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About the Author
Nina Lesowitz has over fifteen years experience orchestrating parties for corporations and organizations throughout northern California. She has planned special events on behalf of hotels, restaurants, medical centers, architectural firms, book publishing companies, and nonprofit organizations.Mary Beth Sammons is an award-winning journalist and women's issues columnist whose work appears frequently in Family Circle, the Chicago Tribune's lifestyle section, and leading consumer women's magazines. She is currently the "Finding You" editor for www.BettyConfidential.com and writes for various health and business publications. As an editorial vicepresident, Mary Beth launched the editorial departments of the largest consumer health online Web site--RevolutionHealth.com and its subsidiary, CarePages.com, for which she writes separate blogs. In addition, she is currently working with the Stanford Research Institute as editorial director of a storytelling project focused on consumer health and wellness. Mary Beth specializes in stories that inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things from a place deep in their hearts. She has written six books in the women's self-help and mind/body/health field including, We Carry Each Other: Getting Through Life's Toughest Times (Conari Press, 2007). She lives in Chicago's suburbs with her three children.
Read an Excerpt
Overcoming Fear and Facing the Unknown
If you really don't believe that you can do something, you can say to yourself: I will turn pain into purpose. I will try to turn pain into a fulcrum that moves the world to help.
ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer
We are living in difficult times. The stock market tumbles again. Headlines promise more waves of layoffs, more foreclosures, and a deeper recession. Businesses are closing. Swine flu and other health outbreaks threaten us on a seemingly daily basis. And headlines speak of global terrorists.
Who wouldn't have an anxiety attack just thinking about all this? How in the world are we supposed to act with courage in times fraught with so much talk of disaster? The great uncertainty of our time naturally provokes fear.
So how do we pursue our dreams at times when we so acutely face the fear of such huge unknowns? What do we do if we've lost our jobs? Or are thinking about changing a career, starting a new relationship, or making lifestyle changes? Our lives are fraught with experienceslarge and smallwhere we must muster the courage to face the unknown.
One thing that the people featured in this chapter have shown us is that without personal courage, it is impossible to survive and thrive in times of great challenge. As poet Maya Angelou challenges: "You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated." That is the attitude the people in this chapter sharea willingness to meet life's challenges and to forge ahead in the unknown with the mantra "Never give up."
When we start to worry about the outcome, we can begin imagining awful things that aren't there. Worrying is not insurance that nothing will ever go wrong. Worrying doesn't substitute speculation for action; it is just an exhausting exercise. In this chapter we tell the stories of people who evaluated their options and harnessed their vivid imaginations to help them overcome fear.
It's also important to remember that you are not alone. Almost everybody worries about what will happen in the future. The prospect of not knowing whether something good or bad will happen to you in the near future can produce a lot of fear and anxiety. So, remember to take one day at a time. In this chapter, we look to role models who offer some specific steps for facing the fear of the unknown.
No one can predict the future or control what happens, but we can face our fears by preparing for the challenge. It's important to surround ourselves with support and to engage in positive self-talk or visualization of the outcome. Imagine yourself working in your dream job. We also can focus specifically on what it is we are afraid of and what is at stake and take appropriate action to make the change.
Top 10 Fears
1. Public speaking
3. Confined spaces
6. Tunnels and bridges
8. Public transportation (especially airplanes)
10. Water (swimming and drowning)
(Source: Face Your Fears Today, faceyourfearstoday.com)