Have you hesitated in hiring a copywriting service for fear of losing control of your content?
Has the grandeur of your personal dreams paralyzed you from bringing them to reality?
Is the depth and breadth of your business plan leaving you frozen in inactivity?
Or, perhaps the ideas that intimidate you are a bit smaller in scale.
Do you shrink back from inputting creative ideas on a project afraid they will not be well received?
Have you avoided a respected colleague as you wonder if he or she will return the conversation or respect?
Has your work fallen below par due to worry of what excelling means to your life and responsibilities?
If so, you are in good company.
Perhaps for some, your deer-in-the-headlights look might not fit perfectly into one of the above situations. But, I venture to guess that a similar-at-heart scenario was triggered as you read. Truthfully, and unfortunately for each of us, the temptation to freeze in our encounters with fear is common even if subtle.
On the down side, allowing fear to reap its negative impact hurts us personally through lost opportunities and fulfillment. In many ways, it holds us captive to the status quo or worse, the past. And, fear robs others of benefitting from our gifts, talents and skills (which we ALL possess whether you believe it or not!)
The up side?
This seemingly negative response offers opportunities, spurs motivation and ignites imagination to those brave enough to grab hold and fight. But, we must choose to look at these stand-offs with fear from refreshed eyes and a renewed attitude. And, I am guessing you will be surprised by the confidence and positive victories which will come of it.
This bravery does not require you to stop the shaking and trembling. It requires that you move in spite of it. And, I cannot promise an easy road or instant glorious results, but it beats the status quo which even in the best cases loses it luster as time marches on.
What Are You Afraid Of?
Fears come in all shapes, colors, sizes and patterns. Ask 100 people and likely you will get 50 to 75 different answers as to each person’s top fear. Ask 1,000 people and themes rise to the top.
In fact, recently published, the Chapman University Survey of American Fears addressed 11 domains of fear with a random sample of 1, 511 adults. The conclusion? Government corruption and terrorist attacks rose to the top of the list.
While these circumstantially based fears cause us to keep a watchful eye, a few thought based fears just may prove common to many of us. Considering our everyday interactions, these fears impact our work and relationships.
See if you relate to any of them.
Fear of Missing Out
Modern slang terms it FOMO. And, the definition indicates a need to be “continually connected with what others are doing” or the fear of regret. Potentially aggravated by the use of social media and mobile culture to continually keep in-the-know, the fear of missing out depletes our satisfaction with life and our ability to experience gratitude.
And, in desperate attempt to keep up and end the fear of missing out, we find ourselves over-extended or rethinking every decision on how we spend our time. This distraction prevents our full focus on worthy projects and relationships, and energy and time are sucked from us. Yes, even long-term goals fall prey to this fear.
Fear of Not Measuring Up
The Comparison Trap keeps us in bondage. Continually measuring our bodies, marriages, families, jobs, friendships, successes, failures and more against the people we know and meet builds fear. And, social media fuels this insecurity as we post only the glorious highlights of our lives.
With photo-apped and carefully (or not so carefully) scripted representations of our lives, the glaring deficiencies, inadequacies and failures in the lives of those watching stand in stark contrast in their hearts and minds. Be aware that the facade appears offline as well in some cases. Either way, our perspective is skewed and fear sets in. What if I don’t measure up?
Fear of Incompetence
Similarly, feelings of lacking the skills or character qualities to live and work well raise the fear of incompetence. Often, it is birthed in our upbringing and the ways in which we learned to view and manage life. But, harsh life situations in our adult years foster it as well.
Additionally, a quest for excellence can cause us to shrink back from tasks or projects which test our abilities. After all, it is safer to stay where you know your skills are a match for the job at hand. In other words, keep in mind that even those excelling in their work fall victim to this fear.
Fear of Failure
“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel,” claimed author, Eloise Ristad. Similar ideas have been spoken across the ages on the necessity and commonality of failure. Yet, the idea proves slippery to hold onto as we walk out life.
Every life transition, bend in the road or new endeavor leaves many of us, even the seemingly confident, quaking at least a bit. And, for some, the fear of failure overtakes the promises of success, holding a person fast or even sending them reeling backward. After all, the reminder of mocking laughter on the playground or whispering around the office may bring that fear flooding back.
Fear of Success
Does that sound crazy? A fear of success?
But, I wonder how many of us indeed are frightened by what could be, even if it promises to be good. Now, before you think, “No way, not me.” Consider it.
For one, the big vision and the potential that lies ahead is unknown. And, uncertainty tends to breed a bit of trembling in even the strongest of people. After all, we gravitate to security and comfort, even if found in less pleasant circumstances.
Two, even with a clear picture of where you are headed, sometimes the size and proportion of the dream prove overwhelming. Plus, feeling small in comparison to even a bright future raises additional fears of incompetence and failure.
What Fear Takes From You
So, can you relate?
Have you experienced the paralyzing effect of fear?
In some cases, busying ourselves with less important, mundane, easily accomplished tasks, reveals our fear of tackling the one project we know needs to get done. At other times, fear freezes us on the platform or literally sends us running back to bed before we even have the chance to succeed or fail.
The truth is that fear takes a great deal from us. This emotional response weights and distracts us. It occupies us in ways seen and unseen. And, causes physical changes and reactions within us.
More specifically, fear zaps us of creativity, energy and productivity. And, I am certain you can list a few others such as peace, joy, growth and success. Let’s talk about a few of these losses.
