When I was a young kid, “June Bugs” were one of my biggest fears. At least that’s what we called them. They were orange-colored beetle-type bugs that flew and had a loud buzzing sound. It was totally irrational – they didn’t bite or sting – they were just ugly and loud. Finally, my dad caught one and put it in a jar. He had me look at it – really look at it – for a while, as that bug flew around in the jar. Then he took off the lid and had me place my palm over the top of the jar. The bug flew up, hitting my palm several times. The initial panic subsided and ultimately I was fine with the bug. Whenever I have a fear now, though they are pretty big and more consequential, I remind myself of that June Bug experience. It’s the lesson for facing a fear and using it to change.
Fears: The Big Three
As we mature, we generally end up with three fears – failure, poverty, and loss. In school, we have a fear of failing an exam, especially if we have poor study habits or don’t understand the material. As adults in the world of work and personal life, that fear of failure can keep us from growing, taking risks, accepting new opportunities, and pursuing our dreams.
The fears of poverty and loss are tied into our fear of failure – we don’t take on that business venture because we might fail and lose all of our money; we might lose respect for others. We stay in a position we really dislike because we fear a loss of income if we quit. We fear loss of love and acceptance if we fail. When our fears are dominant factors in our lives, we are virtually paralyzed, and they are in control.
To regain control of our lives, and thus transform our reality, we have to do the “June Bug” thing.
- Pick the Fear Apart
Once you have dug deep into your fear and have looked at the details, write down all of those details. What is making you afraid? What is the worst thing that could happen if that fear became reality? And what would you do if that fear became a reality?
Suppose you are a law student and you have a terrible fear about the Bar Exam. When picking it apart, the details are that you are afraid that you won’t remember the cases you will have to cite; you will face embarrassment if you fail it; you will disappoint family members. What if the worst were to happen? Yes, you might feel some embarrassment, and yes, some people might be disappointed. But, you can re-take that exam. The failure does not have to stand. Your goal of becoming a lawyer is not dead.
No matter what your fear is, breaking it down into detail, looking at each part, and then looking at the worst case scenario will actually diminish the power of that fear.
- Make a Plan
Panic sets in when we don’t do anything positive to ward off the consequences of a fear becoming reality. We are then in fight or flight mode. We can’t fight because we have no plan, so we take the flight option. Never a good thing.
So, put in writing the things you will do to fight the consequences. If you have started a business and you have developed a fear that it will fail, what action steps will you take to prevent this failure? Will you market more? What’s your new marketing plan? Do you need some mentoring and outside expertise? What’s your plan for getting that?
When you get your plan down on paper, you now have your “fight” strategy and you are ready to roll. The fear begins to take a back seat. As you implement your plan and realize small successes, that fear begins to melt away, and you gain confidence.
- Success Begets Success
Once you have faced a fear, made your plan, and conquered it by success, you now know that you can do the same with any fear. This is what transforms your reality.
- A Small Amount of Fear is Good
Some fear is actually healthy. It will do three things:
- It will motivate us. If for example, we fear that our job may become obsolete within the next several years, we will get our butts back into school or training of some sort to stay relevant.
- It makes us a bit hungrier for success. We want to “win,” so we take action.
- It makes us a bit more willing to take some risks. If we fear that the company we work for may be down-sizing, we may take on a really challenging project to prove our worth. Or we may strike out on our own so we don’t have to face that fear and uncertainty again.
So, what are your “June Bugs?” And what’s your fight plan?
Leona Henryson is a spiritual seeker and creative blogger. She enjoys creative writing and wants to arm the readers with the sufficient knowledge, tools and skills necessary for their self-improvement and personal growth.