I must admit that when ‘Feel the Fear’, a self-development classic, was suggested for book group I didn’t feel overly compelled to read it – at a time in my life when I feel pretty confident about most aspects of my life I didn’t think reading about ‘fear’ would be relevant to me. But as a book-group read of the month, I had to give it a shot… however, upon embarking, I quickly realised some of the fear that Jeffers talks about can also be that lesser feeling of apprehension, nervousness or the inner nagging ‘chatterbox’ who overthinks that I can actually quite easily relate to… With this in mind, I found and share some great nuggets of advice and inspiration:
You will handle it!
“If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you have to fear? The answer is nothing”
The premise of the book is basically all about building resilience and personal confidence in your life so you can be sure that whatever life throws at you that you will handle it. Jeffers reminds us that fear, apprehension and anxiety are completely normal feelings that everyone experience.
You should embrace it!
In fact, she suggests that if you don’t feel any fear you are not stretching yourself and growing… things that I agree are part of a well lived and enjoyable life. If it is the case that everyone feels fear but many people just get on and do things, taking risks and embracing life then fear is not the issue – it is in fact us! We need to re-educate ourselves to see fear as a necessary part of our lives.
You are in control & you can choose!
“Simply notice that your chatterbox is making you a victim, and commit yourself to replacing it with a loving voice”
We need to accept responsibility that we have the power over our own perceptions, reactions and actions. Jeffers asserts we have a plethora of choices open to us at any time and we are free to choose how to respond or which path to take. We can choose to quieten that inner chatterbox and we can choose whether we feel we are the driver or the passenger in our lives. The journey analogy continues to work well with Jeffers as she reminds us that if we see life as a journey or a continual process of learning that we can’t make wrong decisions. She urges us to see our lives as investigations or studies, ‘the university of life’ where we are continually learning. It is in this way we can never lose and will feel more comfortable taking risks.
Easier said than done!
Of course, it’s all fine and well to say, just be a glass half full but how might one really quieten that chatterbox or Feel the Fear AND Do it Anyway?
She gives us some practical advice to follow:
- Creating a Book of Abundance: start a beautiful notebook where you start to list positive things about your life, past and present and don’t stop until you reach 150. Each day add to it anything that is great! e.g. beautiful sky, new clothes, haircut, nice food etc.
- Affirmations: Having those positive and motivational affirmations or quote surrounding you in everyday life, posted around the house, read to yourself in the morning etc. Something I personally have tried but always forget to read!
- Create a balanced life-grid (my naming): this would be something like a 9 box grid covering all aspects you want to be important in what you would consider a great life and develop each part so you will be happy with it. In this way, if one part of your life feels tough or challenging at a moment in time you will have other areas where things are still doing well, making you more resilient.
Feel the Fear & Do it Anyway is a book with a huge number of thoughts and ideas, and I imagine different people would have a different take-out depending on situation, circumstance or current state of mind! However, I would say, it’s a classic for a reason and encourage you to give it a shot, it’s a quick read and despite being a little woowoo in places there are some interesting ideas and it can really help to give you perspective and encourage you to take a few more risks…
Cat Haigh is the founder of Sorting Self, an on & offline community aimed at empowering and inspiring busy mums to be their best selves. Currently Sorting Self holds monthly talks with expert speakers and a monthly self-development book group in North London. For more information and to join the mailing list go to https://sortingself.com/