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Purpose and fear

We’ve learnt that we need to overcome fear; that we don’t have to ponder excessively over what we should do next. The best course of action is to act, otherwise our best work will never see the light.

However, I’ve been wondering for a while whether fear is a pointer.

Perhaps fear is trying to tell us that there’s something important that we aren’t considering or looking into. Fear magnifies things and charges them emotionally, and in consequence we get the message not to go there.

But what if the message is about looking at this hidden matter and paying close attention to it?

What if fear is not so much about choosing between doing or not doing?

Is there danger in publishing your novel? Is there danger in opening a café? Launching a campaign to end domestic violence while trying to find a job? Leaving your corporate job to work freelance?

Certainly there is: there is a risk. You might decide in favour of it or against it – but there’s something else you can do.

You can look into it with curiosity and openness. You can enquire why you feel so strongly about it, why there’s so much emotional energy surrounding your decision. What’s at stake that matters so much to you?

I wonder if sometimes fear is the result of a conflict of identities: the expected identity one and the real one.

Fear can be a beautiful opportunity to untangle meaning, identity and purpose. It can show you the tension between new and the old identities that needs to be resolved in the present. It doesn’t need to be overcome: all it requires from you is that you listen.

Storytelling our fear should not be restricted to the story of overcoming it.  

How can you pay attention to your fear with courage and curiosity so that you can meaningfully and fearlessly get closer to what wants to emerge?



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