Life Bitch Slap #2: “Fear is a Feeling & You Control Your Feelings”

You do you know. Control your feelings. It’s a fact. Remember back in highschool when your heart was broken and rather than deal with it in a rational manner you screamed your heart out after soccer practice, sobbing in public, making a fool of yourself? No…that never happened to you? Uhhhm me either. Well that was fear of being alone. That was fear of others thinking you weren’t cool. That was fear of being the fool.

You let that fear control you. It became a behavior not a feeling. Which is too bad, because fear is a feeling, and you control your feelings.

I recently read a great quote by Danielle LaPorte:

“Fear will tell you to contract. Open.

Fear will tell you to plow ahead. Pull back and wait.

Fear will tell you not to rock the boat. Dive in.”

I love this so much because so many times in my life I have felt fear and I have let it own me. I have let it smack me into submission, paralyzing me until that which I feared passed me by. Sad story but so true.

Examples include:

Writing a book last year when I had the opportunity.
fears: what if no one bought it? what if people didn’t like it?

Saying yes the first, or second, or sixth time that Peter, my boyfriend, asked me out.*
fears: what if someone in the industry thought it was bad I was dating someone in the industry?
* thank goodness he is persistent.

Putting my mobile app up on kickstarter 6 months ago when I knew it had legs.
fears: what if I don’t reach my goal? what if I create an app no one downloads?

Diving more deeply into parts of marketing that aren’t performance based.
fears: what if I wasn’t good at them? what if people became territorial and were mad at me for it?

These are almost embarrassing to admit. As I write them I realize just how much I worry about what others think, but I suspect we all do worry a bit more than we wish we did. Am I right? AM I RIGHT? Don’t leave me hanging here friends.

The best part of all this fear talk is the bitch slap moment – fear is a feeling and dammit I control my feelings. I control if they actually stop me or if I push past them. LaPorte suggests that we “pay them respect” by acknowledging them and then we ask ourselves… “if they weren’t there what would you do?”

Do that. Do that now. Right now.

You know I am getting my mobile app idea up on kickstarter, and there is a legit chance I won’t reach my funding goal. But guess what? I don’t care. Fear will not become a behavior for me.  It is a feeling, and we control our feelings friends.

So rock on. Go think of something that you are afraid of, high five fear as you acknowledge it and then get on with it. Just get on with it already. You got this.

  • emcgillivray

    I do think asking ourselves “why” and “so what” when it comes to things we fear is an invaluable exercise. Whenever I’ve done that, it’s either released the fear or revealed something deeper going on — an insecurity, a deeply-held value, a life lesson, etc. — which I can them work through in a more thoughtful manner.

    I also hate when I’ve let fear itself cripple what I want to do, and I’m always interested to hear what others are doing. So thank you for sharing!

  • Chris Winfield

    Love this post for so many reasons Joanna. Baseless fear drives so much of our thinking and our actions and it’s a pretty useless thing. I need to be reminded of this daily (actually hourly) so thanks for the reminder today…

  • Kristy Bolsinger

    This is great Joanna. Something I know we all struggle with whether we’re conscious of it or not. I’ve had moments where I definitely didn’t think I was afraid, but once I really pinned down where my anxiety was coming from – sure enough – big ‘fraidy cat. Acknowledge and move on is a great strategy and I love that high five idea!! Now if I can just get better at the acknowledgement bit :)

  • Tracy Mallette

    Thanks for the inspiring post Joanna! So much fear is rooted in how others will perceive us. We have to get over that fear to stand a chance at happiness and success.

  • Benji Craig

    Awesome Post!  This was better than the 2 cups of coffee and 2 cokes I’ve had today.  :)

  • Dennis Goedegebuure

    Thanks for writing this Joanna, I really liked this post.
    I changed my perspective on life after reading the book: “Who Moved My Cheese” A book you can read within 3 hours on how to deal with change. As change is all around us, and is always happening, it’s important how you deal with it.

    One quote in particular has made a lasting impact on me, and made the decision to move from The Netherlands to the US easy for me:
    “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

    I had similar thoughts on the decision;
    - What if I don’t like it in the US?
    - What if I will fail in my new job?
    - What if Fiona will not come with me (we were just dating for 3 months)?
    These questions all came out of my fears.

    The thought: What would you do if you weren’t afraid, changed everything around…
    If I didn’t like it, I could always go back.
    I Wouldn’t fail in my job, as I had great people around me
    If Fiona wouldn’t come with me, I would just be more persistent!

    And look at us now, we moved to the US, got married and my daughter was born, all in one year!
    I was promoted multiple time in my job, and got to pursue other challenges, like speaking in public.

    Now I feel a new fear again.. expecting our 3rd child, I fear time management in my family.
    But I’m sure we will manage…

  • Farky Rafiq

    Excellent post Joanne, i recently read a book called kiss that frog! By Brian Tracy The book helps you control that fear in everyday life. its partly based on transactional analysis which is cool!

  • Bryant

    Wow. #wakeupcall That was the best thing I’ve read today.


  • Festus agevi

    wahoo its fantastic story,i like it.

  • Christopher West

    Well don Joanna – getting over fear is the hardest thing to do… I started writing and stopped (but that was distraction) – even now I get a bit nervous sending out important emails :)

  • Illiya Vjestica

    Great post Joanna. Thank you so much for sharing. I too have suffered from my own fears for a long time in my life. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. People can get a lot of out it. 

    In the end you can’t control the ‘What ifs’ in life. I’ve had to both force and train myself to embrace the uncertainty. But the uncertainty is what it’s all about.