Those of us who are changemakers battle conquering fear as part of our work to go out into the world and be warriors of social justice. We have become changemakers because we have endured our own traumas and injustices, and so we are inspired to stand up and help others. It is our own challenging pasts, however, that can haunt us. Out of our traumas, as is true for anyone who has experienced trauma, we are left with deep-seated fear and limiting beliefs hidden in our subconscious minds. It is this fear and these limiting beliefs that can cause us to fall into a rut even around work we are passionate to do. So, in order to be empowered to do our best work, we must put our pride aside, admit when we are struggling, and do the work of healing.
When we feel stuck and pause to explore ourselves more deeply, we can find that our subconscious minds hold beliefs that we're not good enough to do the work we want to do. This is when we experience a task ahead as too big, too daunting, and think we're not cut out for it. The deep-seated fear of not being good enough is often triggered in changemaker work where we are surrounded by critics and naysayers who cut us down to preserve the status quo. In these moments of being berated, we often feel our anger at the surface, but sometimes miss those deeper roots of fear from our pasts about not being accepted. Being a changemaker is challenging work in this way! To know these fears are normal and part of the changemaker's journey is a blessing. This wisdom helps us to shed away any shame around the times we get stuck or find ourselves playing small or feeling burnt out.
The good news is: we can overcome our fears and limiting beliefs. I am very proud that helping changemakers break through to their greatness is a big part of my coaching work. It takes a sacred journey leaning into support of spiritual practices and people who have been on the journey before us. We can also call upon the spirits of changemakers before us who have died and passed over, our ancestors and activist leaders (Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus) who have been where we are to guide us. We must remember that as changemakers we act on the fringes and are in the minority, so we need the positive energy of our colleagues and of those who came before us to keep up in the difficult moments.
I spoke on this topic recently at the Restorative Justice Conference at Trinity Christian College. Check out an excerpt of the panel discussion here:
To close, here is a quote from one of the great changemakers of our time, Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple. In his words, we can see the inherent challenges and beauty of being a changemaker:
"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes.... The ones who see things differently--they're not fond of rules.... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things.... They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do."
Spiritual Practice: Meditations for Conquering Fear
When our work involves going against the status quo to bring more love, peace, justice, and harmony into the world, we are in special need of spiritual practices to keep us centered on our path. A powerful tool to stay in our hearts and open to guidance is mediation. Here are 3 meditations I've handpicked from the Insight Timer App that help in conquering fear:
Relieve Stress and Calm Down
by Yuval Ron
(10 minutes under Fear Category)
by David Gandelman
(12 minutes under Acceptance Category)
(26 minutes under Lovingkindness Category, or start with 5 min version)