Self help books – Feel the Fear…and Beyond

In my journey through the charity shop self help books, I came across Susan Jeffers’ follow up to her successful “worldwide bestseller” Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.  I had read this and can’t remember that much about it to be honest.  But, I do like the title and it sort of captures the essence of the book pretty much – that instead of shying away from uncomfortable, ‘out of our comfort zone’ situations, we need to just go for it.  The sense of achievement afterwards is usually huge and that particular situation becomes just a little less fearful.

So the follow up – if you’ve faced your fears and done it anyway, what next can you get up to in your journey of self development?

The book revolves around the idea that “constant repetition of desirable thoughts and behaviour is the key to changing undesirable thoughts and behaviour.” I certainly agree with that.  We often spend our lives telling ourselves we’re “shy” or “no good at public speaking” or “disorganised” and so we live up to our internal assumptions. When I question clients who state such beliefs, and ask “really?” they suddenly realise that there is another way and they can adopt more positive belief patterns, should they wish to.  It takes a little practice unravelling many years of telling themselves the opposite, but it can be done.

Susan suggests the reader may find creating a group helpful, where a number of people work through the book and meet up to discuss.  I can see that that can help, as if you have others supporting you, you will find it more difficult to make excuses and not do it. Depends on your character and whether you have time to create a group.

The book continues the theme of a higher and lower mind.  The higher mind being the one that encourages us, has positive thoughts and the lower mind being the saboteur that asks “but what if” and throws cold water of everything we do. Chapter 5 is interesting in that it looks at how to make “no-lose decisions” – basically be asserting that if you realise that regardless of outcome, whatever decision you make will open up other opportunities that we can learn from.  I know that can work, and takes so much pressure off decision making, which often creates stress and prevents us from making decisions.

Repeating mantras is also a feature of the book – telling yourself “I’ll handle it” several times until you truly believe that you can find a way to handle anything life throws at you.  I like this and can see it shifts the thinking from “Oh dear, how will I possible manage that” to “of course I’ll find a way and all will be fine”.

Chapter 9 is great – all about finding “friendly friends” ie those that don’t criticise, focus on the negative, glass half empty sorts. It gets you to list your friends and assess whether they are good for you or not.  I see so many people who are enormously affected by negative friends and family, and are frightened to change anything for the better about themselves for fear of negative comments.  Susan’s advice is to get rid of them.  Easier said that done – but it is possible to start acting the part of a new more confident person, and see what effect that has.  If you can find the self belief that will weather some negative feedback, then you may change they way they see you.

The book ends with ‘Statements of Intention’ – one each day for 30 days, where different intentions feature eg inviting others into your life, loving yourself, everything you do is part of a journey of growth and discovery. Each day you must write something you are grateful for and what your ‘risk of the day’ will be.  This is a mix of many other self help theories, but anything that focuses the mind for 30 days to get you thinking more confidently and positively can only be a good thing, in my opinion.

Did it work?

I always love the idea of facing fears, so yes, it did work.  I also like the idea of taking a risk each day – however small.  Some may find it a bit simplistic, but is does attempt to address some of the more serious events in life, and, if you’re in the right frame of mind, much of is will be useful. It is well planned and there is a good structure which can be followed to ensure good results. So yes, it works and yes I would recommend it.