Day 10 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Fear is like the Protective Coating of a Seed

When you’re green you’re growing. When you’re ripe you rot.”- Ray Kroc

germinating seedIt is a natural law that  if something is not growing, it is dying. As Ray Kroc so eloquently said, when something is green it is growing, if it stops growing, it dies. Nothing stays stagnate. After I read the quote I thought about seeds that are planted in the ground. Imagine what it would be like if a seed stubbornly refused to grow. That seed would be become useless and rot. Yesterday we spoke about the fear of success and after I thought about that, I realized how stubborn fear is.

Fear refuses to allow us to grow because growing requires risk and risk means that something could be lost. A seed, when planted in the ground, is coated with a tough outer shell that protects it, however in order for the seed to grow, the seed must break through that tough outer coating.

The seed, once free of the tough outer shell becomes vulnerable, but it become vulnerable if it is meant to grow, and grow it must. Like the seed, we too must free ourselves of the fear that is protecting us.

Our fear is like that protective covering on the seed. It has been designed to protect us, to keep us from harm. Fear is not a bad thing when it is appropriate. Just as there was a time for the seed to have an outer coating to protect it, fear is designed to protect us too. The fear may have had a purpose, but the fear stubbornly hands on even after its usefulness.  I am learning that I must be grateful for the fear and its stubborn service to serve me, but its job shouldn’t last beyond its usefulness. I have to recognize when it is time to become vulnerable and become willing to grow. For me the time is now.

 

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 10 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 9 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

The Fear of Success

        Self Confidence VS Self Esteem

Laura McHugh and Cygnet Brown

When another person reaches the dream that you have been trying to reach, celebrate their success!

A couple of days ago I was participating in my mastermind group when the issue of the difference between self-confidence and self esteem came up. The discussion opened my eyes to my own situation and how the difference related to me and this series I am doing.  Often people use the term Self confidence and self-esteem interchangeably. This is a misconception. They are different and the ways in which self confidence is built is different than the ways that self esteem is built primarily because self confidence and self esteem originate differently. Self Confidence is based in the way a person thinks about his or her abilities. Self esteem is based in the way a person feels about him or herself.

 

When a person has low self confidence, they do not think they have the knowledge that it takes to do whatever they want to do. To build self confidence, an individual needs to obtain knowledge and skills concerning whatever it is that the individual needs to know about whatever area that the person needs confidence.

 

A person with low self esteem however feels as though he or she does not deserve whatever it is that he or she is trying to accomplish. A person with low self esteem could have a lot of confidence in his or her abilities and still have low self esteem.  A person who has low self esteem, for whatever reason, feels as though he or she does not deserve whatever he or she has worked to accomplish. A person with low self esteem is afraid of being undeserving of whatever reward comes with accomplishment. Many individuals with a lot of confidence, have low self esteem. All the skills of confidence building does nothing to fix self esteem. Low self esteem is based feeling. The feeling in which low self esteem is based is the fear of success.

 

The Fear of Success is the Basis for Low Self Esteem

 

If the fear of success is the basis for low self esteem, it is very difficult for someone with low self esteem to success. I should know. I don’t feel as though I deserve success. This is my fear. I am afraid that others will find out that I don’t deserve success, so I make sure that I don’t have it. Rationally, I can see where I deserve it as much as the next person. I work hard at what I do. I am highly knowledgeable in many areas. I have the confidence. I know a lot about gardening, natural remedies, and cooking food from scratch. I also have learned and have become quite adept at writing my own books, editing, formatting, publishing and marketing. Almost single handed, I wrote (my husband Jeff designed the cover) my most recent book. If you’ve never written a book and self published it, you have no idea how much work goes into publishing a book. I’m good at what I do. I don’t however feel as though I deserve success so anytime I come close to succeeding, I sabotage my own efforts. When I come close to making breakthroughs, I drop the ball and sabotage my own efforts.

DuSable, the founder of Chicago didn't let his dark skin keep him from being a successful business man.

DuSable, the founder of Chicago didn’t let his dark skin keep him from being a successful business man.

This begs the question; what do I do about it? Learning new skills isn’t going to do it, because I probably know enough right now to be far more successful than I am. The idea that some offer of “faking it until I make it” won’t work either. I know I’m faking it so how could that help me feel as though I deserve it?

