Changing Your Relationship with Fear

Confidence_Gap_CoverRuss Harris has authored and co-authored numerous books. One that I really love is The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear & Self-Doubt.  

Russ defines the confidence gap as “that place we get stuck when fear gets in the way of our dreams and ambitions.”

“You know you’re stuck in the confidence gap if you believe something like this:  I can’t achieve my goals, perform at my peak, do the things I want to do, or behave like the person I want to be until I feel more confident.”

~ Russ Harris

The problem with this thinking is that it holds you back from creating the life you want. In this work, Harris sets out a series of 10 “rules” which he asks the reader to hold lightly and with flexibility.

The principles and practices suggested help develop mindful awareness, a changed relationship to fear & the use of your values to guide your choices and actions. If you read along in my series about values, you won’t be surprised that I’m recommending this book.

The first rule he defines is this. “The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.”

No wonder this is the first on the list – it’s the place where so many of us get stuck. It’s easy to want to wait to take action until we feel confident – confident about our skills, confident we’ll achieve the desired outcome. 

But the problem is, it doesn’t work that way. Most of us have been infused with messages that make us think that fear is our enemy, a sign of weakness, something that holds us back. So we end up afraid of fear. We block it, avoid it, ignore it, pretend it’s not there. That’s why we need to get clear about rule #1.

If we avoid fear, we don’t risk, don’t stretch, don’t reach for our dreams.

“When you step out of your comfort zone, take a risk, or face a challenge, you will feel fear. That’s not weakness; it’s the natural state of affairs for normal human beings.”

~ Russ Harris

Fear always precedes this kind of action.

The Confidence Gap provides exercises and practices that enable you to accept fear when it happens and use its energy to fuel your effort.

Learning, skill building, dream-chasing can be a messy business. It’s not realistic to expect mastery in the initial attempts. If we’re too attached to a fixed outcome, it’s all to easy to stop before we begin. Instead, Russ suggests staying grounded in your values and becoming passionate about the process.

There are countless gems in this book – and an abundance of practical, supportive suggestions.

If your’re on the journey of stretching, growing and engaging in life, uncertainty and fear are inevitable obstacles on that path. In fact, I see them as signs of a true & worthy path.

Know that you’re in good company.

Keep going!

This book will help you cross the bridge of doubt again and again and again.

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