Book Review – Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers
First Published: 1981 by Arrow Books
I love Susan Jeffers. I read this book back in 1996 and again at the beginning of this year having heard last year that Susan had passed away. It resonates with me today as much as the first time.
Feel the Fear is a book that challenges us to step out of our comfort zone and indeed the author shares many of her own experiences of when she felt fearful. We are constantly reminded that “all we have to do to diminish our fear is to develop more trust in our ability to handle whatever comes our way”.
I love the lesson learned that in order to conquer fear, we must go out and do that thing which makes us fearful. Most of us fear the unknown but as long as we continue to grow, fear will never go away. Moving outside of our comfort zone usually brings a level of fear, at whatever level that may be. However, pushing through the fear is less frightening that dealing with the underlying fear of helplessness. We are encouraged to do every day one small thing outside of our comfort zone. Having practised this exercise in the past, I am convinced that it helps us to break the habit of remaining where we are and looking at our new world in a new way, thereby creating a new comfort zone with each forward move we make.
Of all the experiences and stories that the writer shares in her book, my favourite is that of Alex, who broke away from the hold of financial assistance from his father and pursued his own calling to be a psychologist. In doing so, while scary and difficult, he met the woman who was to eventually become his wife while on his newly chosen path. Had he not felt the fear, and taken the step out of his comfort zone, he may never have experienced the joy that resulted. This is a prime example of how life works for us all. If we do not step out and take responsibility, how do we know what potential opportunities we may be missing?
Many choices are available to us in any given situation. It is imperative for us to recognise that we choose our own circumstances, and to not blame others for them. When we find ourselves stuck and unable to act, we must accept that by not making a decision, we are actually making a choice to remain where we are. Sometimes, it is the payoffs that keeps us there (ie. Cannot leave a job we hate, but the money earned gives us a life we do not want to sacrifice, or staying in a relationship in which we are unhappy, but the risk of ending up alone and unhappy seems worse).
In this book, we are introduced to the “chatterbox” – that voice in our all heads that constantly recites the negatives; “don’t do that, it won’t work; you’re not good enough for that job” etc. This resonates with me as I commence my coaching career and my desire to encourage future clients to believe in the positive and the good in themselves. Even the author herself tells us that she too needs daily practice in this area, otherwise negativity will easily set in.
Feeling the fear involves knowing what you want and making a decision to go out and get it. Not making a decision to change for fear of making a mistake is pointless. We feel we should be perfect before we start at all!! Choosing Path A will lead us down a certain road, or Path B down another route. Strawberries .v. Raspberries!! Each path is strewn with opportunities despite the outcome.
We are also reminded to listen to our intuition and have fun while feeling the fear. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is feeling, yet has a burning desire to do something about it. It shows us how wonderful things can happen when we take action and overcome our fears.
Books that change lives – Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers
Review by Brenda Devenish, a graduate of the Diploma in Executive and Life Coaching
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