I’m sure you’ve heard the title question asked of you at some point. You’ve likely asked it yourself, either with respect to others OR in relation to yourself. I’d hazard a guess that without too much effort you can conjure up the sneering energy that accompanies the question, a taunt of sorts, the underlying implication always being that you are not all that and a bag of chips. And sometimes, the suggestion is accurate; perhaps you are holding yourself as better than others, and that is bound to invite some ridicule.
Often, however, the person on the receiving end of the question isn’t the culprit that he or she is being portrayed to be – even when that person is you. The culprit, instead, is the asker of the question. And the issue isn’t thinking too highly of one’s self, it’s not thinking highly enough. So rather than take a moment or two to discover your inner greatness, you’ll stand in your perceived “weakness” and hold yourself as small, incapable, unworthy. After all, it’s so much easier to stay in the space you know, rather than rise up to where you want to be, right?
I bring this up in today’s article because I want you to know that there is a fine line between thinking too highly of yourself and not thinking highly enough. Neither of these perspectives will serve you very well. When you hold yourself as greater than what you are, needing to learn nothing from others and always at the top of your game, you will eventually take yourself out of the game. After all, nobody wants to play with someone who’s arrogant and a know-it-all. On the flip side, if you place yourself on a “lesser playing field” of sorts, you’ll rarely be asked to join the game and, if you are asked, you won’t be able to play to your full potential. Why? Because others won’t necessarily put in the effort to find out what your potential is. Or, if they do invest the effort, they won’t do so for long; they’ll stop championing you forward the minute they realize that they’re more invested in your success than you are.
Part of your job as a human being is to discover, know and own your inner strengths. What are the particular gifts and talents that belong to you? What are you great at? Another part of your job is to balance this knowledge of your strengths, with knowledge of your weaknesses. Where can you use support? What is your Achilles heel? And once you know these two sides of you, you need to stand in what makes you great, while acknowledging where you need help. This is the essence of confidence.
Bottom-line: downplaying your greatness is just as much of a disservice to you as making yourself better than you are. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance; and there’s a fine line between humility and lack of self-esteem. In both cases, bring yourself right up to the line – and make sure you don’t cross over.
Lessons. My life has been a series of these. In this I’m no different from anyone else, except perhaps in the fact that I tend to pursue such lessons. I’m constantly on the lookout for new learnings, new insights, new ideas. Lessons learned allow me to experience a sense of growth, expansion, becoming. These are things I like (yes, even when the lessons are painful).
This past week, I learned a lesson that was so powerful, so profound, that I’ve already started to notice incredible positive effects from the simple implementation of the lesson. This is a good thing. It’s how lessons are supposed to work. And yet, rarely have I seen such immediate results.
The lesson, simply put, is this: STOP. Nothing more; just STOP. Here’s how it came about.
Following a rather intensely busy week last week, I took the opportunity to attend a workshop on mindful living last Sunday afternoon. The workshop was facilitated by Jennifer Alexander, of Infinite Life Learning. Jennifer is a certified mind detox coach and a brilliant, insightful woman in her own right. I was excited to learn what she had to share about mindfulness and meditation.
Meditation is something I’ve tried at various points in my life; I know the benefits, I understand the process, AND I’ve always found it challenging. I’m one of those individuals who suffers from sever “monkey-brain-chatter” and meditation is difficult as a result. So, I’d often leave the practice of meditation behind after a while.
In this workshop, however, Jennifer made meditation so dang easy. AND, she talked about STOP moments; these are moments in which you simply stop briefly and take stock. She used the word STOP as an acronym which stands for Stop, Take a breath, Observe and Proceed.
According to Jennifer, you can take a STOP moment at any time, in any place. It’s an opportunity to take a break, yes. But it’s also an opportunity o notice what’s going on in and around you. It’s an opportunity to decide how you want to move forward. It’s an opportunity to consciously breathe. And the impact of implementing such STOP moments is profound.
In the days since that workshop, I have implemented numerous STOP moments. Indeed, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to do so – some overwhelming moments, some confusing moments, some joyful moments, some peaceful moments. No matter the quality of moment, anytime I’ve implemented a STOP I’ve felt my heart slow down, my sense of presence and grounding become greater, my awareness of the world become stronger. And, I’ve been able to move forward, no matter what’s going on, with a sense of ease, a sense of calm, and a sense of “rightness”. There’s no other word to describe it.
