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Fear and excitement and how to reframe them for success

fear and excitement
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Life coach Mel Robbins teaches that fear and excitement feel the same in our bodies. The only difference between the two is what happens in our brains.

She advises to resist pushing down the fear you feel before giving a speech or going on a first date. When your body is in a state of heightened agitation, the worst thing to do is force it to calm down.

When you attempt to ignore your fears, it can actually make them worse. Lying to ourselves this way never works and only creates cognitive dissonance.

The way you feel when boarding a roller coaster feels similar to the experience of getting ready to deliver a big speech. But our mental chatter tells us it’s something different and that’s where excitement turns into fear.

Lean into fear and excitement

So, instead of forcing your body to calm down or lying to yourself that this is not a big deal, lean in. Mel says to tell yourself you’re excited, because this is true.

The fear you feel when doing something positive for your personal growth is different than the fear that warns you of danger. It’s this good fear we want to get past, not by denying its existence, but by changing the story we tell about it.

Instead of ruminating over how nervous you are to give a speech or go on a date, tell the truth that you’re excited.

Instead of ruminating over how nervous you are to give a speech or go on a date, tell the truth that you're excited. Click To Tweet

Speak out loud to yourself, “I’m so excited to be meeting X. Or I’m excited to be giving this talk that will impact people in a positive way.”

Acknowledge the past

fear and excitement

Past experience influences our present feelings, whether those happened in adulthood or childhood. For example, a bad dating experience will make you more nervous about an upcoming rendezvous.

If you grew up without emotional support, you might find such nervous feelings overwhelming. You protect yourself with these feelings by anticipating pain and disappointment rather than being ambushed by it.

But now as an adult, you have resources to draw on, both internal and external. You can consult with a coach or therapist, or share your feelings with a friend. Or do some research on how to handle these feelings in a positive way.

It’s essential that we face healthy fears so we can have the lives we want. We must face and overcome uncomfortable situations to move to the next level in work and relationships.

It's essential that we face healthy fears so we can have the lives we want. Click To Tweet

If you want to meet your life partner, you have to go on dates. If you want to level up in your career, you must ask for the promotion, give the speech, etc.

Life-giving opportunities can be scary. But when we re-frame them as excitement, our potential to succeed at them increases.

Practice self-compassion

Give yourself compassion when you experience fear and excitement. Never criticize yourself for feeling this way. Or “should on yourself” that your feelings are wrong.

Mama Gena says to always tell yourself that whatever you’re feeling is right. We have a tendency to frame our feelings as good or bad, but they are neither.

Feelings send us messages and we have the power to reframe those messages to serve us in the most beneficial way. The worst thing you can do is minimize or ignore your feelings.

That could lead to unpreparedness that will, in fact, reduce your effectiveness and bring the result you dread. Instead, embrace fear and excitement as two sides of the same coin and create a new reality for yourself.

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