 

I don’t have the answers, but I do have a next step. When this issue came up in the mastermind group, the leader of the group suggested that we read the book Seeds of Greatness by Denis Waitley written in 1984. I have requested a loan copy from the local library. It will be in the local library in the next day or two. Its also available new or used on Amazon in hardcover or paperback. My next step is to read the book. I’m certain there will be more on this in an upcoming post.

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 9 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 8 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Discovering Our Options for Overcoming Anxiety

Yesterday we identified an area where we felt stuck and identified what we were afraid of losing in that area where we felt as though we were stuck. Today, we are going to look at this even more and determine exactly what we can do with the power that knowing what we are afraid of losing can do for us. It is the first step in discovering our options for overcoming anxiety and overcoming fear as it relates to feeling stuck.

glasses

Seeing that you have options is one of the first steps in overcoming the fear that has you stuck.

Let’s look at the example of:

Feeling stuck in my current dead end job. (This isn’t the area where I am currently stuck. It may not be the area where you are currently stuck,  but it is an area where many people are stuck. It is a good example, so I will use it. )

What am I afraid of losing if I decide to leave my current dead end job?

Our home?- Probably

Our 401K- probably

Our self respect- possibly

our spouses respect-possibly

our spouse-possibly

not being able to pay my own bills-if you’re like most people who work paycheck to paycheck, most definitely.

Well, I don’t know about you, but losing those things could be pretty devastating. This is a dose of reality. No wonder you’re afraid of leaving your dead end job. So the next question that comes up would be: How could I keep from losing all those things and still leave my current job? The answer to this question starts opening other possibilities.

Discovering Your Options Empowers

The quickest way of leaving your current job might be to write a resume and sending that resume out to various other jobs that perhaps are not so dead end.

Another option, which is a far more drastic measure, would be to say to heck with it all, sell the house, leave the wife, leave the job behind, and go live under a bridge. None of it was worth keeping any way.

Other, less drastic means of breaking out of the rut take a little longer. For instance you could go back to school, get a better education and then fill out the job resumes toward a better job.

Another might be to start your own home business while still doing the current job. Go to part time after a while and gradually work into working the part time business full time.

Another might be to study short term to get a real estate or insurance license, sell a few things to tide the family over and try to live on the wife’s income until you really start making an income.

By going through this exercise, I realize that I don’t have to stay stuck in a job that I hate. I may have to continue doing it for a while, but refusing to stay stuck in a dead end job isn’t my only option. I have ways of getting myself unstuck if I simply look at all the options that might be available to me.

We now have an example of an area where a person could feel stuck. We have identified what we could lose if we were to simply let go of where we are stuck. Finally, we have identified ways that we can become unstuck. Now it is time for the real work. Where are we stuck? What are we afraid of losing? What could be done about it? Finally, we must weight the options and determine which option we will take in order to move past the fear into freedom.

 

2014-04-07 07.07.08About the Author

Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 8 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day Seven of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

“When you find yourself stuck, you know you are dealing with fear.”-Cygnet Brown

Do you ever find yourself stuck and don’t know where to go next? The underlying feeling of being stuck is based in fear. When you see yourself stuck the first thing to ask yourself is “What am I afraid of?”

Stuck in a dead end job?

Stuck in what to do next in business?

Stuck in a certain level in your business?

Stuck in a bad marriage?

Stuck in a cycle of poverty?

Stuck in a rut of any kind?

What are you afraid of? Whatever it is that you are afraid if is keeping you from moving forward. A more precise question would be “What are you afraid of losing?” Before you can forward, you must deal with this one key element. “What are you afraid of losing?”

vampire movie

Shining a light on what you’re afraid of losing is a very scary thing even after you do it. If you want to move past the fear, it is necessary.

This is the boogie man in all the resistance you sense as you move forward. Identify what you’re afraid of losing, and that lose loses some of its power over you because you have identified it. More on this tomorrow.

This weekend I took a step forward, but it was a difficult one for me because when I admitted it, I realized that I had been holding some fear that was very scary to me. I think I had mentioned that I had been planning to publish Simply Vegetable Gardening and that I was later at getting it out than I had originally planned. Part of the reason was that I had not finished because I thought that I could finish it more quickly than I actually was able. The big reason, however was that I was procrastinating getting that project finished. We discussed procrastination back on Day Three.