Bottom-line: it’s a good thing to STOP. No matter what you’re doing, no matter what challenge you’re facing or leaving behind, no matter how harried your life, when you STOP, you get more out of that same life. And you have opportunity to savour what’s going on. So STOP, if only for one moment every day. And notice how richly your life expands. You’ll be glad you did.
Feedback is a good thing. Soliciting feedback is an essential component of being able to lead effectively. Feedback tells you how you’re being experienced, how your decisions are landing, and what impact you’re having. That being said, feedback can also be a dangerous thing. Why? Because you probably don’t know what to do with it once you’ve got it. Let me explain.
Often, once you have feedback, it can be tempting to implement changes immediately based on said feedback. Somebody says you’re too rigid in your expectations? You relax your standards. Feedback suggests that your staff dislike weekly meetings? You move to a once-a-month staff meeting. A recent staff survey tells you that you’re not accessible enough? You let your team know that they can expect a 2-hour response time to any message they leave. And these changes are effective immediately, of course.
Here’s the problem. Although you’ve heard the feedback, you haven’t taken the time to align that feedback with some critical questions. What’s your intention? What’s your desired impact? How do you want to be experienced?
Without answering these questions first, you cannot use feedback effectively. Any changes you make will be premature to say the least, and possibly detrimental to your overall plans. Although feedback is important, feedback that is implemented without consideration to the bigger picture can be destructive.
Here’s another way to look at it. Feedback is nothing more or less than an opinion, or set of opinions. If you don’t know what your desired impact is, if you don’t know what you’re about, and you implement changes based on nothing but opinion, you run the risk of heading down a path that will take you away from your vision, rather than towards it.
As a leader, your job is to guage how your decisions are reflecting your vision. Feedback can help you to do so. That being said, taking feedback and running with it without considering who you are and what matters in the big picture first, will undermine your success every time.
Bottom-line: before you implement changes based on feedback received, make sure that said changes are aligned with your bigger vision. Feedback is nothing more or less than the opinions of others. Creating plans based solely on those opinions is a recipe for disaster. Know who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. Ask yourself, how does this feedback align with your vision? Then, if necessary and appropriate, implement the changes that fit.
Confession: I love seeing different Facebook quotes and memes and sometimes I find one that I consider “frame-worthy”. This week, I had that exact experience. The quote by Lao Tzu, which is featured in this ezine’s “quote to ponder” simply says: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” by Lao Tzu.
Before I expound upon the meaning of this quote and why I think it matters, consider this question: who are you? What is your defining quality? What do you stand for?
In this enlightened age, you are challenged to know yourself, to be true to who you are in all that you do. Indeed, this is a creed by which I myself live, a creed of authenticity. I’m sure you can relate. Many learned folks have told us that knowing who we are is essential to living a life of integrity.
And yet, there’s a pitfall.
When you are so certain about who you are, you limit your capacity to be more. You see, as a human being you are capable of EVERYTHING (yes, everything). There is nothing that you cannot do; no quality that you cannot be. Everyone is capable of doing great things, not-so-great things, being kind, being mean, telling the truth, lying, pushing boundaries, trying new things – you get the idea.
While you might subscribe to certain belief systems and certain ideas of who you are and who you want to be, there is opportunity that opens up for you outside of “who you are.” In other words, there’s something to be said for letting go of “this is who I am” and standing in the question of “who else am I?” When you do this, you allow yourself to stretch – to stretch your capacity, your capabilities, your opportunities.
Bottom-line: knowing who you are is a good thing. And, letting go of who you are in service of who you might be is an even better thing. Learn to dance with both. And watch yourself become ALL of who you truly are.
In the last little while, I’ve noticed something: peace seems to be in short supply. And yet, people are wanting it, seeking it, craving it.
This doesn’t surprise me. Given how busy people are, a little peace seems in order. And I’m not talking about peace of the anti-war variety (although that certainly is an extension of the topic at hand). I’m talking instead about that sense of calm and serenity, the peace that is the antithesis of the hurried, frenzied lives that so many of us lead.
I’m certain that you know what I’m speaking about. The question is, do you know how to find it? Create it? Access it? I’m going to hazard a guess and say that you don’t; or that you’ve forgotten how. And, in light of this, I’m going to offer you some really simple strategies for infusing your life with a little more calm, a little more peace.
