Have you ever thought what your life could be like if you confronted your fears and phobias? Michelle Poler spent her life living in fear and decided to do something about it. Michelle decided to spend 100 days facing 100 fears. This culminated with a TED Talk to confront her fear of public speaking. During the 100 days Michelle Poler faced a range of fears from posing as a life model at an art class, jumping out of a plane, walking around New York in a bikini through to holding a tarantula.
When you have a fear or phobia the moment when you confront those fears can be paralysing. In that moment when the flight, fight or freeze mechanism kicks in all logic goes out of the window. But what you might find surprising is that often the thing you think you are afraid of is not actually what you fear. It is the association you have with it. Michelle Poler looked deeper at her fears and realised that she didn’t actually have one hundred different fears, but in reality she had seven: pain, danger, disgust, embarrassment, rejection, loneliness and control.
What is it like to face your fear?
I am fairly lucky in the fact that I don’t really have many fears, but looking at Michelle’s list I may have more than I realised. Would I walk around London in a bikini, pose as a life model or go bungee jumping? Very likely the answer is no. But recently, I did confront one of my fears so that I could relate to what my clients go through when they have confront their phobias on a regular basis.
The day I met Prince
I recently had the opportunity to test the techniques that I use with clients when I unexpectedly found myself in the vicinity of a snake. There was a time when I couldn’t even look at a picture of a snake never mind be anywhere near one. On the day in question, I wasn’t expecting to see a snake and I could easily have walked on by. But I decided to stop and put myself, and the techniques I teach my clients to the test. I approached the man who was looking after Prince (a royal python) and explained my fear. I took time to get closer and closer and I could feel the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) kicking in. My breath became shallower, my face felt hot and I could feel a surge of adrenalin. I started by using a breathing technique to calm me down and then switched to one of my favourite techniques, TFT (Thought Field Therapy).
I may have looked odd tapping my face in a public place, but my focus was on facing my fear. I got closer and closer and then did something that I once thought unimaginable and asked if I could touch Prince. Touching Prince was not as I had imagined, he wasn’t slimy and as he was so docile my fear drained away. I asked someone to take a picture of this momentous (for me) event and strangely, I flinched when I saw the picture, rather than the royal python before me. (Read into that what you will).
Afterwards, I walked away on cloud nine with a real sense of achievement, but at the same time felt that maybe I should have gone further and asked to hold Prince. It is amazing how once you push the boundaries of your fear you want to take it further. Those that know me could not believe their eyes when they saw the picture, with one asking if the snake in the picture was a fake.
So what would happen if you pushed the boundaries of your fear? Could your life expand and new horizons open up? Or would your day-to-day life just become less stressful? You will never know unless you try.
I treat clients with a broad range of fears and phobias. If you would like to know more, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can then talk further about letting go of those fears and phobias that are holding you back from reaching your full potential.