Posts Tagged :

fear

Are You Scared Of Being Accomplished?

I sat down to write a singing-related newsletter but all the topics kept falling flat (no offense, singing, I still love you, but that's the truth).

At this moment, on the verge of 2017, my mind and heart are seated on the metaphysical equivalent of a Six Flags rollercoaster.

There's a fine line for me to walk with respect to divulging personal thoughts. I don't want to veer too far off topic -- you most likely found me online and enjoyed my singing lessons and info, and Dr. Phil moments might not be your thing --

But what the hell. Maybe we can relate to each other and stuff. 🙂

Here goes.

Accomplishment scares the sh*t out of me.

On the Grand Staircase of Life (I don't even know what that means? But let's embrace this architectural metaphor for a second) I do this thing where I painstakingly climb to a new, higher step, look around, smile, feel the accomplishment, take a breath....

...then feel the blistering altitude, the ensuing vertigo, clutch my pearls*, start screaming "It's too high! It's just...too...high!" and summon all my willpower / recite every motivational mantra / close my eyes and sway softly in order not to tumble straight back down.

(*I don't actually wear pearls.)

Bottom line: fear makes every accomplishment feel risky.

I'm pointing this out because this is way more subtle than I, and maybe you, ever thought. I always thought fear was OBVIOUS, like a villain in a movie. Sneering and greasy and wearing dark clothing and speaking in vague accents.

But in real life, fear works undercover. Fear stages subconscious sabotage. Fear dresses up as "common sense."

Fear isn't a monster. Fear is familiar. Fear tells us:

"If I [ACCOMPLISH X] then there are downsides. Better stay safe."

"And if I DON'T [ACCOMPLISH X] then there are actually many benefits! Life can stay warm, fuzzy, comforting, and status quo."

Here are some examples taken from "Fel's Fear Brain," a mysterious and baffling entity:

  • "If I become more confident, then there are actually downsides. I could turn off my friends, my customers, my family, and be a lonely, confident weirdo."
  • "If I DON'T become more confident, at least I know I'm taken care of, and life will stay normal and steady and familiar."
  • "If I perform more, then there are actually downsides. I'll seem like a stuck-up, attention-seeking nut. Worse, I could make a fool of myself, and invite ridicule, and make people think I *think* I'm so amazing, when in reality, I'm not!"
  • "If I DON'T perform more, at least I can stick to what's working, and not suffer any embarrassment or revelations that I actually suck."
  • "If I grow my business, then there are actually downsides. I'll lose touch with the people I love (you, my students), I won't have any time, I will stop being genuine, I will become a greedy freak, I will grow a goatee and laugh maniacally."
  • "If I DON'T grow my business, I won't have to worry about more responsibility, or any competition, or any other conflicts. I'll stay small but familiar, and unthreatening."

....I think you get the idea?

But even though I'm shaken and wary, I feel hopeful. Why? Because I'm NOTICING this dynamic.

Noticing fear's subtle UPSIDE/DOWNSIDE tactic is the first step to moving beyond it.

So I'm asking you to ask yourself, on the verge of 2017, to do the same.

Time to engage in a long, hard, intimate, maybe even sexy stare at your fears.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I holding myself back from doing?
  • Is it...singing more?
  • Making time for myself?
  • Taking care of my body and exercising?
  • Performing in front of others?
  • Auditioning for that local musical?
  • Speaking in front of coworkers?
  • Giving a lecture at a nearby school?
  • Asking for a raise?
  • Changing careers because WHAT THE HELL?
  • Starting my own online business?
  • Writing that love letter?

Fear will act accordingly. It will show you all the DOWNSIDES of acting up. It will also show you all the BENEFITS of staying exactly as you are.

But we know better now, don't we?

When you're on the "Grand Staircase Of Life" (lol this metaphor), and you summon the courage to take one step higher, before you leap back down, take a pause and remember:

  • You are not alone. We are all secretly worried, wondering, seeking, embarrassed, and winging it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
  • Acting with faith and courage is (1) easy to write in a social media quote, (2) really f*cking hard to do in real life. ("Leap and the net will appear" -- YEAH OKAY HOW ABOUT NO?) 🙂 But it will get easier.
  • Have patience through the fear. If you can feel fear or discomfort and not run from it, often you can literally change the feeling. A daily meditation practice (or daily singing practice! for many, singing = meditation) can help you hone in on these fearful feelings, and ultimately release them.
  • You are contributing to a higher good. When we elevate our state, and move toward joy, we elevate the mood of the planet. (Example: "Auditioning for that local musical means I will move closer to my dream of performing, which means I will live with more joy, which means I will encourage others to do the same.)

Here's the moment where we all take a long, cleansing sigh.

This felt good to write. I hope it also felt good to read.

I want you to know that I'm here for you, and that each and every one of us has a vital mission to move toward joy and the highest version of ourselves. That doesn't necessarily mean the big bucks, or the best grades, or the best house, or the best resume --

It means having the strength to perceive fear, and take each new step anyway. It means having the courage and faith that we've all got each others' backs.

I'm here for you. Thanks for being there for me.

Love,

Fel

P.S. Leave me a comment about anything at all. I'll read every single one.

