Ep #333: Fear
Fear is part of the human condition.
Many of us are experiencing it more intensely right now because of what’s going in the world and in our personal lives. And this fear more often than not is manifesting itself as anger or frustration.
Whether it's the pandemic, politics, brutality, racism, or another scary thing happening in our world, fear is a normal response. But it doesn’t have to result in you feeling crazy, immobilized, or obsessed.
In today’s episode, I share how we can find and acknowledge our fear, process it, and then utilize it in a way that serves ourselves and others. Join me to find out how to use fear to find the energy to produce, help, serve, and be useful instead of being upset and paralyzed by it.
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It's the truest shortcut to self development we have ever created!
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What You will discover
- Why so many people are feeling afraid.
- The most common reactions to fear.
- How to process your fear compassionately.
- Why it’s important to separate fear from facts.
- Why feeling fear doesn’t mean you’re in danger.
- How to utilize energy from unused fear to create and serve.
Featured on the show
- Learn more about the Self Coaching Scholars program.
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo episode 333.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello, my friends. Today I’m recording a special podcast for you on fear because so many of you are experiencing so much of it right now. So, what I want to do is help, see what I can do to help, see what I can do to talk about fear in a way that will help you experience it in a way that’s useful and not detrimental.
All of us experience fear. It’s part of the human condition. We sometimes experience a lot more of it than others because of what’s going on in our own personal lives or what’s going on in the world. I think that there have been so many different things happening in the world that we have been using and see and has been triggering fear in us that some of us aren’t even aware of it.
As I’m coaching people they’re thinking that they’re angry or frustrated, but really when we’re getting down to it there’s a lot of fear going on. So, I want to talk first about some of the things that you might be doing as it applies to fear so that you can be aware of it.
One of the things that you might be doing is reacting to it and the way that you react to fear it doesn’t usually look like fear. It’s not like you go screaming down the street yelling in fear. You usually react to fear with frustration or anger or trying to control the world. Fear comes across in a much more aggressive way. It’s like scared people don’t act scared, we act a little bit crazy, we act a little bit controlling.
So, that’s good for you to understand with other people is they’re maybe trying to control you and trying to control the universe and trying to control the world unsuccessfully. That may be coming from fear.
So, look in your own life, where are you trying to manipulate circumstances or control the universe or control other people? Is there maybe some fear lurking underneath that? Are you afraid of something? So, ask yourself that question.
The second thing that I’ve noticed people do and that I do is we avoid it. We pretend like it’s not there. We hold it in. We act like it’s no big deal, that we’re super strong, that we’ve got it covered, and then it peaks out. It’s like, “Your fear is showing.” It comes out in ways that are puzzling sometimes.
If you pay attention to yourself you’ll see it. You’ll see it’s almost like little things that aren’t a big deal all of a sudden completely freak us out and we have like – it’s like we have big emotions with small things because we’re not dealing with an underlying fear. It’s almost like we’re pushing it down like that ball, we’re resisting it, we’re pushing it down and then it pops up at the most inopportune times.
The other way that it manifests and this is happening for some of you is it immobilizes you and obsess over it. For some of you what this looks like is being on the news, depending on what you’re afraid of you start obsessing over the thing. So, for some of you it might be brutality, for some of you it might be politics, for some of you it might be the weather, the hurricanes that are coming to the coast, it might COVID and illness and sickness in your children.
It’s almost like you keep reading the same articles, the same information to prove your fear to yourself and to look out justification for your fear. All this does is compound it. This obsession with it is creating this spin in your mind that doesn’t make any progress.
So, if you feel like any of these describe you this is the podcast for you. It may really help you to understand how to process your own fear. How to, first of all, find it and acknowledge it, see the symptoms of it, then process it, and then utilize it in a way that will serve you.
The first step is always awareness and noticing where fear might be coming up for you. It’s really important to process your fear compassionately. Do not be a bully to yourself and say, “You shouldn’t be afraid. It’s fine. It’s not a big deal.” A lot of well-meaning people will try and do this. Like, “Come on, lighten up. It’s going to be fine. Stop freaking out.”
That’s fine, people say that to you, but it’s important that you go in and compassionately hear yourself and the fear that you’re having even if it’s totally irrational. It doesn’t matter. All fear is coming from our brains anyway, so just because you’re having a really intense amount of fear doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in an intense amount of danger. What that means is that you’re having intense thoughts about something that’s causing you to feel an intense amount of fear.
