Personal Development



Chapter XXIX – Experience the F.E.A.R. and do it Anyways

I am Jude. Everyone is plagued by fears. 

In this case, however, I’m not referring to our individual phobias of snakes, spiders or circus clowns. That’s a whole other blog post. Instead, I’m referring to the F.E.A.R. of becoming more. 

It is completely imagined, but many times feels just as terrifying or real.

FEAR vs F.E.A.R 

Fear is defined as an intensely unpleasant emotion, real or imagined, caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. It serves an important role in keeping us safe by triggering physiological and emotional changes that prepare us to cope with potential dangers.

Here’s the problem. The feelings people experience in the face of taking action to achieve their dreams, goals or growth in their personal lives, are usually not true fear. Rather what’s being experienced is F.E.A.R. It’s something different but no less powerful. 

F.E.A.R. is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. It’s present when there’s no true threat of immediate physical danger or imminent loss but we experience some of the same big emotions. 

F.E.A.R. is an illusion. Something we conjure in our own minds. It’s a self-limiting fairy tale we tell ourselves that keeps us from doing what we really want.

The common label for F.E.A.R is anxiety, an emotion that arises purely from our own thoughts, not an external reality.

F.E.A.R. distorts our thinking, limits our opportunities for growth and development and often results in ‘life paralysis’.  

It’s the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect. It’s also all the dreams that we don’t follow because of our deep fear of failing, making mistakes, and disappointing others. 

Brené Brown

We stay in jobs that make us unwell, tolerate relationships that are toxic and avoid new experiences, relationships and challenges. Many times, it’s seems easier to accept our current circumstances and complain rather than to confront our fears and begin making decisions that lead to better outcomes. 

How can we conquer our F.E.A.R.?

You overcome F.EA.R. by employing strategies that alleviate your anxiety and provide you with perspective. You combat it by increasing your confidence, self-awareness and by becoming more mindful.  

It is important to establish your purpose. Your WHY will provide you with direction and inspire your efforts to Be Better. This internal compass will steer you through adversity, self-doubt, failure and disappointment. 

We need to identify our core values and strive to be authentic. Knowing who we are and living a life aligned with what we believe encourages us to challenges all of our imagined F.E.A.R.’s

Adopt a growth mindset, understand that failure precedes success and always demonstrate an over-indulgence in self-compassion.

Life coaching, counselling and my self-directed inner work are helping me realize my personal fears and how they have been hiding in plain sight. 

Just imagine what you can accomplish if you confront uncertainty, take on new challenges and welcome the unknown. Who could you be if you overcome your F.E.A.R.?

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting

I continue to seek out new learning opportunities to increase my network and knowledge base. I am exploring ways to connect with others, increase my coaching competency and develop my life coaching business.

I am finding topical online events on Eventbrite, Facebook and Linkedn meeting new people and engaging in some meaningful discussions.

Last week I co-facilitated an information session for the African Nova Scotian community on Life Coaching. It was the first time that I have spoken publicly about my ongoing journey to become a professional life coach.

For me, it was an overwhelming success. I had the opportunity to work collaboratively with an accredited life coach, I gained valuable experience with the subject matter and I shared the transformational benefits of coaching with members of my community. 

It confirmed that I am right where I am supposed to be. The journey continues……

Special shout-out to Shauna Thomas and Self Love Transformation Professional Life Coaching. Thanks for all of your support. Your encouragement and assistance have been invaluable. 

Your Next Best Read – Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari 

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Some were living together simultaneously. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. Say what?

I am curious about evolution and prehistory so the book was immediately appealing to me. 

It poses some thought-provoking questions such as why did we(homo sapiens) win out over other species and what ecological havoc have we unleashed on the world since. The author suggests that: 

Sapiens are ecological serial killers – even with stone-age tools, our ancestors wiped out half the planet’s large terrestrial mammals well before the advent of agriculture.

Yuval Noah Harari 

Everywhere we have emigrated as humans, we have upset the balance and have sowed the seeds of extinction for natural habitats and the plants and animals who lived there. 