I finally got the book published late Saturday night on Kindle. The book looked beautiful. I compared my work in that book with the books I had written in the past and it looked great. Editing wise, formatting wise, writing wise, it was the best work I had put out thus far. Not only that it was a book from the heart. I loved the work, and I loved the end result. In a few days, when my husband Jeff finishes the design on the back cover, we’ll be publishing the print book. You would think I would be happy, but I wasn’t.  I was a wreck. Fear raised his ugly head. What if nobody liked it? What if I put it out there and no one thought it was worth buying and reading? What was I afraid of losing? I was afraid of losing “My Dream”.  I put my heart and soul into this. I am invested in this book. What if no one valued my book? If people reject my book, then I felt as though people will also reject me. I was afraid of rejection.

Now that my book was published, I was facing the fear of rejection head on. Did publishing the book make me feel the fear less? No, I felt it more, but I was dealing with it. I’m still dealing with it. Now that I recognize it however, I realize that what I am doing now is a brave thing. I am facing my fear and pushing through it. Yesterday though it started with me feeling like a loser, by the end of the day, I felt as though I had accomplished much. I even got a few sales. There are at least a few people who do like me and my work. I’ll bet there are at least a few more. I must simply go out and find them.

 

Day Six of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.”- Anthony Robbins.

We are revisiting the same quote that we shared yesterday because it still suits today’s topic as you will see. Three types of people exist in the world. Most people know about two of them. They are the givers and the takers. However, a third type exists. This group I call the fearful.

dead sea

The Dead Sea is dead because water flows into it, but it doesn’t flow out of it. For us to be truly alive we must allow things to flow out of us as well as into us.

The givers give to this world. These are the people who when they leave the world or even the room make you feel good that they were there. They always have a positive outlook on life. These are the people who always leave more behind them than they take. These are the people who are always sharing what they have with others and others love them for it. What they give can be material, and often is, but it can also simply be an attitude. What they give, however always has substance. These are the people who when they share something with you, don’t remind you that you owe them. These people are secure in the fact that reciprocity exists. They know that what they give will always return to them bigger and better. They know that the more they give, the more they will get in return. They always see the world as a place of abundance and that plenty exists for everyone. they know that it is the giving that produces the abundance.

The Takers,  on the other hand, are those people who always make you feel as though they have gained at your expense. WhenTakers come into the world or into a room they leave behind them negativity. They suck the life out of everyone and everything around them. They are like the Dead Sea in that they always receive, but never give.  These people are the consumers that take more than they give. They may be able to convince you in the moment that they are doing you a favor, but it doesn’t take long to learn that they have taken advantage of you. These people see the world as having limited resources and that in order to have it, they must manipulate it from you.

We are all familiar with the givers and takers, but few of us recognize the fearful. Their goal in life is to enter the room and leave it without being noticed. These people are those who might say of themselves “I didn’t come into this world with much, and I still have most of it.” They don’t take much from the world, but they don’t give much either. These people are often hardworking, but they never seem to get ahead. They wouldn’t dream of taking advantage of anyone, however, because the world is limited, they cannot see how they can give away anything either. These people see the world as being a hostile place that takes from them and never gives back. Because they see the world as hostile, they tend to be tight-fisted with with what little they do have. They neither give nor take. These people live in poverty and squalor and hoard what little they do have because they are afraid of losing what little they possess. This is true about not only their physical possessions, but their mental and emotional abilities as well.

The Takers nor the Fearful can truly be grateful for what they have only the givers have that quality. to become a giver, the place to start is to recognize the abundance that is in your life. To become a giver, you must be grateful. Even the fearful can give thanks. Giving thanks is an easy place to begin our giving. Today’s homework is to create a gratitude list of all that we are thankful that we have received. What are you grateful for receiving. Write your list, and I will write mine.

I have to admit that I am numbered among the fearful. It’s time fir me to step out of my comfort zone and start giving.

 

Day Five of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Finding Gratitude Converts Fear into Opportunity

“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.”- Anthony Robbins.

When I was a Navy Corpsman reservist, I had been trained to go out with the Marines. The Marine Corps turns every problem into a mission by doing so turn the impossible into the possible.

A marineThe secret behind this magical fete was that they had what they called a “can do attitude”. This can do attitude was based in having gratitude for the opportunity to make a difference. By finding that gratitude, they are able to look for the solutions rather than look for excuses.