In no particular order, here are ——– strategies. Many of these, done on their own, will bring some peace into your world AND you can certainly combine a few strategies to increase your sense of peace.
- Take a moment and close your eyes.
- Breathe deeply, at least 3, long breaths.
- Go for a walk.
- Turn off your computer
- Turn off your phone
- Stop checking email
- Limit your email interactions to twice a day
- Turn off the television
- Have a conversation with a loved one
- Cook a favorite meal
- Play a game with your children
- Read a book
- Sit in nature
- Stand by the ocean (or a lake, or a river, or a stream)
- Savour a cup of tea
- Turn on soothing music
- Turn off your car radio
- Take the scenic route home from work
- Go to your neighborhood park and swing on a swing
- Lie down outside and watch the clouds go by
- Stare into the heart of a flower (roses are lovely – as are gerbera daisies)
- Look at old photos
- Do some yoga
- Call up a friend
- Take a 15 minute nap
- Watch a sunset – or a sunrise
- Count the stars at night
I’m sure I could go on for a bit, but I’ll stop here; I don’t want to overwhelm you. I do want to inspire you with the simplicity of this list.
The notion of “finding peace”, especially when your schedule is hectic, can seem daunting. And yet, each of these things is very doable. Nothing requires a lot of time, or energy, or money.
Finding peace simply requires you to be aware and decide, if only for a moment, to focus on the simple. And before you say it, no – it’s not easier said than done. It simply requires you to choose. So go on. Choose a moment of peace.
Happiness. The concept has been on my mind a lot this last week. And the reason for this is a simple conversation that I had with a loved one recently. This particular individual is going through a lot right now. So many challenges and seeming roadblocks at every turn. Things are tough, no doubt about it. During the course of our conversation, in frustration she finally said, “I can’t wait until ________________. I just want to be happy again, and have some fun.” My heart broke for her. And not because I agreed, but because I saw what she was denying herself. Let me explain.
One of the things I’ve learned over the course of my life is this: happiness is not a function of your outer circumstances. Instead, happiness is a quality that resides within you. As such, it is accessible at all times. It looks a lot of different ways, and can make itself felt in varying degrees. Sometimes, happiness can feel like excitement, elation, joy and exuberance. Sometimes, happiness can be expressed and experienced in the company of others, in shared interests, in laugher and lightness. And sometimes, happiness is quieter, more subtle, a feeling of contentment, or even just a knowing that “this too shall pass.”
Because happiness resides within you, because it isn’t actually a function of what’s going on outside of you, here’s the kicker: if you’re waiting for your circumstances to change in order for you to be happy, you never will be. If you can’t find a way to access your inner happiness, in even the smallest of measures, no matter what is going on, you won’t be able to be truly happy when your circumstances change. Which is really, genuinely sad in my opinion.
One of the things that you’ve got to understand about happiness is this: it can coexist with feelings and circumstances that we don’t typically associate with happiness. For example, during a funeral, there is usually a sense of sadness. Grief. Loss. AND, there is often a corresponding sense of happiness that exists within the memories that you hold about the deceased. Experiences shared. Can you understand this? It’s imperative that you do because otherwise you will continue to deny yourself the opportunity to experience happiness no matter what is going on. You’ll continue to link your happiness to circumstances outside of yourself and that simply isn’t in your best interest.
All of this is not to suggest in any way that you must comport yourself with giddy happiness at all times. Sometimes, your over-riding emotion and expression will be sadness, anger, overwhelm, confusion. Whatever. This is okay. In no way should you deny yourself the expression or experience of any emotion. That being said, what I want you to understand is that you don’t need to wait to be happy. Don’t hitch your happiness wagon to the circumstances of your life. Instead, know that if you truly want to be happy, all you have to do is look within.
Bottom-line: life can be tough at times. Circumstances can feel overwhelming. In various situations you may well feel things other than happiness. The thing for you to remember is this: happiness is present nonetheless. Happiness resides within you. As such, it’s available to you in some measure at all times, if you choose to access it. Don’t wait for circumstances to change in order to experience happiness. Allow yourself to feel happiness no matter what. This is the essence of living your very best life.
Boundaries. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. I know I’ve talked about them. I believe that boundaries are essential to a life well-lived.