Fear suppresses innovation and creativity. In fact, a prominent psychologist, Dr. Will Schutz, believed that fear ranks as the number one block to the creative process. And, without creativity, we lose the ability to tackle problems and make decisions as well as generate new ideas.
After all, if fear keeps you in the status quo or sends you into the previously known, there is no room for new thoughts and ideas. For all intents and purposes, you are in survival mode, fight or flight. Think back to a time when fear truly gripped you. Did any novel ideas birth from the midst of it?
Our bodily response to fear includes a quickened heart rate, dilated pupils, tense muscles and the activation of sweat. Sound similar to that high impact cardio workout you did this morning at the gym? It is. When faced with fear, our body prepares for flight or fight to protect us and keep us alive.
While fear initially produces energy for a good purpose, maintaining this emotion for an extended time depletes our energy stores. Also, with this sustained biological response comes physical issues such as headaches, depression, gastrointestinal issues, cardiovascular damage and a weakened immune system. In fact, researchers recognize the negative health impact of fear even over perceived, not real, threats.
Ruminating fears slow your pace and therefore, productivity. In particular, memory, brain processing and reactivity take a hit. For instance, fear interrupts brain processes which decrease our ability to think and make decisions in positive ways. As a result, unproductive intense emotions and impulsive responses tend to dominate our reactions.
Plus, the bottom line is: How can you get anything done frozen in your fears? While the fear response proves useful when faced with a giant grizzly in your path, it fails to help you decide to tackle your inbox or concentrate on spending quality time with your family. While some may work harder when in the grips of fear, they do not work better.
Have you had enough?
It is time to stop this thievery and stand up to our fears. Take back what is rightfully ours.
What Fear Gives to You
Fortunately, there is an up side.
As we prepare to be bold and courageous, an important step is realizing what fear unwittingly gives us. Yes, while we tend to focus on the negatives of this experience and avoid it at all costs, fear offers us opportunity, motivation and imagination (to name only a few benefits).
And, armed with this understanding, we move toward progress. Yes, recognizing our fears coupled with adopting a fresh attitude of this seemingly negative emotional response, heals us. In other words, we need a new angle.
Are you ready for it?
While fear works to make us unproductive, it also holds out the opportunity for us to grow personally and professionally. Through these experiences, we learn to:
- Overcome obstacles.
- Push past excuses.
- Adjust perspective.
- Recognize truth.
- Accept failure.
- Know the victory of rising again.
- Acknowledge incompetencies.
- Create new strategies.
- Enjoy greater health.
- And, so much more.
With an eye to these opportunities, doesn’t it seem like crazier thinking that we choose to stay paralyzed by our fear?
Think back to our discussion above. How do you see fear inadvertently gifting you the opportunity to take back those things it steals?
The stress of a fearful emotional response calls for action. It motivates us to do something. In other words, fear is relieved by moving in one direction or the other.
You can choose to move back and maintain the status quo, flight. Or, you can engage the fear and accept the challenge, fight. This attitude helps us do some of our best work. In fact, according to health psychologist, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, adrenaline (present with anxiety and fear) enhances performance.
Fear forces us to think about our options and begs us to explore them. If we take a moment to consider it, fear forces imagination. While admittedly many of the options may prove negative or unrealistic, nevertheless, our minds fill with ideas.
Think again of a moment when you last experienced a scary unknown. How quickly did all the possible outcomes fly through your mind? Likely, as if frames of a film, they flowed into one disjointed mental movie.
For a novel perspective, stop right now and listen to this TED talk by novelist, Karen Thompson Walker on What Fear Can Teach Us. Hear carefully how she relabels fears as stories and what this means to you and me.
Did you listen to Karen Thompson Walker?
If not? Do it now!
If “yes”? What did you think?
What if you explored the “What will happen next?” of your fear? What have you got to lose in trying?
After all, inaction only keeps you responding in your same learned patterns. To get unstuck, you need a change in your thoughts and behaviors. And, you may be surprised how the smallest of changes leads to big impact. And, the hidden agenda? This motivates more positive change.
To develop a new attitude around fear, begin by adopting and practicing one of the following suggestions:
- Read your fears and accept their gift.
- Develop a healthy attitude around fear.
- Gather a support network.
- Eliminate excuses.
- Try something new.
- Learn the art of being ok with failure.
- Give yourself grace for missteps.
So, what will happen next? What step will you take in response to your fear?
Are you ready to wrestle for all the good that fear has to offer you?
I hope so because as Jack Canfield, author and life coach, said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
How a Copywriting Service Can Help
The world of business holds plenty of potential for fear to paralyze. Your vision, what it requires to get there, the struggles and plateaus, promotions and client project approval bring opportunity for fear to arise. And, in an arena built on and applauding success, this proves the very enemy of what you dream of accomplishing.
Furthermore, ever changing strategies leave little time for the paralysis of fear. Decisions around remote or traditional work, a copywriting service or DIY content, social media platforms or website alone breed anxiety which threatens to knock you out. The time has come to adopt a new attitude around fear. Yes, grab hold of its hidden gifts and leverage them for your success.
As you navigate the new and the unknown, check out our blogs to help you produce great content or understand the value of social media to your marketing campaign. Discover our free headline creation tool or ask us about our copywriting service.
P.S. Be sure to leave a comment as to how you find confidence in the midst of fear. Your stories inspire and teach us.