Fear always arrives in a disguise

'I've written before about fear, and I've spent time thinking about it thanks to some wonderful books - in particular Linchpin and The War of Art.

There's something particularly important I think I've learned about fear though - and that is that it seems to me fear never actually shows up as fear.  With the exception of genuine terror I suppose, it seems to always show up disguised as something else.

Fear arrives in the form of anger even when we aren't mad at anyone, but are instead worried about something related to our work - and so we lose our temper.

Fear shows up as insecurity when it comes to our lovers, not because we're actually jealous of any particular person, but simply because we're afraid of losing someone we love.

Fear arrives as worry when we know can't control the outcome of something. Instead of recognizing the thing we're afraid of and moving on, we remove the joy from the present by worrying about the future we can't control.

When we get a big break fear shows up as anxiety, because few things are as scary as success.

When we're afraid to show the world our creations, fear shows up as perfection, because it knows that if we don't ship it until it's perfect......we'll never ship it.

The most important thing I've learned about fear, is that fear is a coward. Afraid to show up as itself, it always arrives in a disguise.

It seems to me the only way to fight fear is to unmask it, call it out for what it is, recognize it's presence, and then observe how little power it actually has.

Fear isn't all that scary, but it's disguises are terrifying.