So, you want to be really clear that the mind is what creates fear not the world. Without your mind there is no fear. So, it’s important that you don’t just dismiss that. You’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on in your brain so that you can uncover anything that’s causing fear for yourself. When you judge it or dismiss it or put yourself down for it you miss the opportunity for that awareness, and you miss the opportunity to process it compassionately.
One of the ways that I do this is I sit down and I sink into and I say, “I’m scared and that’s okay.” Being scared is a human experience. It’s part of the human experience. Scared is a feeling, it’s a vibration in my body. It doesn’t mean I’m in imminent danger.
Then, what I do is I breathe it in and I allow it to vibrate in my body. Now, for some of us that will look like crying. For some of us it’ll look like shaking. For some of us it will feel very subtle and for some of us it will be very intense. It’s different for everyone, processing fear and allowing it to be there.
Most of us have a desire to resist it. It catches in our throat and we try and downplay it. We try to push it away. We try to take a deep breath and move on and be tough about it. What I want you to do is take a deep breath and go into the fear. Welcome the fear. Allow it to be there. Recognize that it’s just a vibration, it’s just an emotion in your body, it’s okay to feel afraid. It doesn’t mean something has gone terribly wrong. It means that you’re a human with a human brain experiencing an emotion.
Once you’ve kind of opened yourself up to it, opened the doors for fear and you’re being compassionate with yourself and you’re allowing yourself to experience it then you want to ask yourself the question: what are the three main thoughts scaring you?
One of the ways that I like to ask this question to myself is, “What’s the matter, love? What’s the matter?” I just let myself be afraid. “I’m scared of this and I’m scared of this and I’m scared of this.” I really just go into the place where I just acknowledge what I’m afraid of and even if when I say it out loud it ridiculous, I honor it, I acknowledge it. I do not dismiss it.
So, I write down the three thoughts that are scaring me. I’m scared of getting sick. I’m scared of losing my house. I’m scared of other people getting hurt and being mistreated. Whatever it is you’re afraid of – I’m afraid the world’s gone crazy, write it down. Do not dismiss it. Honor it. Listen to your own thoughts.
I like to keep it to just three because I feel like when you focus on just three thoughts all the other thoughts come tumbling down, all the supporting actors come tumbling down, so it really only requires you to go through three main thoughts.
Then what I do is I want to separate the facts from the thought. So, a lot of times we think we’re afraid of something happening in the world that we can’t control like a hurricane. We think we’re afraid of that thing and we think that thing is what’s causing our fear and so we try to run away from it, dodge it, control it which none of that works.
But when we recognize there’s the hurricane and then there’s our thought about the hurricane and those are two separate things it’s immediately relieving. There’s an immediate sense of relief because you see the separation between your mind and the world and you recognize that there is a partial piece of this that you can control. You can’t control that hurricane, but you can control what’s going on in your mind right now. Separating out the facts from the thoughts.
The other thing that I do is I look at thoughts and I notice any future thought errors. Where am I using my imagination to scare myself? Where I’m imagining something happening that hasn’t happened, that probably won’t happen, that could happen, and I just notice it’s all my imagination. It’s all make believe. Make believe, I’m making myself believe something that I’m making up in my mind and I notice how much that doesn’t serve me by sitting there and obsessing about what could happen without processing the emotion that I’m creating.
We separate it out. The facts from the thoughts and then we separate out any future thought errors that were happening. We’re not doing this – this is really important, we’re not doing this to get out of fear right away. We’re not trying to not be afraid. We’re not trying to recognize these thoughts so we can eliminate them, so we can be happy. That’s not what we’re doing.
We’re still processing fear, we’re just understanding it. We’re becoming aware of it, we’re feeling it, and we’re understanding the thoughts that are causing it.
When you are comfortable with experiencing fear, when you allow for fear it takes it down by almost half because so much of our fear is our fear of being afraid. We’re afraid of our own fear. We’re afraid of our own thoughts. We’re afraid of experiencing the panic that we are the ones creating.
So, when we can stop being afraid of being afraid, we’ve automatically relieved some of the fear. I want to make sure that up until this point you’re not trying to eliminate it, you’re trying to allow it to be there. Because what you realize when you process fear is that fear is not something to be afraid of. We don’t need to be afraid of fear. We can allow fear, we can be afraid, and we can survive fear. We can survive that emotion. We can process it through.
The next step is practicing peace. This is something I like to do right alongside of the fear not as an effort to replace it. So, there is this amazing experience that I’ve had and a lot of people who meditate have this experience where while you’re witnessing yourself having an emotion you can be at peace about it.
