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Fear is not a sign that something bad is about to happen

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

5 things I wish I knew… Part 3.

Fear is not a sign to retreat

In my last post, I spoke about the fact that you don't need to ‘feel’ confident, in order to take action towards your goals. Many of my clients come into coaching with the false belief that if you don't feel confident, then that is a sign that something is wrong or that you're not ready. But, as I discussed, sometimes we have to just be ok with not feeling as confident as we might like,

When we take action towards our goals, confidence is a natural byproduct. We can't just expect to feel confident without first showing ourselves that we can do what we set out to do.

The same can be said for part 3 of the things I wish I knew when I entered this industry:

Fear is not a ‘sign’ that you should stop or retreat.

Fear is a natural human experience and is very common amongst performers. Which is completely understandable because what we do can be scary as hell! Getting up in front of people day after day and making ourselves vulnerable to criticism from the world can be a scary thing! So, what I always tell my clients is:

We don't have control over the feelings we feel, but what we do have control over, is how we react to those feeling. Whether that be fear, uncertainty, shame, disappointment or sadness etc.

Fear is a feeling and feelings are not facts.

If you are prepared and have done the work, feeling fearful does not mean that you are not ready or that something bad is about to happen. It just means that you're feeling fearful about what is about to happen. Period. What we often do (performers in particular), is to place meaning onto our emotions. That just isn't necessary and all it does is hold us back from taking powerful action towards our goals.

When fear does show up, rather than giving meaning to the feeling or trying to change how you feel, instead, try to show kindness to the feeling and tell the truth about why you're feeling that way. The truth about the feeling might sound something like:

  • I'm scared because I really want to do well

  • I'm scared that I'm going to make a mistake, or

  • I'm scared that people are going to judge me.

There is nothing wrong with having these kinds of thoughts and if you are having these kinds of thoughts then you are not alone. Where things start to get murky however, is when we convince ourselves that our thoughts are true (that is whole other story for another day) or when we place meaning on them.

I recently had a client who was so scared to perform even though they loved it, that they hadn't done so in years. They had convinced themselves that because they were experiencing an emotion that they deemed to be negative (fear), that they simply couldn't get up on stage. Over a number of conversations in which we really tackled some of his old core beliefs that were no longer serving him, he was able to get to understand that most performers feel fear before they go on stage, and that it didn't need to stop him from getting back out there.

So, he arranged an opportunity to perform. Do you think he felt fear before he went on? ABSOLUTELY! He was terrified! But, what was different this time was that he was able to accept the fear rather than trying to push it away or placing meaning on it. When we reflected on his experience afterwards, he said that whilst he still wished he didn't feel that way, that he no longer saw it as a reason to NOT do something he loved and that in subsequent performance since then, the fear was less visceral and scary.

What I hope you to take away from this is that feeling fear does not need to be a reason to stop you from taking action towards your goals. The more acceptance we show towards feelings that we deem to be negative, the less power they will have over us and ultimately, the greater power we have to take action which is aligned with our goals.

As they say, feel the fear and do it anyway.

If you feel like you're stuck or that fear is stopping you from doing what you want to do, reach out to me and let's arrange a free discovery session.

Stay creative,

Cailin at The Performer's Edge :)

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