If I am to dance with fear, I need to know its motivators, its instigators. There are many things which I have eagerly identified as fear-inducing. I have a great fear of falling which has perpetuated nightmares over the years and honed my reticence to skydive – though this is on my docket for 2015, God help me. I also have a fear of failing – of missing the jackpot of success for any given project or task. Sometimes even practicing avoidance or procrastination in order to side step or miss the possibility of failure. Of course, this never works and only perpetuates the fear of failing.
While I understand these fears, I have decided to investigate further and determine the roots, the truth behind them. I want to dance, but I must create choreography that is in step with my dance partner, correct? In this case, my partner is fear and while the truth behind these two fears seems obvious, I think there is more.
Since I was very young, I have had recurring dreams of falling. One first occurred when I was very young and was of me falling off a cloud toward earth at a very high speed.
Others may dream of flying, this has not been the case for me.
Another recurring dream is of me falling out of the rafters of the church I attended in my youth, others include losing my footing on a mountain trail or a simple stumble off a curb. Until recently, these dreams / nightmares were consistent.
I Blame “Control”
Not feeling in control can lead to all kinds of physical, mental, or emotional responses. Falling is indicative of a lack of “control of self” – a force greater than I is at work, gravity. These types of dreams are fewer and farther between for me – as I have gained control of certain aspects of my life, I believe this fear of falling may be dissipating. I will confess that this fear is not without merit, as I have fallen off a ladder and taken a very serious tumble on cobblestone in high heels before – damn the “shoes of women”.
Control plagues me less these days as I have found my sweet spot, for now. Yes, jumping out of an airplane, on purpose, still scares the crap out of me.
If, perhaps, I sort my intention and state it, declaring a specification of purpose – the power becomes mine. I have crafted it.
Failure is Another Story
Several years ago, I added strategy more prevalently, not only to my vocabulary, but to my work. I had moved into a role which required me to think beyond the realms of everyday possibilities. The expectation was real that I would make a difference, that my work mattered – truly. What if I failed? How would I face my client or employer? How would I face myself?
Never underestimate the power of forces unseen.
Once, during a time of professional distress, I told a friend, “Things are just terrible right now – they cannot get worse.” She smirked and then laughed – I didn’t understand her laughter until she told me what her father always cautioned, “Things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.” She had fond memories of her dad’s warning – her message changed my perception. Preparation is key. Of course, we cannot be prepared for everything or “the worst” but if we remind ourselves of all possibilities, the burden and fog of dread lifts slightly to reveal not just fear of failure but potential for success.
Learning the Dance
The greatest lesson for me has been that I can only do what I can do – BUT I can do it better each time, never settle for what once was – there is always a better way. If I am not consciously pursuing the better way at all times, then I am failing.
So…, I do control whether or not I fail. I am responsible – it rests on me.
To dance with fear and have a great time, I must take the lead. I must guide the direction of the dance and understand timing and rhythm. And it’s ok to step on a few toes.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and…
Now is my time to dance.
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