Ever since I started coaching on the subject of fear, I’ve been challenged to succinctly identify the reasons behind why someone chooses to explore fear.
I’ve told my own story, to help illustrate how I came to want to master fear in my life. And I’ve done the reflection of asking myself and my clients (the brave souls who did find resonation with what I’ve said about fear thus far).
The biggest common denominator with many of them (myself included) was that before I found a pathway through the proverbial fear wilderness, I had a suspicion that fear was behind a lot of the stuff I did, that I didn’t want to do anymore.
So I put my stake down into that ground and have flown a flag there ever since.
I even said it out loud, to the lastest brave soul who has decided to take this journey with me. I confirmed with her that deciding the right angle or words to use when talking with people about why they would want to work with me on their fear continues to challenge me. Even she brought forward that, after she experienced working together in some other areas (getting her tech-savvy on), she had come to realize a connection to fear in her own life and that it was somehow holding her back where she wanted to move forward.
I think since we had a pre-existing relationship, it was easy for me to be vulnerably honest and say it right out loud to her, “I do not know how to say this… at all. I will confirm for you though that, most have a precognition that fear is at the bottom, somewhere, and they are ready to begin taking a closer look at this.”
It’s funny, that saying that goes “Be careful what you ask for.” Although, I would underemphasize the “be careful” part for my point here, I think that since I’ve been asking for clarity, it has started to come.
And here it is.
One reason you might be thinking about looking more closely at fear is because you want to change your default position. Let me explain what I mean by default position.
What It Is
So we grow up, right? We have parents and life experiences that condition us. We have a world, reflecting back to us. In the reflection, we can find and see whatever it is we might be looking for. Because to put it simply, what we focus on, expands (more on this later).
So your default position is comprised of many of these influences. And then as adults, we now have an automatic way of showing up in the world that draws from our life experiences and conditioning, beliefs, etc.
What is your automatic way of showing up? If you begin to ask yourself this question, the answer you arrive at will point at your default position. They are essentially one in the same.
Now, if you are thinking about this question for the first time and are like, (snap snap snap)… my default position is __________________, please consider giving yourself some time to really contemplate the question. Otherwise, your default position is likely calling the shots and I’ll put money down that you are not getting at an authentic answer.
I say this because in my experience of talking to people about fear, what it is and how it shows up… many people reply almost instantly (without even thinking) “I’m not afraid. Fear? Oh that’s nice. I don’t need you because the problems you help people solve do not ail me.” And my thoughts are, “That was the answer from their default position.” A position that usually is about covering up the feeling that you might not be enough, just the way you are.
Smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, rich enough. You get it. What’s your enough? It’s another really great question to ponder as it can reveal to you more about your automatic way of showing up.
The other bit of clarity I’m coming across is the idea of filters. Just at arms length away from your default position, are the filters that you process information through. When your boss says something to you, it passes through a filter. When you say something to someone, it passes through a filter.
Again, one of the reasons you would want to look at working with me is that you see value in looking at and shifting those filters. Remember, that what you focus on, expands. It’s natural.
Here’s how it works: right now, in this moment, I want you NOT to think about a large purple elephant. Whatever you do, do not think about a large purple elephant. Got it?
See if you can not think about a purple elephant for the next 10 seconds.
Alright, chances are you are chuckling a bit because you are brave enough to admit there is no way you cannot NOT think about a purple elephant. Your attention was brought to it and by simply saying “don’t think about it” you cannot, not think about it.
Life works much the same way. Your mind will offer its thoughts and opinions about what your default position might be in an instant. What is more important is to reflect on what it might be more deeply. And you want to do this because you understand there is a difference between the constant babble of self-talk versus a deeper introspective type of thought. You do this because, if it’s true that what we focus on expands, knowing what your default position is and your filters become exceedingly important to living the life you want versus just going through the motions.
And so here it is. You will want to take this journey into looking more closely at your fear because you want to change your default position. You will want to take this journey into looking at your fear more closely because you want to change your filters. Because you recognize that if your filters primarily process information like this, “I’ve got to watch out. Someone may think I’m doing this wrong. I might get yelled at. I might get reprimanded, or ridiculed. Others might think I’m stupid or incompetent which I must avoid having them think at all costs…” That is fear my friend. That is what fear sounds like.
And now just take a moment and ask yourself how you want your life to be… and if those filters are helping you get there?
Here’s a tip: getting there doesn’t have to be full of a ton of action effort. OK Hercules? You can set down the earth now.
Getting there starts with simple, easy, baby steps… like checking out your filters and seeing if you are willing to tell yourself what your default position is… is it based in fear?
Where we’re going is the opposite of fear. At least, where I’m going is. And those brave souls who desire for something different in our world. They are going there too. And the place to start is with the person in the mirror and understanding what your default position is and what filters are in place holding it there.
Default positions. Filters. Fear.