A little bird on a wire informed us yesterday there was a thought-provoking new post over on The BrandBuilder’s blog (thanks Reza!) “Be fearless!” Blanchard instructs us, in his inimitable style. How I wish I could, some days. He says that “courage is one of humanity’s greatest gifts” and that is such a beautiful observation. But what if persistent, underlying fears and hidden emotions are getting in our way, despite our best intentions?
I don’t know if any of you suffer from the same issues I do when it comes to business risk, taking chances, stepping out on a limb or going for what you truly want… but sometimes I am fearless, sometimes totally uncertain (but willing to take a chance if I knew the right direction) and sometimes I am positively paralyzed with either indecision, fear of the unknown, or fear of what I imagine might go wrong.
I was thinking about where these emotions and fear and uncertain meandering musings come from, and they are lodged in my body in different places. So I want to get literal for a moment… are we in touch with where, in our bodies, we are literally or figuratively having uncomfortable feelings that stop us? I have an image here of some places in our bodies where fears collect, and might cause us to hold back – maybe even unconsciously if we’re not aware we’re holding onto these thoughts and physical sensations.
What’s going on in your head?
Are you telling yourself the truth or semi-fiction based on hidden emotions? “We’re better than competitors… we suck next to our competitors… this is not good enough… we aren’t selling enough… we can’t get ahead… we aren’t closing deals… we need more budget… what am I going to do? I hate my job… my boss is out to get me… I can’t ever make my boss happy… I’m not making enough and can’t get another job… what if no one likes this design? What if I fail?” How many times are we smiling on the outside, with a running dialogue of fret, worry and fearful outcomes draining our mental energy?
What’s going on with your mouth?
Are you mostly telling the truth, or telling lies? Are you stuffing feelings and impressions before expressing them for fear of retaliation or confrontation? Are you biting your tongue, rather than lashing out at an abuser? Are you loose-lipped or gossiping, and then regret it? Do you say things in a harsh manner and then regret it? Do you praise the people who are important to you enough, or show your gratitude in your speech, or do you curse the day you (or your family, friends, employees, managers, etc.) were born most of the time? Who renders you speechless? Who do you want to confide in most? Who do you love talking to? Who do you share secrets with freely? Who do you watch your mouth with or can’t trust with information? What makes you drop your mouth open and what do you feel when that happens? What are you eating that you feel is good for you (or not)? Who do you want to kiss?
What’s up with your eyes?
Do you see situations clearly or dimly? Do you think you see things (based on fears) that aren’t really happening? Are you in reality about what you see, or in denial? Do you help others see clearly, or try to mask the truth and pull the wool over their eyes? Are your eyebrows raised in shock or alarm? Do you feel helpless because your eyesight is failing you? Do you feel happy with the vision you have, physically and metaphorically?
How’s your hearing?
Are you listening to what people really say, or reinterpreting it to suit yourself once it passes from your ear to your brain? Are you listening to what customers want, or trying to get them to hear what you want from them? Are you open to hearing new ideas from unexpected sources? Do the people around you consider you a good listener, or do they know you won’t listen to a thing anyone says? What do you long to hear? Who’s whispering in your ear? Who says horrible things to you? Who do you wish would shut up? What do you still hear (in your head) from your childhood? Are the things people say to you accurate? Can you trust what you hear, and if not, what can you do about it?
How do your throat and neck feel?
Is your throat inflamed or “tight” physically? This can happen when we stuff feelings inside and don’t express them. Your throat literally constricts from the pressure of this repeated behavior. Does your neck move easily or is it locked up? A lot of people carry their stress in their neck – if it feels like the trunk of a hardwood tree, you need to examine whether you have stress that is going unrelieved piling up in that area… “the weight of the world on your shoulders” needs to be diminished so your neck will be unrestricted in its movements. You need to be able to move your neck freely so you can see everything that’s around you.
What’s going on in your gut?
Do you have nervous butterflies? Do you feel nauseous? Are you excited? Is your tummy doing flip-flops? Do you feel like you could upchuck if something doesn’t change? Is there a burning sensation in the pit of your stomach? When people blush, the lining of their stomach has an associated reaction that can make it feel like a flame is been applied. Has something either delighted you so much that you’re immersed inside that flame, or worried you so immensely that you feel sick? Does your gut send you a warning (intuition) when you are about to make a mistake or choose a path that you should reconsider? Do you digest the food you’re eating well? If your job, your marriage, your partners or your business is giving you ulcers, listen to your gut and make changes before more damage is done.
What’s going on underneath your skin?
Does someone give you the creeps or make you feel dirty inside? Do you warm to the touch of the people you’re with, or grow cold when they touch you? Does the idea you have or person you’re with give you goosebumps of delight, or chills of impending doom? Is someone under your skin, driving you nuts? Do you wish you could just get them out from under there, somehow? Would you rather be somewhere else, than where you are presently? What makes you feel alive and tingly, all over? What makes you want to crawl inside yourself like a turtle and hide?
What’s going on with your legs & feet?
Are you always on the move, and wish you could slow down, or do you love it? Are you mostly sedentary and hate it? Do you wish you could be somewhere else? Do you want to click your heels together, like Dorothy, and Go Home, more than anything in the world? Have you stood in the spots you most want to see? Are you face-to-face with people who matter to you? Are you running away from something or someone? Do you wish time would stand still around you, so you could catch up on life’s many chores? Do you fantasize about walking out on your job, spouse, children, parents or group of friends? Are you paralyzed from the waist down, and afraid to move? Do you want to run toward something, but feel your feet are stuck in place?
What is in your heart?
If your mind is aligned with both your integrity and your desires, you are probably following your heart, unencumbered, regardless of doubt, uncertainty, fears or setbacks and failures. Sometimes we want to follow where our heart wants to lead us, but there are obstacles in the way: our moral conscience, the moral compass of society, what the consequences are, what other people will think, what we feel we can manage, what we feel sure about… the path may not be clear at all times or navigating it may be fraught with complications. Sometimes we do things for the reasons in our heart, though our mind or our gut nag against it. But what makes your heart beat fast? What causes it to burst with joy? What closes it and causes you to turn away? What have you denied it? Where does it ache? What happens, if you have a business or relationship failure when something was terribly important to you, inside your heart? Is it broken permanently? Do you feel it has cracks? Does it mend fully, when someone dies, or we lose a job, or a friend or lover leaves? How weak or how strong is it? What will people say about your heart, when you leave this earth? What do you want your legacy to be? Where does your heart want your body to be, right this minute?
There are two ways we can deal with having all these bodily reactions, buried or repressed feelings, borrowing some thoughts from pop music below. I’m sure a lot of us have felt the way this first video describes – we don’t say what we wish to say, and stuff our emotions or bury them beneath the surface. This song is about a love relationship, but it applies to virtually any situation where the stakes are high. You may feel you’re playing it safe, but the huge gamble in living with things you’ll never say, is that you risk never having what you want.
Things I’ll Never Say
Or… as Eminem says, with characteristic bluntness:
Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted – ONE moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
The mind, to me, feels more like an unruly animal we have to tame, conquer and discipline at times, in order to move past fears and have the courage to keep taking action. But is what’s in the heart the most necessary factor for Being Fearless? It feels that way to me quite a bit. If I want something, even if there are many difficulties, and my desire is heartfelt and I am being true to myself, that helps propel me forward, in business, in love, in life. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it. What do you think it takes, to be fearless and make those plans a reality and your dreams come true (or die trying?)