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  • James Frater

Tussling With Fear



2022 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in my life and the ambiguity of what happens next is something that excites me… for the most part. When I think about my future, the only thing I can be certain about is that the 6-year-old me will see that I am still living audaciously - (trying to) work towards dreams that I can’t see a path to.

Recently, I have had a series of good things happen - from graduations and exam results to building great relationships and getting to do a TEDx (crazy, right?!). I can’t even take credit for half the things because I am surprised myself, but I thank God because I know He’s pulling the strings in the background.

In trying to honour the audacity of my younger self, I have been feeling the fear. I recognise this is completely normal because:

1. Fear/anxiety is a very necessary primal response to ‘dangerous’ stimuli. It allows your body to prepare to run away from (or fight) the big lion that is trying to eat you. In 2022 that translates as the presentation you need to deliver at 9am tomorrow (scary!).


2. We have been socialised to be fearful. As we get older, we are conditioned to create safety and security to mitigate the ever-looming worst-case scenario. We are told the ‘best’ routes to take and we are given ‘best practices’ to follow. Even entrepreneurship - where you find the mind the most innovation - is ruled by process and framework. Being a contrarian would cause many people to short circuit.

As a result, I have been second-guessing decisions that I had already spent lots of time and energy making. Constantly obsessing over the worst-case scenario and operating from a place of fear. The other day, however, I was able to reframe my thinking. A friend of mine said (I’m paraphrasing):

“We’re operating from a place of abundance from now on – why can’t we have more?”

It wasn’t new or even slightly revolutionary, it is even something that I preach to my friends all the time but in this season, I needed to hear it for myself. Being completely honest - I do not think I am yet at a place where I am fearless, however, I am beginning to see where I am unlearning some of the conditioning I spoke about earlier. I am actively working towards regaining the child-like audacity that I have been banging on about.


Let’s be clear though, fearlessness is not the same as recklessness. To me, being fearful or fearless speaks to the place you predominately operate from, not whether you feel fear or not. Fear – as a feeling – plays an important role. I am learning to use it to motivate me; to ask myself difficult and honest questions; and to remind myself to create robust plans.


Let’s wrap this up. You should take two things from this:


  1. It’s completely normal to feel some fear - if you didn’t, I’d have to call the police.

  2. Don’t sit in your fear. Don’t let it paralyse you.


As Vee says in her book, Empowered:


“Rejection is redirection and failure is just another chance to try again”

Go forth and feel the fear!

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