It doesn’t mean you’re eliminating the other emotion. It’s almost like they’re co-existing. So, the process for this next step is to practice peace. The way that I do this is I come to the present moment, to this very moment that I’m in and I say thoughts like, “I’m okay right now because there is no hurricane right now.
“The sky is blue right now. I’m sitting in my house safe right now. Nothing is hurting me right now. I’m safe right now. I can handle this moment. I am handling this moment. I am safe right now. I am not sick right now. I am healthy right now. I am not being hurt right now. I am strong. I am capable. I can handle the negativity in the world right now.
“I can feel fear right now and I will be okay.” Those are the kind of things that you want to help yourself practice believing. Now, notice it doesn’t require me to eliminate the fear. I can have the fear and still be okay. I can be afraid and still be okay in my own fear. One of my favorite thoughts is, “I am afraid and that’s okay.”
So, it brings us back to this present moment. We notice when we’re making future thought errors, we notice when we’re imagining worst-case scenarios, and we can’t make peace with them yet until we come back to the present moment, and we notice that right now we’re okay. Even in our fear we are okay.
Now, once you do this process: awareness, processing the emotion, noticing that you’re okay as you’re experiencing the emotion, if you’re anything like me what you will notice is that you’ll have this extra energy. It’s that energy that animals shake off after they’ve been chased. It’s that energy, that adrenaline that’s caused from the panic, the life-threatening panic when an animal is being chased by a predator. We aren’t be chased by predators, but we, in our mind, have thoughts like that. Our thoughts become predators, basically.
So, what you’ll notice is that you have this extra energy within you. It’ll feel like anxiety, maybe. It’ll feel like unused fear, unused adrenaline, and one of the things that I do and that I recommend my clients do is utilize that energy to create something, to produce something. Channel that energy into your work.
So many of you right now are sitting at home and you’re needing to make money. You’re needing to provide for your families. You’re needing to build your businesses. Some of you have lost your jobs. A lot of you have told me that you really want to focus on building your businesses.
One of the things that I decided to do was to create a program within Scholars called How to Double Your Business in 3 Months. One of the reasons why I wanted to do that right now is so we could collectively focus on something productive. Too many of you are sitting around not producing anything with this energy and actually using it against yourself as a weapon to hurt yourself and to go into despair, into panic, and frustration, to lash out at everyone around you, to lash out at yourself.
One of the things I want to help us to do is take that energy, that collective fear energy that’s left over after we’ve processed it and put it into something productive. My whole life I’ve had the experience of waking up anxious. I have underlying anxiety. I believe that it’s biological. It’s like an underlying hum in my own life.
I have learned how to utilize that energy to be productive because otherwise it builds up. I get like a build-up of anxiety and I lash out and freak out, and use it against myself, and then end up having to resist it. When I take that energy, when I take that anxiety, when I take that fear after I’ve processed it and I put it into my work I produce at a very high level. I get a lot of work done and it gives me a sense of relief from that anxious energy.
Now, it requires focus. It requires a channeling of that focus because the pull will be to pay attention and focus on whatever it is you think is scaring you: to watch the news, to pay attention to whatever is coming. You know, what are the latest stats on COVID? What’s going on with the hurricane? What’s going on with the election? What’s going on with the riots in the world? I need to know everything that’s going on, and so we spend our time just filling our brain with more information that freaks us out even more.
Although I think it’s important to be informed and to know what’s going on, and once we are aware of that and we’re aware of our thoughts about that and we’ve made decisions on what we want to do with that extra energy, how can we help? How can we serve? How can we produce? How could we be useful instead of just sitting here being upset and in despair about it?
So, one of the ways that I want to recommend that we do that is we contribute to the solution, especially those of you who are coaches, this is the time to be building your business, to be making offers to people who need mental health help. There are too many people suffering right now that don’t have the tools that we can teach them, that we can help them, we can coach them.
When we channel our fear and our anxiety and our worry into our work, we end up producing something with that energy that serves not just the world but ourselves. So, you have to take the focus of that energy and really use your mental energy, your mind energy to go to work, and to take the anxiety energy, the fear energy, and literally transmute it into something that helps instead of harms.
When you think about the increased attention you can have when you’re alert because of something, that energy is actually very useful. That energy can be applied to your work, to your business, to what we’re calling doubling your business in three months. What I want us to do is be able to utilize that 50/50, to utilize the contrast to understand what it is we most want right now and then funnel our energy and our focus into creating solutions and answers and contributions instead of only focusing on the problem and becoming worried or in despair or depressed about we want to focus on solutions to the fear.
