By Ann Leach
NABBW’s Associate for Loss and Change

Ann Leach “You’re just a scaredy cat,” she’d say to me when I was in eighth grade gym class. I didn’t like it, but she was right. I was afraid of the balance beam and just knew I would fall to my death if I even got on the thing.

How I wish that would have been the only fear I would have had to face in my life! But if we had known there was more to come, would we have been any better prepared?

As we move our calendar pages closer to the end of the year,  I find myself coaching lots of clients about coping with their fears.

  • The fear of dying.
  • The fear of being alone.
  • The fear of coping with health challenges.

And through our process I have found the following formula that can help us all cope.

I Call This The FEAR Formula:

Face the facts.

What are the appearances of truth that you must recognize? For example, the movers are coming next Wednesday. Your first treatment is scheduled for tomorrow. The grandkids are coming for a week and yes, you will have to drive them to all of their practices, lessons and social events.

Evaluate the fear.

While it may sound like a set up for a negative experience, I find that the best way to do this is to ask “What’s the worst that could happen if my fear came true?” For whatever reason, it seems the brain is able to grasp solutions and possibilities when it has the facts and knows all potential outcomes.

Act on the fear.

Once you’ve faced it and learned what could happen, its time to get in action to deal with it. This might mean a small step (a phone call, some online research, a talk with a friend about your plans) that will help you begin the mindset shift to truly facing your fears so that you can cope with them appropriately.

Release the fear.

You’ve done the work in the steps above. Now you are at choice: do you allow the fear to continue to run your life or do you make a commitment to yourself to let it go so that you can move forward to living a life truly worth loving?

So often we choose to stay with what’s comfortable. We think that we’ve earned the right at this age and stage of life to just be where we are, accept it and make sure we get to do something fun once in awhile. But staying in comfort may be a safety net that keeps us from even greater good.

When you release the fears of the day does that mean you are now “over it” and fears will never come knocking at your door again? I’m afraid not. But now you have a process for coping that will serve you no matter what comes around to spook you later.

My thirteen-year-old self who trembling in fear in the gym did make it up onto the balance beam for the required exercise, but that didn’t make my fear go away. I never got on the beam again…I was too scared.

But if I had known I could work with my mindset and if I had just followed the FEAR formula, I would have been more at peace with my choices back then. Now I know. Now I feel better prepared to handle life’s fears as they come at me.

I hope that you feel better prepared to cope as well and that your fears will no longer haunt you as you get back to living and back to loving life again. But if you are having your own fear challenges right now, please feel free to email me at ann@lifepreserversgriefsupport.com for some support and coping tips.

 The owner of the Creative Cottage in Joplin, Missouri, Ann Leach is a highly experienced coach, speaker and writer focused on building a global grief community designed to assist people in moving through loss and change after a life-altering event. She also owns and operates Life Preservers Grief Support, a global grief support community, as well as Your Grief Relief Solution.  Her goal: To help people make peace with grief. The Life Preservers site offers a signup link her free ezine, “In the Flow.” Ann’s preferred training tools include teleseminars, publications and products, retreats, conference break-out sessions and special events. She serves individuals and professionals at work and at home. Her strengths are group facilitation, strong interviewing skills, low cost/no cost ideas for marketing support, developing your writing and presenting skills, creating joint ventures.