Overcoming Fear: A Personal Letter to Lizard Brain

LIZARDBRAINDo you know that feeling of a sort of tickling in the pit of your stomach?  It’s a feeling of excitement and anxiety combined.

Those feelings are so close that that you can literally feel excited one minute and panicked the next. It doesn’t take much to tip the balance.

That’s the way I’m feeling right now. A huge excitement that I’m on the verge of doing something big… and then with the next breath, a huge anxiety that maybe I won’t succeed.

Whew. One minute I feel a tingle of possibility. The next minute I question my very nature and wonder if I’m just stuck being who I am, no matter what I’d like to do.

Ever Feel This Way?

I think I can… I think I can… I think I can… but can I?

I know I’m not alone. You’ve probably had that sensation too.

It’s Lizard Brain vs Lion Heart.  The part of your brain that triggers danger rubbing right up against the part of your brain that infuses you with courage.

Lizard Brain vs. Lion Heart: A Delicate Balance

LIONHEARTThese characters co-exist. They cause those bubbles of anxiety and the palpitations of incipient terror.

Every once in a while, you encounter a big opportunity. You can make the decision to step up or to hold back. You push forward into what you know will take hard work and discipline or you sit back in your comfortable status quo.

And when those decisions are right in front of you, your internal characters, Lizard Brain and Lion Heart go to war.

I don’t know about you, but I know that it doesn’t feel good to have a sense that I haven’t done my best or pushed my hardest to play on a bigger field and do more good in the world.

So Lizard Brain, I hear you. I feel you. But I’ll ask you to raise your warnings only when I’m really in danger.  Hush up now.

The worst I can do is to try and fail. And then at least I will have tried.

TryTry ThisThis

Talk to Your Lizard Brain

The next time you feel that push-pull sensation of wanting to do something bigger but being afraid, ask your Lizard Brain to pipe down, unless the danger level is real. Just by acknowledging your fears, they are likely to evaporate (or at least retreat a bit).

How do you handle your fear of failure? Share your stories in the comments.

  • dwmfrancis

    Andrea; You have stumbled onto something very powerful here. Go look up Alfred Bandura and a problem solving approach called Design Thinking taught by the d.school
    at Stanford. I think you’ll like it.