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Don't let your fear stop you

What does fear DO ? When you feel fear, does it stop you in your tracks?

Yesterday, a woman told me that she has a secret dream. It's a dream that she has always cherished and hopes and wishes that one day (someday!) it will come true. It's a dream of a business she wants to (sooner or later) launch.

Unfortunately, whenever she tries to bring this dream in to the bright light of day - BOOM!

Fear rears it's calamitous head and away her dre am retires, back to the safe and dark recesses of her heart. Then the fear recedes. Whew!

When you feel fear, does it make you run?

Another dynamic person I know is not paralyzed by his fear. In fact, quite the opposite: fear spurs him to action. His fear abates only when he is throwing himself headlong into literally dozens of projects.

Fear pops up - BOOM!

Another project or two is taken on. When the overwhelming load of too many projects suddenly tips into overload (as it naturally must), fear comes knocking.

The answer?

Another project! Whew!

Some of us are stopped by fear. Some of us run around in panic. What is it all about?

How can we reach our goals when we are

a) paralyzed

b) running around in panic? What tools and strategies are at our disposal to deal EFFECTIVELY with fear?

Today I offer you a metaphor for fear that is really accurate and helpful. And then I tell you why the metaphor isn't true, and how you shouldn't use it.

Fear is a dragon that guards your treasure

Picture your fear as a big powerful protective dragon whose sole purpose is to guard your treasure. Unfortunately, the fear-dragon has a very primitive mind that can only focus on one task:

Protect the treasure! Its dragon brain cannot make the distinction that your treasure does NOT need protecting from YOU!

(By the way, perhaps you've forgotten that you HAVE treasure. Oh yes. You do. Your treasure is all the ideas, energy, enthusiasm, motivation, resources, brilliance, talent, originality, passion, clarity and courage that you will ever need to live an extraordinary life. Don't fret if you have misplaced your treasure and can't recall where it is kept.

Fortunately, there is a big powerful protective dragon sitting on it. Find the fear and know that directly on the other side is your treasure, waiting to be claimed.)

So that's what fear does. It sits on your treasure and breaths fire whenever you come near it. Its tactic is that you are

a) paralyzed or

b) running around in panic and have no ability to come looting.

This metaphor of the fear-dragon is true and helpful in an important way. It's something that I coach many clients around: The best stuff - the stuff you want and need is just on the other side of your fear.

I always am thrilled when a client says "help, I'm stuck!" or "this obstacle is too much" and "I can't do it, I'm scared". Because I know for certain that we are on top of the treasure.

Now forget everything I just told you about that fear-dragon.

Here's why the dragon-as-fear metaphor is not true or helpful. How are we conditioned to respond when confronted by a dragon? What has every fairy tale, movie, and bedtime story told us about dealing with dragons?

Strap on the (shining) armor, wield the sword, be a brave knight and SLAY the dragon! Oops.

That's where the metaphor falls down. I'm going to tell you a truth now, that I really, really want you to hear, so listen up: You will never ever ever win a battle with fear. Once you engage in a struggle with fear, you have already lost.

Fear wants you to spend your energy and resources on the battle, so that you lose focus on your goals, on your heart's desire, on your success, on your purpose.

Don't fight fear, it won't work. You can't win a fight with fear. You have lost the moment you begin.

To bring this tale to its rightful end, let's take up where we left off: you are facing the big powerful protective dragon that guards your treasure.

You are here to claim your treasure. The dragon is here to stop you. It wants you to a) be paralyzed or b) run around in panic or c) fight it. You know better.

Here's what you do: Stand firm, with a clear picture of what you want in your mind. Face the dragon. Look it right in the eye.

Tell it what you are here to do. Ignore the roars and fiery breath, they can't really hurt you. What will hurt the most is giving up your treasure.

Point your finger straight at that dragon and name him. Be specific in the naming. Say, "Hello dragon-mine, you are my fear. You are my fear that other people will think I am crazy. You are my fear that I will fail.

You are my fear that I'll be in poverty. You are my fear that I'm wrong. You are my fear that I'll be alone. "Keep going with your names for the dragon until you are done.

Then you will see that the dragon is an illusion, as is the fear. It's not really all-encompassing and huge and powerful and infinitely strong. In fact, it's just a list of strange and unhelpful messages you've been telling yourself. Watch in amusement as the dragon shrinks to the size and strength of a little green gecko. Step over him and claim what has always been rightfully yours.

Dragons, like fear don't stand up to naming. When you name your fear, it loses power. Keep naming it till you can walk around it and move on, treasure in hand.

All the best,

About the Author:
Sarah p.s. I'd love to hear what names you give to your dragon and what is the treasure it guards.