An attitude of gratitude is the most powerful tools that a person can use to overcome fear. As Anthony Robbins said in the opening quote, fear and gratitude cannot co-exist. How can I apply gratitude to my situation today? How can I use it to make a difference?

piccinni roland operaThe first thing that I believe that I must be grateful for is my past. It is my past that got me to the point where I am now. It is the past that has led me to this point in my journey through life. Without it I would not have the experiences that I have now. Without my past I also wouldn’t be at the point that I am so that I know that I can now face my fears.

My current mission is in the opportunity that I see in front of me. I can plow through the fear and get through to the other side. The list of fears that I created earlier in the week is simply a list of opportunities for me to grow and for that I am also grateful.

Day four of the Overcoming Fear Challenge: Where am I?

“The offspring of fear is mediocrity.”-Hilton Johnson

When I was a reservist, we would sometimes go up to Fort Leonard Wood on maneuvers and one of the things that we did was go out to the woods and learn how to read a map.

monkey

Trying to find a way to get out of the cage that others have placed around you is not an easy task. It is even harder to realize that it is not others that are keeping you there, but rather it is fear inside yourself.

In order to determine how to find our way to where we wanted to go, we had to shoot what they call an azimuth or a direction in which to begin moving.  Before we could shoot the azimuth, however, we had to figure out exactly where we were. It is certainly a rule that we cannot get to where we want to go unless we first know where we are right now.

If you ask anyone what the number one thing that you need to do to overcome fear is “to face it”, but that’s a just a meaningless cliche that everyone uses. It doesn’t really mean anything. What does it really mean. For me, I have to first face the fear of where I am and understand how I got here. I realize that I can’t get to where I want to go without first understanding where I am.

I know I can express to people how important it is to have courage. The mentoring that I got from my mentor when I was a child was to play it safe. He tried to give me what he thought was good advice, which was  not to do things that were too risky.

Orangetang

Even when you have a big orange ego, you’re still not big enough to beat down that door and you feel at times as though you should just give up. Instead of giving up, t is time to look for a key instead of looking for something to use to beat down the door.

I rebelled against that advice and determined to find another way to get out of the situation I was in so I determined that I took a trip from Pennsylvania to California where I didn’t know anyone and thought I would get a job. I returned to Pennsylvania after just a few days because I knew I would never make it. I had not prepared for that transition. I then tried to get a job, but only could find mediocre jobs that hardly paid the bills. Therefore I joined the Navy so that I could get away from the situation. The list of situations goes on. I can name situation after situation where I would try to find the shortcut to the success I was looking to find. My life was like a fad diet. A get rich quick scheme. It never led anywhere, but toward looking for the next and better shiny object upon which to set my sights, always desiring, never achieving, never attaining the success to which I searched. Even though I seemed to be taking risks, those risks were motivated  by fear.

Put in the work, I saw the moves as a means to an end to get me to where I wanted to go in my life. How were those things to help me take me to where I wanted to go rather than going to school and getting my degree, I was looking for a shortcut. I was looking for a shortcut because I was listening to fear, and I set my course to show my mentor that he was wrong. I thought that doing these things would be the easiest way, but it was motivated by fear because I was afraid that he was right. I still hear that voice in my head telling me that I am not good enough and that I am not able to do what it takes to fulfill my dreams. I have been listening to a lie and trying to run from it. Instead of becoming the writer that I know I can become, I have settled for a life of mediocrity.

As Thoreau said in Walden, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats.”

I know where I am. I have my bearings. I have found the underlying fear that motivated me thus far. I know the landmarks of this place and have found it on the map of my life. I know my destination and I can now begin shooting the azimuth and begin my journey out of this valley of mediocrity.

Challenge Day 3: Fear Disguised as Procrastination

I observe myself procrastinating things that I love doing all the time. I do it because I don’t want to have to face the new thing that I have to face that will bring changes in my life. For instance, I have three books that I am currently editing for publication.

procrastination flowchartOne of them is the still unnamed book of poems that my Dad R Leonard Swanson when he was alive that I am adding memories that relate to those poems. Another is my book Simply Vegetable Gardening.

