How to Embrace What Terrifies You (So It Becomes Easy)

Fear to FreedomIf it’s ok with you, I’m going to just plain be vulnerable here and share something very few people know about me.  I was reluctant to share this for years because I felt ashamed and frankly odd.  Fear of judgment, a dose of embarrassment, and scared of what other people might think kept me in hiding.  But then recently I thought, this situation is such a clear and bona fide example of what it is feels like and what is possible when you are willing to face and move through your fears that I could keep it a secret no longer.

You see I used to be deathly afraid of flying. I mean a terrified, out of my mind, anxiety ridden passenger.  My family never flew anywhere (and still has never been on a plane) and therefore it was not until high school that I first got on a plane. While I was scared to death, I didn’t let it show (I was 17 years old flying with my high school classmates, remember?), survived the experience, and easily avoided planes for a few more years.

But then it happened.  My desire for wanderlust and travel took root right after college. I started with a few very long car trips and then realized that the places I really wanted to go and desperately wanted to see required air travel. So I sucked it up and got on a plane.  And I panicked. I stressed, sweated, and heart-palpitated my way through whatever flight(s) I needed to endure to get me where I wanted to go.  For years it was like walking through Dante’s inferno as a means to an end (visiting cool new places and having new experiences).  My desire to not be limited by my fears was so strong it literally pulled me through.  Yes I had to force myself, yes I was miserable, and yes it took a terrible toll on me.  Think about it – that much fear and stress in your body has an impact.

Have you ever felt this way – paralyzed by fear? Totally wasted by trying to just “feel the fear and do it anyway”?

One of my low points (or high anxiety points if you will) came the one and only time I have been to Europe. I had to travel there on business and my partner came with me so we could extend the time for a vacation. I literally spent the entire overnight flight panicked, battling heart palpitations, and fearful that every bump and noise would lead to us crashing into the Atlantic.  I squeezed my partner’s hand so tight for 8+ hours that I actually drew blood.  Crazy, right?

Yet that is what fear does… it paralyzes us and creates irrational terror in our hearts and minds.  Whether it is flying, making a career change, or speaking your truth to someone else, fear is fear and it feels so real.

While pushing through it was getting me in action, I knew it wasn’t sustainable.  Even with my deep desire to travel I couldn’t stand the stress of the travel days and it took me days to regroup on each end. What a waste of precious time and energy.  So I decided I would find a way to make a shift so flying was no longer terrifying. In fact I thought maybe one day I could actually semi-enjoy it.

It started with a decision and an unflappable commitment to what I really wanted to experience. Without this the rest of the how-to’s and actions I took would have been useless.

So what happened? Flash forward to today where flying is truly no big deal for me.  I am no longer fraught with a pile of fear and endless stress. In fact, sometimes I truly do just sit back and enjoy the flight. It is simply just a “new normal” and part of the process of getting from here to there when I travel. While I haven’t taken any ‘round the globe flights yet, coast to coast is just a piece of cake (albeit a cramped, hate to be stuck in an uncomfortable chair, are we there yet piece of cake.).

So how did I make the shift from terrified to no big deal? I:

  • Got clear on what I truly desired and what my fears were really about.
  • Made the decision that I wanted my experience to be different.
  • Made the commitment that I would do what it takes to make this shift on the inside because my desire to travel was so inspiring to me.
  • Opened to receive support.
  • Learned how to trust and let go. (Sounds simple and it is, but the process of trusting and letting go is just that, a process and a practice.)
  • Obtained more information to satisfy my left-brain’s need to know. (So for example I learned what some of the buzzers, noises, and other sounds meant so I didn’t worry that the plane was going down when in fact all that happened was that we reached cruising altitude.)
  • Surrendered.  Again like trusting and letting go this was about having faith and certainty that I am safe at all times.

I share this personal story with you because while you might not have a fear of flying, I can almost guarantee you have some fear that is holding you back from what you say you truly desire. I want you to see firsthand that it is very possible and extremely powerful to move through fear to freedom.  I have done it many times throughout my personal and professional life and I can help you do the same. What I know for sure is that without the support of my own Intuitive Intelligencetm, I would probably still be death gripping from gate to gate and closing myself off to the richest opportunities I most desire.

Closing down because of fear or the stories you tell yourself in your head only leads to regret down the road.  I don’t want that to happen to you.

My Coach’s Request to You:

Take a few moments, reflect, and ask:

  • Where in my life (personal or professional) does fear hold me back?
  • What is this fear costing me – in terms of missed opportunities, money struggles, well-being, joy, and health, etc.?
  • Do I want to do things differently and have a different experience than I am now having in this area of my life?
  • Am I willing to make a commitment and receive the support necessary to move from fear to freedom?

If you are ready to break through the fears, obstacles, and limitations that are holding you back from what you most desire, I would love to hear from you.  Contact me for an exploratory conversation and start to make the shift right away.


How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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  1. Powerful reminder that we are always at choice, even when we are afraid. Thanks, Paula!
    My recent post Upping My Game

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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