Looking Deep Into the Eyes of Your Fear

livelikejayFear is an exceptionally personal emotion, while also being universal. Almost every human being feels it at some point in their lives. When I decided to really look at my fears and what triggered them, I realized I feel fear multiple times each day. And the smallest things can trigger the feeling. Why so many small ones? Because there is at least one giant fear underlying and underpinning it all. The question is, what is it for you?

Once again a movie has inspired me to write this column. On the treadmill at Gold’s I watched Chasing Mavericks about Jay Moriarty’s (1978-2001) passion to surf Mavericks and the teacher and friend he had in Frosty Hesson whose knowledge and wisdom he had to guide him.

Mavericks is located 30 minutes from San Mateo, CA where, with the right conditions of El Nino hitting, 30-40 foot waves are generated. Only a select few surfers pursue and can surf those waves. At age 12, Jay approached Frosty to teach him how to surf, by age 14 he decided he wanted to learn to surf Mavericks, and by age 16 he did so successfully.

The movie is based on Frosty’s book Making Mavericks, and he has three key points which he communicates: Dream. Dream Big. Do the work. And you’ll be amazed by what you accomplish.

Jay also had specific personality traits which helped him succeed. He had a clear, big vision, and he had enthusiasm for life and a super positive attitude. This fueled his ongoing dedication and perseverance to learn the skills and build the stamina needed for his success. He lived life in completely and in joy. And he had courage. He had courage not only to face walls of hundreds of tons water, but most importantly the fears deep inside of him. “Fear and panic are two separate emotions. Fear is healthy, panic is deadly,” says Frosty in the movie. That panic will come if one hasn’t come to peace and recognized ones deepest fears, and it can take place in any circumstance to anyone. One of the exercises Frosty had Jay do to break through the fear and be emotionally ready for what he would face was to write an essay of what he feared. What was truly at his core. By facing them, he gained his freedom.

I write this here because I have some personal fears which I know are holding me back from accomplishing my dreams. If you are an innovator, entrepreneur and creator, you are a builder. To build freely, with exuberant energy, it is easiest when the passion comes from within, and is allowed to flow out without the inhibitions of fear. I have the determination to face my fears because right now they are stalling me.

So here’s a To Do: write a letter to someone (anyone, yourself, god, whoever you share you deepest secrets too) and share what you fear most deeply in your heart. And if you are just writing words, then write it again, until you truly have tapped in and faced that fear or fears, and expressed it. By seeing and naming a fear, it immediately stops having power over us and starts to dissipate. The more we look right at it, the more it loses power over us. Avoidance gives it power. Yeah, ironic but true. (And, by the way, this works with all difficult emotions like pain and anger).

If you’re willing to share your thoughts and experiences with fear and how you faced it, I welcome reading that.

Ta! for now – I’m off to write that letter.

by Limor Schafman

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