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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

Understanding fear and transforming it into an ally

“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.” Zig Ziglar


Have you ever become very upset at work or in a relationship only to realise you blew things out of proportion and were wrong?

Our reactions are usually out of proportion to the stimulus as shown by emotional intelligence research (see Dan Goleman).

The implication is that any fear you experience is likely to be based on a distorted understanding of the situation causing you and others unnecessary suffering.

In fact, you’re more likely to be afraid of some imagined negative feeling in the future than you are to be responding to what’s actually going on in your life right now.

What’s worse is that you can get used to living this way. The anxiety becomes a familiar emotional home and you start believing that if you weren’t anxious and stressed something would go wrong, you would drop the ball or nothing would get done…A deadly post hoc rationalisation for chronic anxiety.


I’ve noticed recently, as I’ve pushed myself further and further out of my comfort zone (e.g. in taking a career leap and doing things I’ve always wanted to do) that fear is the most intense when you’re about to prove that it’s OK to step out of your comfort zone.

For example, when things start progressing and I’m about to hit a major milestone in my work, the part of my identity that didn’t believe it’s possible starts to really kick back (because it’s about to be proven wrong and become redundant…It’s about to die).


You may think that fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of rejection are what’s holding you back from your dreams. But that’s only beginner fear: you know about it, you talk yourself through it, your friends encourage you, you eventually move forward.

Beware of the biggest fear of all: it will mess with your mind like a dark storm and leave you walking blind in the desert.

The fear of success...

Why? Because success - true success (not the box ticking type) – in an endeavour that's worthy of the potential you carry, will push you beyond anything you currently know about yourself.

It will challenge the core limiting belief at the centre of your existence (that somehow you are not enough and need to try harder).

It will turn your world upside down and blow your familiar reference points to smithereens; blur the boundaries between reality and possibility.

You will realise what is truly possible...

And - that - is - scary.

Everything you want lies beyond this fear...


It’s important to work with your fears rather than ignore them. They can hold much wisdom to help you recover your motivation and clarity.

It may feel uncomfortable but the pay off is enormous in terms of contentment and achieving your goals.

In the short video below I share three steps to deactivating and transforming a fear. They’re based on the approach proposed by great coaches like Tony Robbins to age old spiritual traditions for transmuting emotions.

Have a great week,


Transformational Coach and Consultant

p.s. There'll be no Wise Wednesdays next week. See you in a couple of weeks!

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