All of us experience fear. Some people are crippled by it while others thrive in spite of it. “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” (by Susan Jeffers) is like a guidebook to help you to understand fear, with techniques and tools to conquer your fear and live life fully. In our summary, we’ll explain where your fears come from, highlight 5 facts about fear, and outline how you can overcome fear. For the full details, examples and tips, do get a copy of the book, or get a detailed overview with our complete book summary bundle.
Jeffers believes that fear is not a psychological problem but an educational one. Many of us treat fear as an obstacle that stops us from moving forward. The truth is, fear surfaces whenever we take a risk or try something new—the issue is not with fear per se, but how we handle that fear.
In order to conquer your fear, you must understand it. Jeffers helps us to make sense of our fear by breaking it down into the 3 levels of fear, and the 5 facts about fear. In a nutshell:
THE 3 KEY LEVELS OF FEAR
Level 1 fears
These are “surface stories” that you tell yourself about what will happen (e.g. aging, being alone) or things you must do (e.g. making a career switch, making a speech). Often, the fear of 1 thing can spill over into other areas (e.g. a fear of meeting new people can induce fear of crowds, parties, public speaking etc.)
Level 2 fears
These involve your inner states of mind rather than external factors. These are generalized fears that cut across many areas of life—such as the fear of rejection, failure, success—to reflect your sense of self and abilities.
Level 3 fears
Beneath every fear is the level 3 fear or ultimate fear that you won’t be able to handle something, i.e. all fears are fundamentally due to a lack of confidence. Use the tools and ideas in this book to build the confidence that you can handle anything in your life. When you can shift your dominant thoughts from “I can’t handle it” to “I will handle it”, you’ll fear virtually nothing.
THE 5 TRUTHS ABOUT FEAR
When you can accept your fear and act in spite of it, you’ll naturally overcome it. Jeffers breaks this down further into 5 truths about fear:
So long as you’re growing and trying something new, you will feel fear. Hence, there’s no point in trying to avoid your fears.
Many people are trapped by when-then excuses, i.e. “when this happens, then I’ll do that”. The only way to remove a fear is to do keep doing what you fear to do. When you face the unknown and handle it, you’ll learn to do it better each time and gradually lose your fear of it.
It’s less scary to push through a fear than to constantly feel crippled and worried about the “what-ifs”. Each time you confront a fear, you remove some of the uncertainty. The more you do so, the more you realize that you can handle anything that life throws at you, and become more liberated and confident to live life fully.
When you confront your fear and do it anyway, not only do you overcome the fear, you also feel good about yourself. Mastering something you previously feared can be deeply satisfying and fulfilling.
Everyone has their fears; they just don’t usually talk about it. In short, you’re not alone.
Overcoming your Fears
How can you move from “I can’t handle it” to “I will handle it”, so you can move ahead in spite of your fears? In the book, Jeffers covers a wide range of strategies and tips that you can use. The idea is to re-educate yourself about fear, then use one or more of the tools provided to move ahead whenever you feel afraid. We’ve organized these tips into 6 broad areas in our full 14-page book summary—here’s a very brief overview:
Moving from Pain to Power
Learn to move from a position of pain (helplessness, depression, paralysis) to one of power (choice, energy, action), so your fear no longer holds you hostage. In the book / complete summary, we explain how to use the “Pain-to-Power Chart”, switch from Pain-to-Power Vocabulary, expand your comfort zone and put these into a daily program.
Learn to recognize and exercise the choices and power that you actually have. The book / full summary dive deeper into 7 ways to regain control, with exercises to become aware when you fall into a victim mindset, so you can regain control and power.
Practicing Positive Thinking
Manage your frame of mind, which determines how you feel and act, and shapes your reality and outcomes. Jeffers shares various tips to reinforce positivity and counter the negatives around you.
Handling Changes to Your Relationships
As you grow, your close friends and family members may feel uncomfortable and start reacting negatively. In the book / full summary, we explain how to handle such relationship challenges as you cope with your own fears.
Making “No-Lose Decisions”
Most of us are afraid of making the “wrong” decisions; we spend loads of time trying to figure out if each option is right or wrong, then revisit our decisions over and over again. Jeffers explains how you can make “no-lose decisions” to leverage opportunities no matter which path you take.
Living a Whole Life
It’s common for people to devote their entire lives to someone or something (e.g. their spouse, kids, or work), and feel devastated when they lose what they consider to be the centre of their lives. In the book / full summary, we explain how live a fulfilling life with less fear, choose love and trust, and say “yes” to what’s placed in your path.
Other Details in “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”
The book includes many examples and stories of people who have pushed past their fear, as well as life scenarios to help us reflect on the concepts being presented. Jeffers also shares a simplified “Model of Being” to explain how we can use the tools and positive signals in this book to overcome negativity and connect with our Higher Self.
Do get a copy of the book for the full details, get our Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway summary bundle for an overview of the various ideas and tips, or get more resources (including stories and affirmations) at www.susanjeffers.com.
Learn how to face and overcome your fears to live life fully!