It immobilizes us.
It keeps us up at night.
And it can do more than keep us alive.
(For the sake of conversation, let’s divert our attention from fears that coincide with our survival instincts. Let’s talk about being afraid of things that won’t kill us.)
5 Of The Top 10 Fears Boil Down To 1 Fear
Fear of Public Speaking
Fear of Intimacy
Fear of Failure
Fear of Rejection
Fear of Commitment/Making the Wrong Choice
What do these fears have in common? Five of the Top 10 Fears revolve around the Fear of Fitting In.
Fear Of Fitting In
Wait, but we’re creative, isn’t that how the majority of our lives have been? People called us those, “Creative Weirdos,” or “Awkward Artist Types.” And look where it got us – into an industry that awards us based on how creative or radical or weird our ideas are!
As advertising creatives we’ve found the place where we can fit in and we embrace not being the status quo. And yet, how are you doing with the fears of public speaking, intimacy, failure, rejection and commitment? Are you letting the Fear of Fitting In hold you back in any of those areas?
2 Ways To Face Your Fear
As in the post “When ‘Just Do It’ Doesn’t Work,” it’s important to acknowledge what is in your way, understand it and have compassion for it. It’s OK to feel afraid; everyone does at times. Understanding your fear may entail understanding what your fear is truly protecting you from. With that, you have two options in facing your fear – using it as fuel or weakening it.
1. Use Fear As Your Fuel
Advertising creatives are competitive. Why not use your competitive nature and compete against your fear? Go head to head with the fear that’s holding you back.
Which will win – your creativity or your fear?
Which will persevere – your desire to be happy or your fear of what that may take?
What if you could channel that anxious energy into overcoming what you’re afraid of? Use your fear as your fuel. How empowering would that be? Afterward, you’d feel on top of the world! You were the one who gave that killer presentation. You were the one who pitched the best idea to your ECD. You were the one who took the leap of faith and committed to that new job.
2. Weaken Your Fear
If going head to head with your fear isn’t your style or if the fear is too strong, then concentrate on reducing it. Again, understand where the fear is coming from and acknowledge that it’s most likely trying to protect you.
My clients have gotten the best results by weakening their fears in the following 5 ways:
- Thinking of a time when they faced another fear and pulling from that experience (For example, how you embraced your creativity and found an industry that expects it.)
- Planning and preparing how to handle the fear – including different options
- Looking to role models who have battled their own fears and won
- Focusing on the motivation for overcoming the fear and the benefits that come with the victory
- Reprogramming their thoughts about the fear by creating positive intentions
According to an article in Psychology Today by Karl Albrecht, Ph.D., “Fear, like all other emotions, is basically information. It offers us knowledge and understanding – if we choose to accept it – of our psychobiological status.” Albrecht goes on to write “And the more clearly and calmly we can articulate the origins of the fear, the less our fears frighten us and control us.”
Fear Is An Opportunity
Fear holds us back. Fear keeps us in the tiny box where we are, where we don’t realize we’re suffocating.
Being afraid of something signals an opportunity for personal development. When you push outside of your comfort zone – especially to the point of feeling fear – that’s when the most growth happens. You can break out of the box.
Life After Fear
Imagine what your life would be like once you conquer your fear. Really. Take a moment and imagine. How would your life be different? What could you accomplish? Who would you become? Would you be more satisfied? Would you be happier?
I challenge you to either use your fear as fuel or to weaken your fear to the point where you can have that life after fear. You can have all that you’ve imagined.
Share one fear that is holding you back (one that doesn’t challenge your mortality). There’s no judgment here. I’ll start in the comments section. Share one fear and whether you are going to use it as fuel or weaken it.