MacDonald: Don’t let fear hold you back |

MacDonald: Don’t let fear hold you back

What is that one thing that holds you back? What gets in the way of you doing what you know you need to do in order to be more successful? It’s not all the busy work you have to do. It’s not the interruptions and distractions. It’s not even the emergencies and the tyranny of the urgent. All of those are just convenient excuses to stay stuck in your grind. It’s only one thing that holds you back. It’s fear!

Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of ridicule. Fear of being alone. It doesn’t matter what kind of fear it is. The bottom line is … it’s fear!

Here’s the good news. Fear, per say, is not real. Bad news is … it feels real and can be a debilitating or even paralyzing emotion. Fear is imagined. It is generated in our minds from the story we make up about what we don’t want to have happen. Danger, however, is real and should be navigated accordingly.

Many people mistakenly think that there are people who don’t have fear, they are courageous and that’s why they are successful. The absence of fear is not courage. It’s brain damage. Everybody feels fear.

The trick is to manage yourself effectively in relation to the fear you experience. The people that are at the top of their game experience fear. Many world-class athletes throw up before they get out on the field. Many world-renowned speakers and performers do the same and even have handlers who have to coax them backstage to get on the stage.

Fear is extra energy. The question is: How will you direct that extra energy?

The exciting news is that every great thing you want to accomplish for yourself is on the other side of your fear.

Here’s an image for you — you are in your current, comfort bubble within which you operate and retreat to daily; the infinite possibility of what you want to do, be or have is on the outside, beyond that bubble. The membrane of that bubble that separates where you are now from where you want to get to is an imaginary barrier of fear.

So how do you penetrate that bubble and start experiencing more of what you really want for yourself?

Here is a simple 30-second, three-step process.

1. Breathe. It calms your nervous system. Psychotherapist Fritz Perls said, “Fear is excitement without the breath.” What you are experiencing may not even be fear at all. Take a deep, cleansing breath right now. Remember to do it throughout your day, especially when you feel fear.

2. Breathe and reverse your desire. When you feel the fear, remember you are at choice. You can either retreat back inside your bubble or you can free yourself and expand beyond to greater things. Stop wasting your life in probability and start living in possibility.

3. Breath and optimize expectations. Imagine a spectrum of expectations. On the minus side is what you are afraid of happening; on the other side is what you could get excited about happening. Take 10 seconds and stack more expectations on the plus side and eliminate expectations on the minus side. Based on where you focus your energy, you are either feeding your fear or optimizing your potential.

This week, remember: When you feel fear, take 30 seconds and perform each step; notice what becomes possible for you.

Make it up, make it fun and make it happen!

Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He can be reached at and 530-273-8000.

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