Where does fear live?
Anyone who has taken one of my German Wheel classes or spent any significant amount of time with me, knows that I often start a sentence before having any idea where it is going to end up. That leads to lots of ridiculous/awkward things coming out of my mouth, but that’s cool we all get a little laugh and it’s all good. Fortunately, this occasionally results in my saying something useful. This blog revolves around one such occasion.
I was working with one student who had been struggling with a trick for months and she had just turned a big corner and it was starting to work. We were talking about how this trick was still scary for her and I blurted out, “You aren’t scared of this trick because of the way you are doing it now, but scared of how you used to do it.” Not the most poetic of sentences, but it made a lot of sense to me and seemed to resonate with the student as well. She wasn’t scared of the trick the way it was working now, but the stress response that had been built up after months of battling with this element left a residue of fear. I can’t take all the credit, but after saying that, we talked a bit about fear and how it perpetuates itself. Once she realized that her fears were not issues anymore, she was able to let go of some of it.
I guess it was just a little epiphany for me to realize that we often are not scared of the trick we are doing, but instead are remembering the scary things that happened before. This is a classic example of a behavioral pattern; it’s how humans learn. When I stick my hand in the beehive, I get stung, so I get scared, thus preventing me from sticking my hand into bee hives in the future. But training is a different beast because we are learning techniques to be able to stick our hands into a hive and come out un-stung. Once we learn the safe way to penetrate the hive, you have to make yourself let go of that fear. Don’t get me wrong, fear can be useful; it keeps us safe and in general dissuades us from doing stupid things. However, some times it can hang around longer than necessary, and it is important to recognize when it’s time to move forward.
So give a little think; that trick that terrifies you, is it the trick you are doing now, or the one you were doing months ago? It’s an important difference.