Throughout my nearly two decades as a therapist, I have become an expert on fear. Through my own personal experiences combined with the research that I have done, I have learned and continue to deepen my understanding of how fear impacts our lives and decisions.

Have you ever thought about how fear impacts your life and decisions?

It is safe to say that, to some degree, all of our lives and decisions are influenced by fear. It’s human nature to want to avoid humiliation, defeat, or rejection. Many people will not attempt something if they fear failure.

However, for others, fear works in the opposite way. Some people are so fearful of rejection and defeat that fear actually drives them to succeed. This can be a harder fear to understand because, on the surface, it does not make much sense. How could fear be used as motivation since we all think it is bad? Fear has caused a lot of people to do some really crazy things, like pursue a career path entirely wrong for them in order not to let someone else down. Most deeply rooted fears are connected to relationships. Dynamics and expectations are often set early on, especially in family systems. From a very young age, pressure is on, bars are set, and fear is used as the fuel for achievement.

What is being fear-driven costing you? Perhaps you find yourself working so hard you barely have time for a personal life. Or maybe you pass up an opportunity that could give you more creative expression because you know your parents would never approve. Perhaps, up until this point, you weren’t even aware that fear has been driving you.

If fear has been your main motive to succeed, a shift must be made in order to continue successfully with more ease, grace, and fun. Believe me when I say dealing with fear can be simple.

The first thing to remember is that, most of the time, fear is a feeling not a fact.

This is great news because we change our feelings all the time. This means fear can be changed and doesn’t last. Just think about the last time you were in a bad mood. You’re not still in that same bad mood, are you? Think of fear in this same way. No matter what you fear, unless you are in imminent danger, remind yourself that it won’t last. This takes away the power of what you are feeling and puts you back in control so that you can begin to make decisions from a more authentic place of power.

Second, remember that fear is a bully.

The fear that paralyzes you is not your friend, and allowing it to hang out does not serve you. If fear has been your driver, then you know that fear can push you to do things that will not bring you lasting happiness. Furthermore, fear will threaten you with worries about the bad things that could happen. These worries will steal your joy from the present moment.

But remember, fear isn’t all bad; it can also be a wise teacher. So in order to distinguish between the loud voice of your Mafia Mind (not productive) and the softer voice of your intuition (wise), you must be still and silent enough in your day to question what you hear.

True success includes enjoying the trip and the destination. Don’t let fear ruin the journey.
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In order to stay in the present moment, it is important strengthen your Be Here Now muscle. Present moment consciousness will help you recognize when the fearful negative script starts running through your mind. When you are present, you can stop the script and choose to think a better thought, thereby inspiring a more aligned action. One of the best ways to build your Be Here Now muscle is through a dedicated meditation practice.

Nothing gets you out of your head and into the present like sharing your unique and special gifts with others. I know for many of you, fear has been driving you and has gotten in the way of living the wildly successful life you dream. However, the more you learn to manage fear, the more successful and happy you can be. Managing fear takes practice and is a process, but the results can amaze you. Being driven by joy and inspiration feels much better than being driven by fear.

I am excited to connect with you in the comments below. Tell me about how your fear has been driving you and how the tools above are helping you move forward in a more aligned way that feels good.

I always look forward to hearing from you. I hope you have a super successful and fearlessly free week, and, as always, take care of you.

Love Love Love


Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Tune Up Tips and follow her on Twitter.

*Image courtsey of noise 64.