Dad’s book I have been procrastinating because I really don’t want to call his life’s work finished. Yesterday I was thinking about something that my Dad had told me about. I had some questions about it, but then I realized that I had no way of asking him because he is no longer with us. I have no doubt in my mind that this procrastination is my fear of letting go of him. Coupled with that is the fact that six weeks later, my eldest brother died. He was my first playmate. Finishing Dad’s book means saying good-bye. It also represents the idea that by having finished that chapter in my life brings me that much closer to “putting nails into my own coffin”. The fear of death keeps me stuck so that I am not finishing this project.

nVtbMzg7Cdd_9820955(2)

Here’s the cover of my new book Simply Vegetable Gardening. What do you think?

My book Simply Vegetable Garden is my first nonfiction book and it is already a month later in publication than I had first intended for it to be. Part of the fear in that book is that I am afraid that no one will buy it. This is one fear that I am plunging through this week. By this weekend, I will have the Kindle version available online and will have the print version ready for review. The sales campaign to my friends and family will begin next week.

Another area that I have been procrastinating in is in finishing my class assignments for school. I am not saying that I am not getting them done on time, because I am. What I am saying is that I have been putting things off until the last minute and then rushing to finish on time. The fear behind this procrastination isn’t really about the school work at all. My fear is related to the fact that I am into my last four classes before I finish my degree. July 30th marks the completion of my last class. Once I finish my degree, I will be facing the challenge of transitioning from student to someone who needs to find meaningful work. I am afraid of this change, but if I intend to reach the goals that I am striving to reach, I must move forward. I must press on.

To combat the temptation to procrastinate because of the fears that I am facing, I must meet this temptation head on. To do this, beginning today, I am going to plow through these projects. Before looking at my e-mails or social media, before working on any other projects, I intend to work on each of these projects at least for fifteen minutes each.

Have you been procrastinating? Have you been putting things off because of some sort of fear? If you have, determine that you will stop procrastinating in those areas today. Do the projects that you have been procrastinating first rather than last. Break through the fear and see what victories lie beyond the veil of procrastination.

 

Challenge Day Two: Dispelling Fear Through Meditation

“Before a person can accomplish anything of an enduring nature in the world, she must first of all acquire some measure of success in the management of her own mind. If a person cannot govern the forces within herself, she cannot hold a firm hand upon the outer activities that form her visible life.” – Mastery of Destiny

river meditationAs I begin this journey of facing my fears, I need to remember that that fear is afraid of itself. Whenever I face it, I need to greet it by name and imagine myself saying to the fear, “Hey you, I see you there and you can’t scare me. I know you want me to run screaming from you, but I am not going to. If you want a piece of me bring it.”
Fear can’t stand up to that kind of awareness. I must continue practicing this and eventually I will transform my anxiety into an ability to rise to the occasion.

Of the list of fears that I wrote yesterday, I included on the list several things that I do not intend to deal with this month. For instance, on that list was the fear of rodents particularly rats and mice. I am not dealing with that because as of right now I live in a home where they are nonexistent. Same goes for my fear of snakes. I don’t need to deal with that fear either. Nor am I going to deal with the fear of heights. No bungee jumping or skydiving this month. I have more pressing fears to face.

The fears that I face are in my own mind. In order gain control of my fears, I need to first gain control of my own thinking. It is said that you learn what it is that you need to learn when you are ready, and yesterday, I saw an interview about Dan Harris talking about his own anxiety and that he dealt with it by using meditation. His new book 10% Happier is at the top of the New York Times Best Seller’s List.

So, for me, today I have begun meditating. I will meditate five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening. The meditating that I am talking about is simple to do, once I have determined that is what I intend doing.

Here’s how simple it is. Set a timer for five minutes. Sit upright in a chair in a quiet location. Close your eyes. Now for the next five minutes, focus on your breathing. When (not if, because they are guaranteed to occur) thoughts come into your mind, dismiss them and return your focus on your breathing.

This is not just something that is toted by “unwashed hippies and rogue gurus”. Many studies have been done concerning meditation and many believe that it is more effective than anxiety medications. Meditation rewires the brain from the anxious flight or fight response to a more restful response to life’s challenges including fear.

The meditation I described above only requires five minutes twice a day. I think I can take five minutes to develop the restful parts of my brain and make them stronger than the fears and anxieties that I feel. Are you willing to also begin developing this fear fighting tool in your life as well? Please comment! It can get very lonely here in cyberspace!