I've been thinking about fear a lot lately - and in particular the way it shows up in my life and in the lives of the women around me.
Here’s an example from my life - I launched this #SpartaChicks project well over 2 months ago now. It’s something I’ve seen a need for, and wanted to create, for years.
And yet the minute I launched it out into the world, writer’s block hit. All the inspiring stories, great ideas and passionate arguments disappeared from my brain as soon as my fingers pressed the ‘publish’ button on the website.
But if I’m honest, that’s not entirely true….
I kept writing - I’ve written thousands of words since then - but I haven’t published a single word. Time and time again I’ve written, deleted, edited and re-written material because I’m scared it isn’t “good enough” or I can’t find the “right” way to share what I’m thinking.
But really it’s just another way fear shows up.
Whether it’s ‘writer’s block’, perfectionism, not wanting to be seen in public in lycra, worrying about what other people will think, not inviting friend’s around for a BBQ because the house is a mess, not speaking up in a meeting or not signing up for a race or event because you aren’t “ready” (and in a thousand other ways), at its core is a fear of judgement.
What will other people think?
The fear of judgement is nothing new for me or, I suspect, you.
It’s so deep-seated and engrained in most women, I can’t help but think it originates from a time when women’s survival depending on the (good) judgement of others. We couldn’t rock the boat. We had to fit in to survive, otherwise we risked being exiled from our tribe, stolen by the neighbouring tribe, starving to death or being eaten by whatever carnivores animal lived nearby. We depended on being judged favourably for our very survival.
So it’s hardly surprising it bubbles to the surface from the depths of our soul when we try to stand out from the crowd.
When we put ourselves on display for the world to see - whether it’s by posting something on the interweb, going for run around the block or speaking up in a meeting. And what happens then? We wait anxiously, holding our breath, wondering if when and how the onslaught of judgement will rain down on us.
Ok, maybe you aren’t literally sitting there, constantly hitting refresh on your emails, waiting for it to arrive - but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a part of your subconscious that’s bracing for impact….
The problem, of course, is that when our decisions are influenced by our fears (of judgement), our lives become shaped by our fears rather than our dreams.
Our fears create boundaries and we live inside those boundaries, inside our so-called “comfort zone” which (as you and I both know) isn’t very comfortable.
I wonder if that’s why so many women - including myself - get to our 30s and 40s and feel like we’ve lost a bit of ourselves. That we don’t really know who we are anymore. And that we want - and actually need - to do something for ourselves again.
To be honest, I don’t think you ever lose the fear of judgement. It will always be there, hovering in the background. You’ll always feel nervous, anxious and scared when you’re testing the boundaries of your comfort zone.
But you can become comfortable feeling uncomfortable when you’re moving towards goals in spite of your fears. That’s not to say your fears won’t continue to bubble - hello perfectionism! - but you’ll become aware when it happens and can start to deal with it.
So it’s time for both of us to #bebrave
My challenge to you - identify one way the fear of judgement still rattles your cage.
It might be connected to your health and fitness - or it might be related to how tidy your house is, whether you speak up in meetings or the work you put out into the universe. And start making choices based on what’s important to you, rather than what you fear. Leave a comment below and share what it is and how you're choosing to tackle it.
As for me, I’m accepting this challenge too..
So here’s what you can expect from #SpartaChicks; fortnightly blog posts and emails packed full of warts-and-all honesty and open discussions about fears, mindset, confidence with practical strategies, tools, tips and techniques you can use to deal with them — coupled with a lot of adventure and an overarching mission to do everything I can to help you bust out of your comfort zone, follow your dreams (especially the ones that scare you) and live an extraordinary life.
Here’s to many great adventures to come (for both of us!),