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Andrea McLean on how to embrace fear

4 MIN READ • 5th June 2023

Andrea McLean explains how to feel the fear and do it anyway

Fear can hold us back from pursuing our dreams, taking risks and reaching our full potential, but it doesn’t have to be this way. For me, learning to walk alongside fear means acknowledging it without letting it control our actions. So, just how do we embrace fear?

First and foremost, it’s important to recognise that fear is a natural and hugely important human emotion. It serves as a protective mechanism that has kept us alive and out of danger throughout our evolution. It is not something to be smashed out of us, or conquered, no matter how many macho men try and tell us otherwise.

Here are some steps to help you embrace fear:

1. Acknowledge and embrace fear

How many times do we try to just push fear down and squash it, telling ourselves that we are weak for feeling this way? I’d say most of the time.

Instead, look at your feelings, name them, acknowledge them and validate their existence. Try saying something like: “I’m feeling afraid right now, and that’s okay. It’s understandable that I’m feeling this way – things are tough!” This helps to take away the power it holds over you.

2. Get curious about your fear

What is it trying to tell you? Is your fear real or are your projecting it? Whose voice is it you hear in your head that is making you afraid? Is it yours, or someone who doesn’t believe in you and your abilities?

Perhaps a parent, an old teacher, or an unsupportive friend. What would you do if your fear wasn’t there? Write these questions down, and spend time answering them. Having this conversation with yourself is a powerful tool against the chokehold that fear has over you.

3. Take small steps outside of your comfort zone

This could be anything from speaking up in a meeting, or in a relationship, to trying a new hobby. These may not seem like obvious solutions, but by making ourselves do something that we would normally shy away from out of fear, we build up our ‘fear resisting muscle’. This soothes our frantic brain, showing it that change is not always bad, it can also be productive or even fun.

The key is to start small and build momentum. By taking small steps, you can build up your confidence and show yourself that you’re capable of more than you think. Write it down – what would you try if you weren’t afraid? How would that make you feel? What small step can you take today towards doing that thing?

4. Prepare for the worst

The strongest reframing tool you have is to prepare for the worst – I call this writing my ‘Blueprint For Failure’. It means writing down every fear that I am currently facing and writing down what my worries are around it.

Then, I write down what the worst thing is that could happen – followed by what I could do about it if that actually happened. The I write down the next worst thing that could happen, and write down what I could do about it. And I keep going until I have a list of really awful things that I haven’t wanted to face and have been freaking me out – complete with a list of positive solutions to them that I know I am capable of.

5. Celebrate your wins

As adults we very rarely take the time to pat ourselves on the back when we get something right, and yet we will spend hours ruminating over something that we have got wrong.

Take time to celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. By celebrating your wins, you’ll build up your confidence and create positive momentum.

How you celebrate is up to you, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. It can be as simple as doing something that you find enjoyable, but you never allow yourself the time to do it. Or it can be writing it down on a piece of paper and popping it into your celebration jar.

I have a jar at home where the whole family writes down on a post-it note anything good that has happened to them. Just seeing the jar fill up with coloured bits of paper is a visual reminder of how many good things are happening, and how we are always trying to do positive things.

That in itself can be enough to find the courage to keep going, even when we are afraid, which is the very definition of walking alongside and learning to embrace fear.

This girl is on fire: Andrea’s mission

It’s my life’s mission to help women feel better about themselves and that’s why I started I like to call it ‘a gym for the mind’.

Since launching as a simple online blog in 2018, This Girl is on Fire has grown into an internationally loved personal growth brand with a simple but powerful premise: to help women think differently about themselves, their circumstances and their lives, giving them the mindset and tools to re-imagine their future.

I know how it feels to be stuck, lost, afraid and broke. I know that making any kind of positive change to your life starts with the change you make to your mindset, and I want every woman to experience for themselves the emotional and financial freedom that I have found.

That’s why I bring together the best mentors, life coaches and motivational speakers in the world to encourage my community to think differently. It’s why I promote the work of female entrepreneurs on my marketplace; to help them successfully build their brand and its awareness.

It is my mission through the work we do at This Girl is on Fire and the ripple effect it has on our community, their families, friends and loved ones, to empower 100 million women and girls around the world…one girl on fire at a time. You can find out more by visiting the website, or check out the new This Girl is on Fire App.

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