Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway.pdf
Susan Jeffers' classic and actually very level-headed mega-bestseller
accessible, with lots of exercises and information to dip into and apply to real situations. Life-changing stuff --Spirit and Destiny
Simple yet profound reasoning --Independent
Like the title says, just go for it --Elle
Accessible, with lots of exercises and information to dip into and apply to real situations. Life-changing stuff. --Spirit and Destiny
Reading this book was a revelation. It's a wonderful book for life. --Julie Walters, actress
Susan Jeffers' classic and actually very level-headed mega-bestseller. --Guardian
Packed with insights as to why we feel the way we do and tools to improve your coping mechanisms --Sun
The queen of self-help --Express
Susan Jeffers, PhD, is an internationally renowned author who has helped millions of people overcome their fears and heal the pain in their lives.She is also a public speaker, workshop leader and media personality who specializes in the areas of personal growth and relationships. She lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California. Her website is: www.susanjeffers.com
FOREWORD TO THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
I do believe in miracles . . . and the success of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is a miracle to me. So many publishers rejected it in the beginning that I almost gave up trying to have it published. After all, if you received a rejection letter, as I did, that said, "Lady Di could be cycling nude down the street giving this book away, nobody would read it," wouldn't you be tempted to give up trying?!
I actually did put the manuscript away in a drawer for a few years, and almost forgot about it. One day, I decided to clean out that particular drawer ... and there it was... waiting for me. I sat down and read through it again. Suddenly I was struck with the powerful sense that I held something in my hands that would be of help to many people. This time I made a vow to myself: "Somehow I am going to find a way to get Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway out into the world!" And so I "felt the fear" and tried once again to find a publisher. And this time, with a deep inner resolve and with the help of my agent, Dominick Abel, I found a publisher at last. Twenty years have passed since Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway was first published. It is now available in over 100 countries and has been translated into over 30 languages. And that number continues to grow. From this continuous growth, one can conclude that the words I wrote so long ago are as relevant today as they were then ... if not more so!
Fear will always be a part of all of our lives in one form or another. And this applies to people everywhere. From the letters of thanks I receive from all over the world, it is clear that no matter who we are ... no matter where we live ... no matter what we are experiencing in life, we all feel fear, but fear doesn't need to hold us back from living a rich and beautiful life. We can overcome our fears by regularly using the powerful tools that lie within these pages.
I thank all of you who have let me know in one form or another that Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway has made a huge difference in the quality of your lives. It brings me a special feeling of joy and humility to know that I have touched the lives of so many people. It made me realize that trusting my gut and not giving up was a very good thing!
And for you "beginners" who are opening this book for the first time, trust me when I tell you that fear doesn't have to hold you back. You, too, can learn how to push through your fears ... ALL of your fears ... with a sense of power, excitement, and love. And that's what this book is all about.
As you will discover, the concepts and tools you are about to learn are meant to be used for a lifetime. Learn them well. And every time a new challenge comes into your life, you need only reach into your "toolbox" and move yourself from the weakest to the strongest part of who you are. As you do, you will be absolutely amazed at the incredible amount of power you hold inside . . . power to love, power to succeed, power to help the world in your own special way. The journey to the best of who you are is exciting and rewarding ... and I am so happy to be walking right along with you as you take those first important steps.
From my heart to yours,
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF . . . AND WHY?
I am about to teach another fear class. The classroom is empty. I am waiting for my new group of students to appear. My nervousness about teaching these classes disappeared a long time ago. Not only have I taught it many times, but I also know my students before I meet them. They are like the rest of us: all trying to do the best they can and all uncertain about whether they’re good enough. It never varies.
As the students enter the room, I can feel the tension. They sit as far apart from one another as possible, until the seats between must be filled because of lack of space. They don’t talk to one another, but sit nervously, expectantly. I love them for their courage to admit that their lives are not working the way they want them to work. And their presence in the class signifies that they are ready to do something about it.
I begin by going around the room asking each student to tell the rest of us what he or she is having difficulty confronting in life. Their stories unfold:
Don wants to change his career of fourteen years and follow his dreams of becoming an artist.