It describes the conditions and consequences of the three major revolutions that shaped human history. The Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago).

It also provided a myriad of unique facts. For instance, 

Did you know each year the United States population spends more money on diets than the amount needed to feed all the hungry in the rest of the world; and that the last ‘hobbit-like’ dwarf species of humans only died out about 50,000 years ago?

It describes the evolution of money. The creation of money was purely an intellectual invention that doesn’t exist except in our imagination. It is a myth. Yet money is the only thing people trust. 

More than 90 percent of all money is just electronic data. A Canadian banking note, like the Viola Desmond ten dollar bill, only has value because we collectively believe that it does. 

Some other assertions that grabbed my attention are:

  • Capitalism is a religion rather than just an economic theory – and it is the most successful religion to date.
  • The treatment of animals in modern agriculture may turn out to be the worst crime in history.
  • Individualism was fostered by states and markets as a way of breaking up families and communities.
  • We have access to unimaginable technology and are far more powerful than our ancestors, but we aren’t much happier.

Lots to consider. This was another phenomenal read…..

Photo by Joy Yu on Unsplash

What’s Good – Positive Reflections

Spring is in the air. There are more and more indications of its arrival.

I have been paying close attention to the slow steady change of seasons. My morning walks have become highly anticipated adventures. I have been eagerly waiting and watching for any signs over the past number of weeks – and I have been handsomely rewarded. 

I have seen two baby geese and their protective parents make a pond on the golf course their temporary home. More and more buds, shoots and seasonal plants are emerging after the cold.

There are new calls from migrating birds returning from their winter vacations and a flurry of activity as they prepare new accommodations for the summer months.

Just yesterday I noticed a cricket on the ground and observed a group of insects coupling and uncoupling in mid air.

Even the sun feels different. It arriving earlier, hanging around later in the evenings and is  already becoming much more intense.

To be honest, spring is starting to challenge summer as my favorite season. I like what spring represents. Rebirth. Renewal. Arrival. Awakening. Those concepts resonate with me. 

I encourage you to get outside and look for the subtle seasonal changes that we generally take for granted. It’s quite remarkable and well worth it. 

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Public Announcement

Sometimes we do shitty things that have harmful consequences. We can lose control of all reason and rationality, and in that moment, everything can change. 

Big emotions can result in poor decision-making and at times, lead to unfortunate circumstances, hurtful words and inappropriate actions. 

We all make mistakes and some of them are significant. The flex is that we also have complete control over how we interpret and respond to these situations. 

It is our job to be accountable, learn the appropriate lessons and make the relevant adjustments. 

In the past, I would respond with avoidance, denial or convenient justifications. However, these flimsy self-serving rationales haven’t served me well in the past and I can’t imagine they will find any better results in the future. 

Consequently something has to change!

Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

I am choosing to take full responsibility for negative behaviours and misdeeds. I am seeking to deconstruct my problem thinking and become more mindful moving forward. 

However, I refuse to continue identifying with failure. Failure is an outcome not a trait. It’s not part of who you are, unless you allow it to become a chapter in your internal narrative. 

Instead, I am trying to acknowledge when I fall short, understand what went wrong and find ways to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I’m not allowing it to define me. I am viewing every blunder and setback, as a learning moment. Not an indictment on who I am. 

I am no longer just going through experiences – good or bad. I am making every effort to grow through them. I am dismissing shame, guilt and blame and am choosing to practice curiousity, understanding and self-compassion. 

Why did you fail? Where is the lesson? How can you grow from this? What were the contributing factors? What positive outcomes can you create? These are the questions I am asking myself. 

Life is humbling. Just when you think you have a handle on it. You realize you don’t. 

It reminds you that the process of unbecoming and being a better person is serious business. It presents unexpected challenges and requires you to demonstrate that you are living aligned with your professed values – or not. 

I believe that the universe purposely provides challenges to test our convictions. When you inevitably fail, it provides you with valuable opportunities to self-reflect, take an inventory and utilize these insights to Break Free and Be Better. 

It creates the perfect conditions for change. 

Most often any meaningful success is preceded by failure. My work continues. I am Jude. 

Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash

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