This is true in this day and age in particular. We live in an era when each and every one of us can be (and often is) available to the world 24/7 in some way, shape or form. Regular phones, smart phones, computers, tablets – these are all means by which we allow the world at large to access us at any given time.
This presents us with a double-edged sword. On the one hand, people can connect with us and us with them whenever necessary. On the other hand, people can connect with us and us with them whenever necessary. That’s right; the very blessing of technology is simultaneously a curse.
In the last week alone, I’ve witnessed not one, not two, not even a dozen, but scads (there is no concrete number here) of people talking, texting, emailing, instant messaging, face-timing, etc; all at times and in places where historically it wouldn’t have been possible. Don’t get me wrong; the POSSIBILITY of connecting isn’t a problem, necessarily. It’s what you do with that possibility that can lead you down a slippery, boundary-less slope.
You see, just because you have a cell phone and can be available 24/7 doesn’t mean that it serves anyone very well when you ARE available 24/7. Just because you can send a text message when you’re waiting at stop lights on route to your next meeting doesn’t mean you should. Just because a client can call you on a holiday to check in on something because he or she is working although you aren’t, doesn’t mean you have to interrupt your family time to answer that same call. These are the spaces where boundaries arise; however, boundaries will only work on one condition: you have to uphold them.
Let’s say that you have a policy as follows: you will be available to your clients between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.. On any given day, a client calls you at 8 p.m.. This call is not, in and of itself, a violation of a boundary (if you’ve explained the boundary to your client, granted, she needs to be reminded of this conversation). The boundary violation in this context requires you to participate; in other words, you need to answer that call in order for it to be a complete violation. When you choose to answer it (if you choose to answer it) you are as much in violation of the boundary as the caller. And, you have as much responsibility (if not more) to set the record straight.
The same holds true for emails and other messages of the sort. Just because your computer (or your tablet, or your smartphone) alerts you to the arrival of an email, doesn’t mean you have to tend to it immediately – especially if the alert happens outside of whatever you deem reasonable hours. You actually get to decide, based on the situation, the relationship, the need at hand, what your policies are around handling these sorts of communications, requests and invitations.
Here’s the thing about boundaries. The boundaries you set tell the world what matters to you, what you value. Yes, the specifics of your life influence your boundaries; a physician who’s on call is going to have different boundaries than an accountant working during tax season or a farmer working during harvest. In the professional context you have to know the needs of your clients/colleagues/customers and take these into account. And at the same time, when it comes to boundaries, you have to consider your life as a whole.
Do you have a family? What boundaries do you set to ensure that your family time is not compromised?
Do you have a home office? What boundaries do you set to ensure that your work stays separate from your personal life?
Do you live close to your place of employment? What boundaries do you set to ensure that your professional challenges don’t become part of your conversation with the neighbors?
This past week I had opportunity to challenge a few people on their boundaries (or lack thereof). When I suggested that one really could just not answer the phone (when it rings during dinner, or when it rings while you’re at a family celebration) I was told that “that’s not the way it works.” Well here’s what I want you to know: that IS the way it works. Always. Boundaries are only as strong as you make them to be. They’re only as strong as the degree to which you’re willing to uphold them. Otherwise they’re just suggestions; and you cannot complain if others continue to push the limits in this regard.
Bottom-line: the boundaries you set are a reflection of what matters to you. If you want to have time to yourself, if you want to feel like you’re appreciated and respected, if you want to do good work professionally and have meaningful relationships personally, learn to set boundaries. And more importantly learn to honour them. This is the key to making boundaries work.
Last week, I was blown away by a video that came across my Facebook feed. Truthfully, it was the title that intrigued me at first. “Simon Cowell Humiliates a 12-year Old Boy – Then That Boy Blows Everyone Away!”
Confession: I haven’t watched many of the talent – based television shows lately, but I used to be a pretty big Dancing with the Stars and American Idol fan. Now, given that I don’t watch so much TV at this point in my life, I do indulge in the occasional YouTube binge, catching clips from various shows, including Britain’s Got Talent, and such. I’ve never been a huge fan of Simon’s, however, I haven’t despised him as some others have. Yes, I find him a little harsh at times, he’s certainly not sugary-sweet, and there have been times when I’ve wondered whether he couldn’t have phrased his criticism a little less bluntly. So, when I saw the word “humiliate” in the title of this video clip, I had to check it out. What was Simon up to this time? What I saw amazed me. I saw the power of clarity in action – on two fronts.
