I’d like you to meet Tracey. Tracey is a pterodactyl and she likes to wear a tutu. It is a pink tutu to be exact; the stereotypical ones that ballet dancers wear. It sounds like a ridiculous concept and it is. It will seem even more ridiculous when I say that Tracey is the identity I have given to represent my fear.
Let’s back track and give this some context.
Fear is a brilliant tool in the evolutionary process. It helps us avoid situations that put us in danger and enables the fight or flight mode to give us maximum safety. Fantastic news if we are at risk from a sabre-tooth tiger attack! However, what role does it play in our modern lives? Primarily, it is a fear of failure. It is a deep-rooted, subconscious, controlling device that may stop us from going for that promotion, or learning a new skill or achieving our goals. We avoid risk. We avoid bravery. We avoid opportunity and excitement.
I realised a few years ago that fear was massively holding me back and I was determined to find a solution.
I started to break it down:
Fear is a process whereby:
- You use every experience in your PAST to
- impact your actions in the PRESENT,
- based on predictions you create of the FUTURE.
Let’s take a very real example. Since I’ve been running motivational choirs,which are open to all, I have seen so many people let fear hold them back.
Everyone can join our choirs regardless of ability. EVERYONE. Yet, the sentence I hear more than any other is “I can’t sing.” I hear fear talking. Let’s take a look at the fear thought process…
Every time (in the PAST) when I have started singing people have criticised me and it has made me feel bad. Therefore now (in the PRESENT) I choose not to sing because I fear that when I do (in the FUTURE) people will criticise me and I will feel bad. Therefore I shall never sing again to prevent this possible outcome.
Often when fear stands in the way,we cannot see the alternative solution which may look like something like this:
- Every time (in the PAST) when I started singing, people have criticised me and it has made me feel bad.
- Therefore now (in the PRESENT) I choose to sing which will improve my ability and I will learn skills I have never had before.
- Therefore, (in the FUTURE) I will be a stronger singer and have more confidence in my voice.
The past is gone and cannot be changed so there is no value in letting it impact the rest of your life. Let it go. Shake it off. Do not let fear exist here.
The future hasn’t happened yet. It is open with possibility and an infinite amount of different outcomes. Do not focus on a negative outcome. Let it go. Shake it off. Do not let fear exist here.
The present is the most magical of all places. It is right now! It is living! It is the decisions and actions you are making right now. If you choose not to let fear from past experiences or future inventions impact you here, you are free. Free to make any choices you want.
Let it go. Shake it off. Do not let fear exist here.
Fear has held a big grip on my life so I cannot say it has never existed. However, I am choosing for it to cease to exist. Become extinct. Like pterodactyls. Like Tracey.
I take fear out of my head and give it the persona of a tutu-wearing pterodactryl called Tracey. It makes it much easier to have a rational conversation with my fear. It makes it easier to laugh at myself. It makes it easier to see things clearly.
I imagine Tracey as a hungry pterodactyl who can only survive on my anxiety and worries. It makes me determined that these shouldn’t exist. I might throw Tracey an imaginary chocolate bar and let her sulk in the corner; however I am more powerful than her and will not let her impact my decisions. She’ll say “Please be scared of x, y or z” and I’ll respond, “No Tracey. I can see what you are doing and I am not going to feed you.”
Tracey has helped me discover a lot about myself and over time I’ve chatted to her less. Sometimes she fades away and sometimes she comes back. I’m grateful for Tracey as her creation paved a way for me to have more control in my life and have fun on my self-development journey. Could a similar creation help you take more control of yours?
You now have three options..
- Laugh whimsically at this post, make a cuppa and forget you ever read it
- Call the men in white coats – I do sound pretty crazy
- Have a little chat with your fear and begin a powerful journey
Which will you choose?
Patrick Steed has a passion for adventure, inspiring people and creating music. He is Champion of Excellence for Sing & Inspire and enjoys training choir motivators across the UK. He is also a Musical Theatre Composer & Lyricist and his first musical ‘Stalking John Barrowman’ has achieved incredible success. To support Patrick’s journey, please follow his journal posts at www.patricksteed.co.uk and follow him on twitter: @deetsKirtap