Take my survey & enter to win a critique and/or phone chat!

Here is my face, smiling at you, like, "Please take my survey lol!"


*Note: As of Friday, April 25, 2014, submission has been closed. Thank you to all who participated! The winner will be announced later today.*


Are you a singer? An aspiring singer? Do you belt it out in the shower?

If so, I'd love for you to help me out by taking a quick survey.

Is there a prize involved? Heck yes! One survey-taker will be randomly selected to receive a free online video critique from me! (What's a video critique? Learn more here >)

So what's the survey about?

In an ongoing effort to bring more beautiful, free, effortless, joy-filled singing into the world, I'm searching for ways to better serve my private and online voice students.

Lately, I've been very interested the concept of fear and what holds us back when we perform. 

Would you mind lending a few moments to offer your opinions?

You can remain 100% anonymous.

Cool bonus: I'm also looking to phone interview some of you for further research.

If you're interested in potentially having a little one-on-one chat with yours truly, simply fill out the survey as truthfully as possible, leave your email at the bottom, and be sure to check "yes" when I ask you if you're open to speaking over the phone.

If I feel you're a good candidate for an interview, I'll email you and we can schedule a time to speak.

Thank you, friends! I can't thank you enough for participating!

Love, Felicia

 

Channeling Fear and Coping With Anxiety

My TEDx Talk at Yale this past Saturday was about "Life Revision." Its full title was "There Is No Final Draft: Keep Revising Your Life To Create Your Reality." I had a tremendous time at the TEDx conference and feel such love for my alma mater! (The speeches were taped by a professional cameraman, so videos of every speech will be posted to the TEDx site soon) (I'll be sure to let you know when that is.)

During my talk I mentioned to the audience members that they could personally get in touch if they were experiencing fear or anxiety and that I would share resources I've found helpful when coping with my own anxiety (which has included panic attacks and light-headedness, on and off for about three years now).

For ease of communication, I thought I'd keep an evolving list of resources on this blog so I can share them with all of you. This list isn't exhaustive; it's just a collection of books, sites, and techniques I've found helpful in coping with my own bouts of anxiety -- particularly surrounding "life revision."

Do you have any resources or techniques you've found helpful? Please share in the comment section below.

TECHNIQUES TO RELIEVE ANXIETY

EFT Tapping - This is a branch of self-administered acupressure technique that combines "Eastern" and "Western" approaches to dealing with anxiety. I mentioned it previous in a blog post and am a HUGE proponent of the practice. I've used EFT consistently and still use EFT in my life (all self-administered, for free) and have found it to be incredibly effective in de-stressing my system and calming my body's previous ingrained panic responses.

I highly recommend you check it out -- even if it sounds New Age and whack. To start, all you need to do is read this book by Nick Ortner (I'll list it again in the books section below). He also has a great website to check out, which explains EFT tapping and can get you started. Take a leap of faith! You won't regret it.

Meditation - I used to hate the very idea of meditation because, to be honest, it freaked me out. I hated sitting with my own thoughts, for fear that my mind would go crazy or that I would have a panic attack.

To start off small, I enrolled in Deepak Chopra and Oprah's free 21-day meditation challenge. They have ongoing programs (all free) and what they'll do is send you a meditation audio file each day, right to your inbox, and you can practice in a structured, safe way. There's a community aspect, too, with forums and comment sections where people can share their experiences, which for me was very enriching and made me feel not so alone or afraid. You can check out the latest offerings from The Chopra Center here. Leave a comment below if you enroll, and perhaps we can do it together!

Another place for good free guided meditation is a website called the Fragrant Heart.

Yoga - Yoga just straight-up makes me feel better. I love DoYogaWithMe.com which offers TONS of free yoga classes that you can do right in your living room.

Singing - Singing for stress relief has been huge for me. The act of singing a song and minding your breathing is very meditative in and of itself. It's actually impossible for your body to be anxious and breathing calmly at the same time, so the act of singing with controlled breath can instantly calm you and help you work through a bought of anxiety. I'm exploring this concept more formally and hope to report back in the future on more specific ways to use singing to help you with your fear and anxiety. Stay tuned...

Improv - Enrolling in an improv class helped me deal with anxiety and created a safe environment where I could be free to say YES to any impulse and channel some of my energy into a freeing form of performance. This might be a bit out-there for you, but I would highly recommend you explore improv classes -- even if you're not an actor or performer.

BOOKS I TURNED TO WHEN I FELT LOST

Below is a smattering of book titles all over the map. My favorite books on fear and the groundlessness of life have been authored by a Buddhist nun named Pema Chodron. She is wise and rather earth-shattering in her philosophies. Also included below is a book on EFT tapping, which I described above, alongside some other titles on spirituality and energy which may seem way out there for some people. I found them personally helpful, and hope you'll consider giving them a shot, too!

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics) - Pema Chodron

The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics) - Pema Chodron

The Pocket Pema Chodron (Shambhala Pocket Classics) - Pema Chodron

The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living - Nick Ortner

E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality - Pam Grout

I hope these resources can prove helpful. I will keep adding to the list as I uncover or recall new stuff. Remember, if you're feeling stressed, anxious, or afraid, you are SO not alone.

Love,
Felicia