Before I go any further, I invite you to check out the video for yourself – that way you’ll know what the heck I’m talking about. Here’s the link: http://www.godvine.com/Simon-Cowell-Humiliates-a-12-Year-Old-Boy-But-Watch-This–1742.html
Let’s start with clarity as it relates to Simon. One of the things that I believe is true of Mr. Cowell is this: he knows why he’s there. He knows his job. He knows his objective. For Simon, his role is not necessarily to be nice or to be mean. It’s to be honest. Admittedly his version of honesty often has an edge to it, however, I believe this edge is in service of his really clear objective: separate the great talent from the so-so talent. Period. And in light of this, Simon listens right out of the gate. Watch his face; he is paying really close attention and seems to realize very early on that something isn’t right. Notice, he doesn’t allow the contestant to go on indefinitely, neither does he kick the young lad off the stage. The moment that he realizes that this boy may well have talent but that his chosen song isn’t doing him any justice, he stops the audition. And because Simon is really clear on who he is, why he’s here and what his objective is, he states with equal clarity that something’s got to give. Moreover, he provides this young man with an opportunity to “course correct.”
For the record, I don’t think he humiliated the contestant at all, although the outcome could have gone a completely different way. The reason the outcome was as positive and mind-blowing as it was is this: young Shaheen was equally clear on who he is, why he was there, and what he wanted to accomplish.
For Shaheen, this audition was an opportunity to prove that he is a talented vocalist. He has a beautiful voice; he knows this. He knows he brings joy to others when he sings. And, although he has a moment when Simon’s comment lands hard on his ego, he also knows that the criticism he’s receiving isn’t about who he is or his capacity, it’s about his song choice. If you watch Shaheen’s face, you can see this. There’s a definitive moment when he makes that distinction, regroups, acknowledges that maybe Simon’s got a point, chooses another course and then blows everyone away. How cool is that! I still have goosebumps, every time I watch this video.
Bottom-line: clarity is one of the most amazing transformative forces in your life. When you are clear on who you are, what you’re up to and why, you can choose actions that move you forward with real ease and dignity, even when you hit those doubtful moments. You can move past supposed obstacles and you can do so with confidence. Take the time to get clear on who you are, and anchor yourself solidly in that clarity. Then, remind the world to watch out; because nothing’s going to stop you now!
Sometimes, life gets a little overwhelming. Can you relate? Do you know what I’m talking about? I’m guessing the answer to both of those questions is a resounding “yes”.
Overwhelm is a function of the crazy-hectic pace of our world today. I’ve talked about it before. Everywhere you turn there are things to see, people to talk to, and tasks to do. Everything from prepping meals, to scheduling and attending appointments, to shuttling or chauffeuring dependents, to paying bills – the list could literally go on forever (thereabouts).
Then, just when you’ve got your head around it all, when you think you’ve got it figured out and you’ve created a manageable way of interacting with all that is, wham! You get hit with a proverbial curveball – or two. Unforeseen illness, weather, hiccups of all sorts can interfere with the best-laid plans. No matter who you are. So, how do you cope? Forget cope, how do you navigate it effectively?
Simply put, you learn to choose effectively. That’s right; choice is the secret weapon of a life well-lived.
Like many secret weapons, the effectiveness of choice lies within its simplicity. Herein also, however, is why this strategy for living is so often overlooked. For some reason, you want things to be more complicated than that. Well, it’s not. Get over it.
No matter who you are, what position you hold, how old you are or what your family situation is like, you have a responsibility to learn how to activate your choice muscle. While the muscle is a metaphorical one, the implications are very real. Those individuals who know how to consciously and deliberately choose things in their life navigate curveballs and other detours with relative ease. Not that such curveballs are any less inconvenient; but, when you know how to choose, when you’re deliberate about the choices you make, the inconvenience is lessened and you can get back “on track” quicker.
So, if the secret weapon to dealing with curveballs is CHOICE, what’s the secret to learning to choose? Great question! Simply put, get conscious about the choices you’re making. You see, you’re making choices all the time. In the face of the crazy-busy schedule that most of you hold, however, your choices are very likely by default. Stop that! Give yourself the gift of 30 seconds and THINK about the choice you’re making and how it fits for you.
