: increased heart rate, blood flow to the extremities and rapid short breath. Except, irrational fear is rooted in the- “what ifs!” “What if blahblahblah happens?” What if? What if? What if?

Fear is only a feeling.

It’s important to understand that fear is only a feeling and your feelings are the portal to the outside world. We experience life though our feelings. Hence feelings are neither good or bad, they are simply the outward expression of our thoughts and beliefs.  Once we understand our feelings, it changes our perception.

Fear is neither good or bad, but it is vital to our survival.  This sensation has only one purpose – protect!  Fear warns us of impending danger and creates a series of physiological reactions to allow us to escape.  Reactions such as increased heart rate, blood flow, and adrenaline prepare our bodies to do one thing – RUN!

If fear is not the problem, then what is?  It’s our belief! The way we interpret a thought or situation is what creates the feeling.  For example, when you think of public speaking, if you liken the audience to a firing squad; it’s an execution.  You will be terrified!  Who wants to die? However, if you liken the same audience to a cheering squad, it’s no longer an execution.  Instead, it’s a celebration!

3 ways successful women face their fears:

  1. Embrace it! When we judge our fear or push it away, we’re rejecting a part of ourselves that’s feeling threatened. Fear desperately wants to be heard. What would it be like if you actually listened to what it had to say instead of pushing it away?  Just by identifying your fear, it will start to deflate.  The next time you feel afraid, close your eyes, take 3 deep breaths and listen.  Fear just wants to be heard.
  2. Challenge the thought or belief! Now that you’ve given your fear permission to share what’s going on in your subconscious mind, investigate it further. Determine where you feel the tension in your body and put your hand there.  Then, ask your fear this question; what if everything you’re warning me about came true, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Stop and listen for an answer.  Get as specific as you can. Once you understand the reasoning behind your fear, take your decision-making power back into your own hands. Use this valuable information to decide what you want to do about the story behind the fear. Do you want to accept it or do you want to reject it? Now that fear is not in control, the choice is yours!
  3. Step out with it! Fear is ultimately a path to greater freedom. It’s a way to know ourselves better, to push beyond the possible, and to change the stories that hold us back from being who we really are. Learning to step out with your fear takes practice.Treat yourself with kindness in the process. Fear might just have some great things in store for you once you decide to invite it in for a cup of coffee so you can get to know each other a little better. From now on, when ever fear comes knocking, don’t close the door instead, step out with it!

In conclusion…

If you’re not at least a little afraid every day then that indicates you don’t care enough about failing, about connecting, and about living life to the fullest. Too often we look at other successful women ODs and wish we could be more like them because they seem to have nothing to fear. But that’s not true.

The most successful people are the ones with the most to fear.  They put themselves out there so many times that failure is not just a possibility, it is imminent.  Not everything everyone creates succeeds. For example, not every song Michael Jackson or even Elvis Presley released into the world was a #1 hit! But that never stopped them from creating more.

So, yes, the odds of failure get higher every time you step out to do something.  That’s good because it should be. Embrace your fear because it means you’re taking chances and creating when others are stalling and giving up.

Remember, the goal is not to get rid of fear but to embrace it. It is normal to be afraid; it just means you are human. However, you do not have to be paralyzed by fear.  Instead, do what successful women do when they’re afraid, step out with it!

Next week, we will talk about habit #3 – Why you should take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually.

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