Mary Alice is an actress who wants to discover why she finds all kinds of excuses for not attending auditions.
Sarah wants to leave a marriage of fifteen years.
Teddy wants to get over his fear of aging. He is all of thirty-two.
Jean is a senior citizen who wants to confront her doctor; he treats her like a child and never gives her any straight answers.
Patti wants to expand her business, but can’t make the required leap to the next step.
Rebecca wants to confront her husband with things that have been bothering her.
Kevin wants to get over a fear of rejection that makes it very difficult to ask a woman for a date.
Laurie wants to know why she is unhappy when she has everything one could possibly want in life.
Richard is retired and feels useless. He fears his life is over.
And so it goes until everyone’s story is heard.
I’m fascinated with what happens during the go-around. As each person shares from the heart, the entire atmosphere begins to change. The tension quickly fades and relief is expressed on everyone’s face.
First, my students begin to realize that they are not the only ones in the world feeling afraid. Second, they begin to see how attractive people become as they open up and share their feelings. Long before the last person has spoken, a feeling of warmth and camaraderie pervades the room. They are strangers no more.
Although the backgrounds and situations of the class members vary greatly, it does not take long for the surface layers of their particular stories to disappear, opening the way for everyone to touch on a very human level. The common denominator is the fact that fear is keeping all of them from experiencing life the way they want to experience it.
The scenario above repeats itself in each fear class I teach. At this point you might be wondering how one course can accommodate all the diverse fears reported by the class members—their needs seem to be so varied. It’s true. They do seem varied until we dig a little deeper and look at the underlying cause of all their fears—and everyone else’s.
Fear can be broken down into three levels. The first level is the surface story, such as the ones described above. This level of fear can be divided into two types: those that “happen” and those that require action. Here is a partial list of Level 1 fears divided into these types:
Level 1 Fears
Those that “Happen”Those Requiring Action
AgingGoing back to school
Becoming disabledMaking decisions
RetirementChanging a career
Being aloneMaking friends
Children leaving homeEnding or beginning a
Natural disasters relationship
Loss of financial securityGoing to the doctor
Level 1 Fears (continued)
Those that “Happen”Those Requiring Action
Losing a loved onePublic speaking
AccidentsMaking a mistake
You might have a few you can add to the list. As I hinted earlier, you wouldn’t be alone if you said to yourself, “Some of the above” or even “All of the above.” There is a reason for this. One of the insidious qualities of fear is that it tends to permeate many areas of our lives. For example, if you fear making new friends, it then stands to reason that you also may fear going to parties, having intimate relationships, applying for jobs, and so on.
This is made clearer by a look at the second layer of fear, which has a very different feel from that of Level 1. Level 2 fears are not situation-oriented; they involve the ego.
Level 2 Fears
Being vulnerableLoss of image
Level 2 fears have to do with inner states of mind rather than exterior situations. They reflect your sense of self and your ability to handle this world. This explains why generalized fear takes place. If you are afraid of being rejected, this fear will affect almost every area of your life—friends, intimate relationships, job interviews, and so on. Rejection is rejection—wherever it is found. So you begin to protect yourself, and, as a result, greatly limit yourself. You begin to shut down and close out the world around you. Look over the Level 2 list once again, and you will see how any one of these fears can greatly impact many areas of your life.
Level 3 gets down to the nitty-gritty of the issue: the biggest fear of all—the one that really keeps you stuck. Are you ready?
Level 3 Fear
I CAN’T HANDLE IT!
“That’s it? That’s the big deal?” you may ask. I know you’re disappointed and wanted something much more dramatic than that. But the truth is this:
AT THE BOTTOM OF EVERY ONE OF YOUR FEARS
IS SIMPLY THE FEAR THAT YOU CAN’T HANDLE
WHATEVER LIFE MAY BRING YOU.
Let’s test this. The Level 1 fears translate to:
I can’t handle illness.
I can’t handle making a mistake.
I can’t handle losing my job.
I can’t handle getting old.