Someone wants to meet with you? Decide if this fits in your life. Someone wants you to attend a dinner party? Don’t just agree out of guilt; ask yourself if this is how you want to spend your time and then say yes, or say no. Your alarm clock goes off in the morning? Rather than simply rolling out of bed, DECIDE and by extension CHOOSE to do so (or not). Learn to get conscious and deliberate in your choices.
Admittedly, sometimes choices feel non-existent. If someone asks you to pray for them in a time of need (as happened to me recently), can you really say “no”? My answer: yes, you can (although it definitely feels like you can’t possibly). And, your responsibility is to ask yourself how saying “yes” or “no” will impact you. If adding one more thing to your energetic space is going to send you spinning into the realm of caretaker burnout, you actually have a responsibility – to yourself and to the person making the request of you – to say no. You cannot serve anybody well when you’re burnt out. And if, after consideration, you determine that you will say yes to the request, figure out what other thing you will say “no” to, in order to maintain your balance.
Bottom-line: curveballs will happen in your life. Nobody is immune. And, the secret to dealing with them, to hitting them out of the park, is to consciously decide which curveballs you’ll engage with and how. The choice is yours. Always. Avail yourself of the opportunity (actually, the responsibility) to choose and experience the lightness that ensues.
This week, I’m going to change things up a bit. I’ve had a few ideas floating around for this feature article space, but none of the article ideas has crystallized as I’m used to having them do. And so, instead of a traditional article on a topic of relevance, I’m going to share a list of sorts. In the past I’ve shared lists of favourite books, favourite activities and such. Today, however, the list is going to be a little different. This week, I want to share with you a list of the things that scare me most.
One of the misconceptions that I’ve often run into as a professional life coach is the notion that I have somehow got it all figured out. That I’ve somehow stumbled on the secret of life and can share it with you, if I so choose. That I don’t experience fear, doubts or challenges in life. Let me assure you that this is not the case; I’m as human as anybody and have my own fears, foibles and frustrations. I have pet peeves and things that confuse me. I face challenges every day, and sometimes I have no idea how to tackle them. Where I might be different from you (maybe) is in having learned some strategies for dealing with each of these challenges. And, given my own human journey, sometimes these strategies seem elusive. Coaching as I have been trained isn’t about me being an expert or having all the answers to life’s problems; that’s not what coaching is. Coaching is about me being able to be with and ask the right question to help move people forward. This is something I do exceptionally well. Most of the time.
All of that being said, sometimes there are things that scare the pants off of me. Sometimes I don’t know what to do. And in those moments, boy am I glad for the skilled coaches in my life that I can lean into myself.
So, having made myself a wee bit vulnerable and admitted to you that I haven’t got it all figured out, let me now share with you some of the things that scare me. Why? Because I have a sense that connecting with you on this level will help us both. It will help me to stand in a vulnerable space; and my hope is that it will help you to explore your own vulnerability. And, perhaps, it will allow us both to see that our individual fears and concerns are nothing more or less than concerns shared by others.
In no particular order, here are some of the things that scare me:
- That I won’t set a strong enough example for my children.
- Being without resources – financial, temporal, energetic.
- Getting lost – physically, emotionally.
- Dying without leaving a positive legacy; being forgotten once I die.
- Making mistakes.
- Hurting someone’s feelings.
- Being left alone, abandoned.
- That my kids will get hurt, and I won’t be able to help them.
- Having unfulfilled dreams.
- Falling (I’m not afraid of heights, really; just afraid of falling).
Now, having shared this list, here are some of the related things that I know for sure:
- These fears are not unique to me. They may not be shared by everyone, AND, I’m not the only one.
- Being afraid of something doesn’t mean that I have to allow that fear to keep me stuck. I can be fearful AND move forward.
- Some of these fears are unfounded. And, they’re still real.
- Some of these things will happen; and I’ll find a way to cope when they do.
- Fear is not a bad thing; it’s what I do with that fear that truly matters.
Bottom-line: fear is part and parcel of the human experience. Some have defined fear as False Evidence Appearing Real. From my vantage point, I’m not sure that the feeling of fear is always invalid; I think it can actually serve as an alarm bell of sorts, a call to pay attention. And, there’s something to be said for acknowledging the fear, being with it, not pretending that it doesn’t exist, but embracing it and moving through it. In the words of Susan Jeffers: feel the fear and do it anyway.