Three Steps to Face FEAR and Seize the Day!
Covid-19 has dealt a hefty blow to our hearts. We have had people fall ill and die, seen our friends let go, our industry changed forever, and experienced an intense feeling of uncertainty as we wait to see if tenants come back to work and if guests return to their favorite hotels and restaurants.
Do whatever it takes to move out of your identification with fear and move into an expanded state of relaxation and emotional calm.
In the midst of this uncertainty, we have been tossed into the tornado of our thoughts. Through months of quarantine, and nights glued to the TV, we have had to face our own mortality and ask some pretty difficult questions. Are we safe? Will we survive?
In the world of the unknown, the safety net of normalcy is removed and FEAR creeps in. But FEAR has two meanings:
1- Forget Everything and Run
2- Face Everything and Rise
At the core, our bodies are fundamentally made to make a decision on which definition of FEAR we should choose. It is called fight or flight, and it’s been a part of the human psyche forever. You may have heard the term used in psychology. It refers to our physiological response to something that is terrifying, either mentally and/or emotionally. The threat releases hormones in our bodies that tell us to forget everything and run or face everything and rise.
Facing fear has its challenges. It often pits us against things we’d rather not do. Stand on the roof of a building, speak in front of a room full of people, sit in a room with a house spider dangling from the ceiling, get stuck in a confined space… follow your heart… stand up for what you believe… be a leader during a crisis…
The first definition may help you survive the initial fears you might face: Avoid tall buildings, never speak up in a team meeting, ask someone to crush the spider, never take the elevator… don’t take chances… stay silent… wait for someone else to take the bull by the horns. But running from fears will never set you free.
So, how do you stand up to fear and seize the day? That is a question my father has some answers to. But first, let me set some context into why Dr. Greg Nielsen has some clout. He is an expert in facing fear. Not because he really wanted to, but because he’s human, just like us, and he has gone through some-you know-what and came out the other side.
Dr. G, that is what his students call him at the University of Nevada, Reno, is a Renaissance man. He’s a former college athlete, author, speaker, astrologer, poet, triathlete, financial advisor, 3-time winner of best professor, and, of course, the world’s greatest dad.
He is also a survivor of some pretty traumatic experiences. As a college football player, he was concussed so many times the doctor refused to let him play. This was in the 60s when the advancements in brain trauma we know now didn’t exist. It was earth shattering for someone whose entire life was built on sport. In his late teens, he came home from college and found the dead body of his younger brother. The pain of a loss that great cannot be described and most certainly can be crippling. He spent his 20s in a hospital room with a rare form of cancer; he was faced with death as they had no treatment at the time.
Each time that Dr. G went toe to toe with fear, he was faced with the same question. Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise? He doesn’t have a magic bullet, but through facing letdowns, tough times, and death he was able find ways to face fear and overcome it.
In his book, MetaBusiness, Dr. G suggests that the next time you feel fearful, uptight, afraid, or that things will not work out, take these three steps and see what happens.
• Do whatever it takes to move out of your identification with fear and move into an expanded state of relaxation and emotional calm. Whatever gets your mind and feelings off the fear, do it.
• Here is a list of possibilities: Take a walk, take a day off, exercise, talk to a friend, take a trip, do something creative, take a moment and breathe, etc. Do whatever works for you.
• Focus on gratitude.
• Be grateful for everything you see, hear and touch.
• Be grateful for the big things and the little things.
• Keep focusing on gratitude until you feel powerfully grateful.
• Just thinking you are grateful is not feeling gratitude.
• Start each day by being grateful: Start a gratitude journal and write down what you’re grateful for.
• Be open to new, creative ideas which offer a creative solution to a difficulty that generates fear.
• It’s hard to say where the creative idea will come from. Just be open. It could be a hunch or an intuitive flash. A friend or stranger could say something that sparks a creative idea.
• You might be watching television, listening to Spotify, or reading a book.
• Who knows where it will come from? Be open. It will come.
We’re living in an uncertain time where our fears can take control and leave us paralyzed. Whether you’re facing life or death situations like Dr. G, or questioning the safety and security of your future, you have to ask yourself two questions, will you forget everything and run, or face everything and rise?
Dane Nielsen, CPP, is a General Manager for Laz Parking in Southern California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org