Often times, fear can be such a debilitating emotion. It can harbor us from doing so many things. It can keep us in bed instead of experience life and joy to its fullest. It can keep us in our shells instead of flourishing into the greatness that we all have inside of us.
So let me ask you this, how much does fear control your life? Do you let fear get in the way of achieving greatness? Today, I am here to talk about how you can harness such a powerful emotion, into something positive. Fear can be a catalyst. It starts a ripple in your ocean of thoughts. Do you let that ripple expand and smooth out, or do you welcome the violent rain storm and send your mind spinning down into a hurricane?
I have a few stories to share about how fear has shaped my life personally, and how that emotion has impacted those around me. My first story to share is about my Grandfather. I am sorry to report he is not doing well. He was refusing a pacemaker last week and gave up the will to live. His pastor stopped by the hospital and asked him a few questions. She asked if he was afraid of dying, and initially, he reported that he was not afraid of dying and he was ready. Then she asked him, “So what are you really afraid of then?” He replied, “Well… I guess the anesthesia”. To give a little background, his wife, my Grandmother, went under general anesthesia twice in a very close proximity. This resulted in detrimental effects on her mental health, and ultimately she passed away spring time of last year. When my Grandfather was under the impression he wanted to die, he told my Dad, “When a spouse dies, typically the other spouse goes in a year….Man, I do not have much time left”.
At this point, the pastor knew the background of the anesthesia with my Grandmother and then pointed out to my Grandfather, “So you are afraid of dying from the anesthesia then?” Then, my Grandfather responded matter-of-factly, “Well, yeah!” “So you do want a pacemaker then?” “Well yeah put one of those things in me”.
It was just like that. The pastor was able to find his fear, and harness it for positivity. She was able to change his heart and uncover his true will to live.
Many people are afraid of failure, rejection, public speaking, heights, clowns, etc. Fear that I struggle with is failure. I am very competitive in nature, and I want to do the best I possible can do. I am a high performer, and if I know I didn’t follow through with something, or I fail, this is something that will get to me. Fear, is actually the reason why I didn’t want to compete in a body building show for the past two years. I witnessed my roommate compete in shows, and I didn’t understand how the judging worked. Everything seemed so subjective to me. I feared putting in so much time and effort, and not even making “call backs” or whatever the second level is truly called.
This year, I changed my definition of success, I am not judging my success on obtaining a trophy or a place in the show. Success for me will be my journey, becoming the best I have ever been, and adhering diligently to the plan my coach lays out. My fear has been harnessed to push me into my next level of excellence in fitness. I cannot put into words how excited I am for this, and I am excited that I am doing this, solely for me. I often find I put so much time and effort into pleasing or doing things for others. I have to truly work at and ensure I book time for my own self care.
I’ll end with the last story I have about fear. Early on in my life, I would say around the time I was in middle school, I was talking to my Father about something that scared me. I honestly remember this moment so vividly, it was a very pivotal part in my way of thinking. I was riding in his pick-up truck, explaining how I was afraid of doing something. With the most confident voice he could ever have, he said to me, “Anne, you can do anything you put your mind to”.
(Yes, I asked to be called Anne from age 10-27, and still do in the professional world; I’ll write about that in another post).
I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to.
My Dad has been my biggest cheerleader and motivator throughout my life. At that moment he told me that, something clicked. I honestly believed him. I thought, “Yes, I am a Rathman, I can do anything”. When fear comes creeping in, the moment I am thinking, “I can’t”, I hear my Dad, “Yes, you can”. Fear is deep, but if you dig deep down and harness it, you can use that emotion to slingshot you into something you may never thought you could do before.
I’ll close with this final thought. Please use your most powerful emotion as a catalyst for positivity. You will surprise yourself of what you are capable of.