I can’t handle being alone.
I can’t handle making a fool out of myself.
I can’t handle not getting the job.
I can’t handle losing him/her.
I can’t handle losing my money . . . etc.
The Level 2 fears translate to:
I can’t handle the responsibilities of success.
I can’t handle failure.
I can’t handle being rejected . . . etc.
Thus Level 3—simply, “I can’t handle it!”
The truth is:
IF YOU KNEW YOU COULD HANDLE ANYTHING
THAT CAME YOUR WAY,
WHAT WOULD YOU POSSIBLY HAVE TO FEAR?
The answer is: nothing!
I know you are probably not jumping up and down for joy just yet, but believe me when I tell you that I have just given you a great piece of news. What I have just told you means you can handle all your fears without having to control anything in the outside world. This should be a tremendous relief. You no longer have to control what your mate does, what your friends do, what your children do, or what your boss does. You don’t have to control what happens at an interview, what happens at your job, what happens in your new career, what happens to your money, or what happens in the stock market.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO DIMINISH YOUR FEAR IS
TO DEVELOP MORE TRUST IN YOUR ABILITY
TO HANDLE WHATEVER COMES YOUR WAY!
I am belaboring the point because it is so critical. From this moment on, every time you feel afraid, remind yourself that it is simply because you are not feeling good enough about yourself. Then proceed to use one or more of the tools in this book to help build yourself up. You have your task clearly mapped out for you. There is no reason for confusion.
I’ve often been asked to explain why we have so little trust in ourselves. I don’t really know the answer to that. I know that some fear is instinctual and healthy, and keeps us alert to trouble. The rest—the part that holds us back from personal growth—is inappropriate and destructive, and perhaps can be blamed on our conditioning.
In all my life I have never heard a mother call out to her child as he or she goes off to school, “Take a lot of risks today, darling.” She is more likely to convey to her child, “Be careful, darling.” This “Be careful” carries with it a double message: “The world is really dangerous out there” . . . and . . . “you won’t be able to handle it.” What Mom is really saying, of course, is, “If something happens to you, I won’t be able to handle it.” You see, she is only passing on her lack of trust in her ability to handle what comes her way.
I can remember wanting desperately to have a two-wheel bicycle and my mother’s refusal to buy me one. Her answer to my pleas was always the same: “I love you too much. I don’t want anything to happen to you.” I translated this to mean: “You are not competent enough to handle a two-wheel bike.” Having become older and wiser, I realize now that she was really saying: “If anything happens to you, I will fall apart.”
This overprotective mother of mine was once in intensive care after serious surgery, with tubes down her nose and her throat. When I was told it was time for me to leave, I whispered in her ear—not knowing if she could hear me—that I loved her and would be back later. As I was walking toward the door, I heard a small, weak voice behind me saying—you guessed it—...
THE PHENOMENAL CLASSIC THAT HAS CHANGED THE LIVES OF MILLIONS
Are you afraid of making decisions . . . asking your boss for a raise . . . leaving an unfulfilling relationship . . . facing the future? Whatever your fear, here is your chance to push through it once and for all. In this enduring guide to self-empowerment, Dr. Susan Jeffers inspires us with dynamic techniques and profound concepts that have helped countless people grab hold of their fears and move forward with their lives. Inside you’ll discover
• what we are afraid of, and why
• how to move from victim to creator
• the secret of making no lose decisions
• the vital 10-step process that helps you outtalk the negative chatterbox in your brain
• how to create more meaning in your life
And so much more!
With insight and humor, Dr. Jeffers shows you how to become powerful in the face of your fears–and enjoy the elation of living a creative, joyous, loving life.
“Should be required for every person who can read! I recommend this book in every one of my seminars!”
–Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul
“It’s a must! The most practical guide to personal empowerment I have ever read. Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway goes to number one on my recommended reading list.”
–Jordan Paul, Ph.D., co-author of Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by You?
“Living is taking chances, and Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway has helped so many people, both men and women, to achieve success.”
–Louise L. Hay, author of The Power Is Within You