Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

As I write, it’s 3:31am and I’m sitting in my kitchen with a freshly-brewed cup of coffee.

This is not normal, but I can’t sleep.

Then again, maybe it is normal.

If 47% of adult Americans say stress wakes them up at night, maybe I’m fitting right in.

To be honest, this has been building for the past few days.

It started with feelings of being slightly – how should I say this – on edge.

Not anxious, per se, but noticeably tight in the chest.

Then came emotion.

Since it’s pretty hard to make me cry I knew something was up when I came {{{this close}}} to bursting into tears after showing up an hour late for my husband’s Christmas party.

Obviously not as catastrophic as, say, Ted Cruz running for president, but it’s still the one work event he asks me to attend each year.

Of course, the mindful response is to turn towards the issue.

To go deep.

And what you’ll usually find is that “stress” is just another word for fear.

In my case, I’ve been quietly planning a course that launches next week.

Yes, I’m nervous.

I wrote about something similar last December while planning for the launch of what would become Awake Exec.

At the time, my head was spinning with questions about the feasibility of the idea (mindfulness in the workplace?) not to mention my ability to execute it.

This is what author Stephen Pressfield calls “the Resistance.”

Thoreau called it “the controller.”

I call it the inner critic.

It’s all the same thing: Fear.

As my practice has grown, one of the most extraordinary gifts I’ve received is the capacity to view fear as an impartial force and, thus, treat it impartially. In other words, when “the Resistance” comes, I just label it – “oh hello, fear” – and center back into doing the work versus fretting about it. This is what allows me to move forward.

And yet here I am – awake and on coffee #2 – at what is now 5:50am.

What’s interesting about the stress this time is that it’s not in my head. After a year of witnessing transformational change in Awake Execs, I’m genuinely at peace with the work and confident in my ability to carry the message.

The stress is sitting in my body.

It’s in the tight chest, the borderline anxiety, the emotion, and the sleeplessness I’m experiencing while at the same time feeling content in my mind.

Odd, right?

Not really.

Because fear always, always, a-l-w-a-y-s comes attached to something we care deeply about, but we still act surprised, overwhelmed, and uncomfortable at even the slightest hint of it.

And so we get stuck.

But if fear is so predictable, why don’t we just plan for it?

In other words, next time you’re preparing for the big presentation, the big interview, the big wedding, the big course launch, the big whatever, why not factor in time for some good, old-fashioned emotional fragility?

That’s right.

Time to observe the fear.

Time to sit with it.

Time to allow it.

I mean this literally – as in calendar blocking.

As in one day each week with no meetings.

As in taking that hike.

As in scheduling that dinner with girlfriends weeks in advance because you know you’re going to need it when the time comes.

Entrepreneurs plan for pivots so let’s also plan for the fear we know is going to surface as we’re giving birth to something new and exciting.

Yes, I am saying PLAN to NOT have it all together.

Then do it anyway.


Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway® is the registered trademark of The Jeffers/Shelmerdine Family Trust. Used with permission.  

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