Personal Development

How to Use Fear as Your Compass

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There is a way to look at and feel fear to help you transform, overcome and master it. The kind of fear that keeps you from truly living out loud and doing the things you always dreamt of doing is changeable, and the key is a tool that everyone has at their disposal every moment of the day – awareness.

"Your fear is boring." Elizabeth Gilbert

Compared to what many people on the planet endure, overcome, and have to heal from, she's right, my fear pales in comparison. When I read those words there was instant recognition – I had no excuses. There was nothing in the way of following my dreams, shining my light and living out loud with a mission to inspire and help people.

fear_as_a_compassIf you have fears like I do, about being seen, showing up and expressing your awesome self out loud, and making your mark in the world, then I'm going to challenge you to practice a deeper level of awareness. What has happened for me is every layer I uncover and peel off brings me closer to my soul's mission or calling.

I used to wonder about having a mission; like a predetermined thing we were born to do. I doubted it, as I never seemed to feel an intense passion for anything, or if I did, I never linked it to what I was supposed to be doing in this world. Even if I did that, I was afraid that I wasn't good enough.

The meaning of life (or any moment in time) is the meaning you give it.

These words were spoken to me at a personal growth seminar many years back. Now I know they were talking about an awareness I didn't fully embrace back then. If I give my life it's meaning or purpose, then it's all on me. I felt a lot of pressure at that point to get cracking. I had some more layers of fear to peel off first.

The thing I'm aware of now is because I give my life its meaning, I get to choose. This's a good thing, not an overwhelming thing. I get to pick what I love, what turns me on, what lights my fire"¦and I get to do that! I am in control of the thoughts, beliefs and actions that make up my life.

Nobody tells you that once this happens, once you finally get this and choose a path, that the real challenge begins. They don't tell you that every fear you ever felt will come up as a test. That you'll be challenged to move through things that bring you down, to your breaking point, or to rock bottom.

The thing is, moving through deep seated fears (that are boring by the way) are the exact way you'll become the teacher. They are the path that will lead you to the dream. The mistakes, failures, embarrassments, losses"¦they are all there to bring you to the place you asked to be.

Using awareness – a mindful presence that helps you stay in the present moment feeling your thoughts, sensations, feelings and emotions – you will begin to see fear is just another feeling in your body and because that feeling triggers a reaction from you, you are stuck in a repetitive loop of that same reaction, rendering you paralyzed. At least this is how it goes down for me.

Someone says something that makes me feel small, powerless, and unworthy, I shrivel up and get quiet, understanding that I don't matter in the situation, and I become paralyzed – can't move or speak up.

I was three when this shit happened. This is boring now. I have more important things to do and say and create; really awesome, helpful, creative things that my soul is called to do and be. I can, through my awareness of this pattern, break out of it and pick a new way to believe and act.

How do you break that pattern? By stepping back and observing; watching myself like I'm watching a movie and in the middle of that show I'll see what's going on and be able to change it. In one moment you can change your thought pattern from an unconscious reaction to fear to a conscious awareness of the feeling.

What you are afraid to do (but really want to do) is your teacher. Time to wake up and listen. When you are faced with the choice to move forward with your dreams are you going to let the voice of fear paralyze you, or are you going to recognize the old, outdated, boring, unhelpful tape that is playing and pick another path?

I choose the other path. When you are stuck in fear, worry, shame, or doubt, you are doing that to yourself. It's being fiercely aware in the moments of this that will be your magic key to getting out of the cage you locked yourself up in. Fear is your compass. You can allow it to point you in the direction of your dreams.

And then watch out world because with your new-found awareness and your big-ass dreams, who knows what will happen. I can't wait to see!

What fears do you have that you know are boring? What gets in the way of you doing what you are called to do? Tell me in the comments.

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About the author

Laura Probert

Laura Probert, MPT is an expert healer, teacher and writer for people sick of pain and fear getting in the way of their joy. She's serious about integrating mind, body and soul as a path to healing and she'll show you how. She works with people who are ready to take action toward their dreams by waking up, being brave, healing their shit and doing what they love so much they lose track of time. Laura's a regular contributor for The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen and Wild Sister Magazine. Her blogs have been featured in Tiny Buddha, Black Belt Magazine and The Elephant Journal. Her thought-provoking challenges, classes and workshops will help you redefine healing and take your journey to the next level. When she's not igniting transformation in her clients you'll find her writing, hanging with her kids, dogs or a horse, or taste testing dark chocolate. Find her at and Facebook The FREE 10 day Warrior Writing Challenge starts soon!