Fear isn’t often called out as the problem. We generally refer to it by other names – anxiety, worry, self-sabotage, perfectionism, control. Or at least, those are some of the things that happen when fear is the culprit.
Fear is completely natural for human beings. Our survival mechanism is hardwired into our biology, and just think, you are the result of so many human beings (Homo Sapiens) before you who were amazing at listening to fear because if they weren’t, you probably wouldn’t be here.
Fear drives us to worry, to overthink, to ‘close up’, to distance ourselves from others, to be vigilant, to struggle, and strive, to feel panicked and stressed, and to develop low self-esteem. It wears many faces. It manifests in many different ways. But the result becomes the same – a safe, confined, smaller life than the one we could reach for ourselves.
One of the best books I have read on fear is the recent release by psychologist Dr Pippa Grange, Fear Less: How to win at life without losing yourself, who has worked with some of the biggest names in sport and business. Her experience is drawn from talking with those who face incredible pressure to perform and succeed. What she has uncovered in her over 20 years of sitting with people and teams is the one universal root-cause fear that trumps them all – the fear of inadequacy; the fear of not good enough.
In the book, Grange provides a practical, easy-to-read exploration of fear, with chapters on ‘fear isn’t just in your head and you’re not alone’; ‘when fear gets distorted’; and ‘replacing not-good-enough fear’. She offers both insight and practical strategies, developed in the field, to See, Face and Replace fear in your life.
“When fear drops in uninvited at a critical moment, it may feel impossible to deal with. It’s natural, when you feel the adrenaline begin to course through you, to think you are about to snap or lose the plot. You might start checking out the emergency exits, ready to run. Or feel your heart beating so hard in your chest that you think you’re going to die of the panic.
“Remember: fear is simply a warning signal, a feeling or energy that you do not have to give attention to, especially if there is no real mortal danger. And you can boss it, whether it’s expected or takes you by surprise.”
This book is for anyone who feels they are being held back in some way from living a life they love. Why? Because fear is likely playing some role in that process. By bringing awareness, you bring the ability to face it objectively. From there, you allow yourself to then do something about it.
Fear Less: How to win at life without losing yourself
Dr Pippa Grange