Fear is a normal, and sometimes necessary, feeling to have. Everybody has felt it – even the “Great Ones”. So there’s nothing wrong with you if you’ve experienced it. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or lacking, trust me. But for some reason, it’s something we tend to be ashamed of. If you asked the “great ones” about fear, they would probably tell you they have a different way of looking at it. They see FEAR as Feeling Excited And Ready. Like when you go on your first date. You have butterflies in your stomach. You could also compare it to stage fright. Almost all performers have stage fright, no matter how long they’ve been in the business.

What happens is our mind makes up these worst-case scenarios and we scare ourselves to death. Now, I’m not talking about situations where your life is in real danger. If a bear is in hot pursuit, DO run for your life. That’s exactly what fear was intended for – to keep us safe from physical danger. But if, for example, you have to deliver a speech and you start to feel panicky, sweaty, and you suddenly forget what you’re supposed to talk about, DON’T run for your life! What’s the worst that could happen? Will they throw tomatoes at you? That’s not likely. So instead of getting yourself all worked up, try this: start breathing deeply and slowly from your belly. One of the things that does is take the focus off the panicky chatter of your mind and back to your body. You will feel grounded, calmer and smarter. Yes, smarter – because when you’re stressed, the blood drains from your brain and goes to your muscles to enable you to escape from the bear. So you are in fact less smart, temporarily. You can’t think straight. But simple, deep belly breaths do the trick. You calm down, and then you’re able to remember what the heck you’re supposed to talk about J

So next time you feel fear – and there’s no bear around – remember you’re just feeling excited and ready and breathe slowly and deeply. Then notice how it impacts your experience.

I invite you to try it out and share your feeling-excited-and-ready story. I’d love to hear about it!

Sylvie Grégoire