How can we, once we’ve processed that fear, provide what it is to ourselves that we need in order to feel more safe? I love the teaching that talks about how when you find out what you don’t want instead of pushing against it, we want to focus on what we do want and it’s a subtle difference. When we push against what we don’t want we actually create more tension in our body.
When we focus on what we do want, which is the opposite of what we don’t want, we create motivation, contribution, energy, service. So, what is it that’s making you afraid and what does it make you want instead? Can you take that energy and transform it into the energy that you want and need to create the solution to that fear?
About three months ago I talked a lot about where are you going to be in 90 days? Where are you going to be after you’ve processed through this time? Will you have done everything you can within your power to create something that you want? To create the life that you want? To create the solution that you want? That doesn’t mean it’s going to be comfortable the whole time, that doesn’t mean it’s going to feel good, but it also doesn’t mean that just because it doesn’t feel good that it’s not useful to you, that it’s not important.
Too often I’ve heard many of you say that you’re waiting for all the scary things to be over with. Once all the scary things are over then you’ll feel good enough to work again. First, what I want to say is, the scary things are never going to be over. This is a human life. There’s lots of scary things and there always will be, but I also want to acknowledge that they’re intensified right now. There’s a lot of very intensified things going on in the world all at the same time and you can see that as opportunity to curl up in a ball or you can see that as an opportunity to find out how to process your fear and process your emotion and create something.
I often think about our ancestors and what they’ve had to go through and not just the way back ones, but even the more recent ones. I think about the people in my lineage that had to go to war, that had to protect their families literally with knives, that had to deal with life and death literally all day every day in ways much more intense than we’re having.
How did they keep evolving and moving forward and creating through that fear? How did they rely on the other part of themselves? How did they transform the fear into production, into producing something? How did we end up safe here now and how do we continue that process maybe in a much less intensified way, but also in a way where we can use our mental tools, we can use our emotional tools to continue to create even when times are hard? To continue to serve and contribute even when times are hard?
Listen, there are so many reasons to justify not working, not building your business, not producing, not showing up, not adding value. There’s lots of justified reasons not to, but I just want you to ask yourself do you want to utilize those reasons or do you want to keep evolving yourself through this? Do you want to keep creating? You don’t have to, but I feel like this is an opportunity for us to dig deep inside of ourselves, to find our own truths and to utilize that energy to produce what we want in terms of solutions.
I’m going to be working on this in Scholars over the next three months from a business perspective. Now, you all know for me business is all about personal evolution. Our business goals are all about who we believe we are capable of becoming and how we want to contribute and serve the world with value. Business is about creating value for the world and getting paid for it. That exchange creates the person that you want to become when it’s aligned with your values.
So, I’m going to be really diving deep into this in Scholars. I’m going to be teaching some live classes on this because I want to help you understand, especially those of you who are trying to get to 100K in your business that doubling your business is just a matter of becoming good at processing your negative emotion. It’s about understanding the formula for building a business and then being willing to fail and be afraid and doubt yourself enough until you get to the other side.
Every person that comes to me that wants to make millions of dollars gets the same answer. People want to hire me for a day, they want to talk to me about all the complicated things that I do in my business and it always comes back down to the most important thing is being able to overcome fear. The fear of being uncomfortable, the fear of being hurt, the fear of failing, the fear of losing people we love, of losing ourselves, of losing our reputations, of all of those things. It’s the most important thing.
If you want to join me, we’re going to be talking a lot about business, but we’re also going to be talking a lot about fear and you’re never going to be free of it as long as you’re a human on the planet. There’s always going to be the threat of death. There’s always going to be the threat of losing someone you love, of people being harmed. That is part of our human experience, but it doesn’t always have to be so terrible. You can learn how to be at peace as you process through these hard times and as you process through these emotions.
You don’t have courage unless fear is present. We’re going to talk about both of those things. So, hopefully this podcast has given you a taste and you can start utilizing the steps that I’ve given you in here, but I also want to invite you to come into scholars and work directly with me on your business. I will be teaching live. We will be talking about doubling your business in three months and that’s just cover for overcoming all of the fear that’s in the way of you producing at your highest level.
This is a time to be utilizing all that extra energy and putting it into something productive and I would love to show you how. So, join me in Scholars if you’d like to do that. Have a beautiful week everyone and I’ll talk to you next week. Take care.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast you have to come check out Self Coaching Scholars. It’s my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at thelifeschool.com/join. Make sure you type in the “The” thelifecoachschool.com/join. I’d love to have you join me in Self Coaching Scholars. See you there.