I spend my days living and breathing fear. I see it everywhere. Mine and other peoples. I talk, read, think, research, and learn about it. It shows up all over the place.
Sometimes we have healthy fears, a tornado, a house collapsing, a loose lion in a zoo - in these circumstances I would hope you can distinguish between a healthy fear and an unhealthy one and know that a freeze, fight or flight response is probably rather appropriate.
Surprisingly, more often than not, we have unhealthy fears as they stop us doing things. But that doesn’t make it a bad thing. Even unhealthy fear is super helpful. A signal that something needs to change or is about to. A signpost to take stock. A cautious friends whispering (or sometimes screaming) in your mind ‘you are ready for change - we need to check your resources’.
One of the resources you need to draw upon is courage. Which is what sparked me to write this as 3 things this week stood out as examples of how being courageous when fear shows up creates healthier, happier and more successful outcomes for us. With clarity, confidence and courage to handle fear and embrace change we inevitably move to a better place.
1. The incredibly moving and powerful speech from Rosie Duffield on the domestic abuse bill highlighting what incredible strength it takes to make the decision to leave an abusive relationship.
Showing to those who need to hear it the most that it is possible to face the biggest and most terrifying of fears once you can accept that the situation you are now in is damaging in a way you do not deserve. The bravest example of those that know how to #beyourownHERo.
2. 4 women in one week I previously worked each announced they have set up independent businesses. They too have shown great courage. Choosing to change unsuitable work environments to create ones that will work flexibly for them where they know they can guarantee their contribution and value will be recognised.
This takes clarity, confidence and courage. It also takes a hell of a lot of risk management and resilience, it requires graft, grit, determination, vision, creativity and bravery. All attributes that archaic business consequently lose out on as unmotivated and resentful women start to leave in droves to become the competition. More of this I say.
And on that note……
3. Sara Blakely now billionaire entrepreneur who in a statement this week reflecting on her decision to set up Spanx said:-
‘People ask me if I was scared when I started Spanx. Are you kidding? I was terrified. But the thought of my life staying the way it was scarier to me than taking the risk’
The Behind closed doors at home and in the workplace women are finding themselves in environments that are holding them back. Often because they fear the consequences of leaving.
I think of fear as an overprotective security guard these days. Not an enemy working against us but as an agent of the mind guarding our actions to keep us safe from danger. She needs to be convinced you can handle the fear.
How? By understanding you have clarity about why you need to make a change and what purpose it serves. By being reassured you have the confidence, beliefs, expertise and knowledge you need to make the change. By seeing you have the resilience to handle any adversity that may ensue, that you know what bold action you need to take and have the connections and network you need in place to support you.
Change doesn’t have to happen overnight, it's whatever pace is right for you. Fear however, should never hold you back. It’s an ask from an overly cautious security guard wanting to keep you safe from shame, rejection, failure, harm. Asking you to take stock, figure out what you need, if anything - and when you are ready, you will both know how to start making change.
We all deserve to be valued, respected and love. To thrive not survive. Heroes don’t ever come to the rescue like in Disney. That’s just not helpful. We create our own futures. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t tolerate an environment where you aren’t thriving. Learn to Be Braver, to be courageous, to befriend fear. To Be Your Own HERo.