I met my climbing partner at the gym last Tuesday and he looked like he had endured a grueling overnight flight from Tokyo.
“You OK? You look like shit.”
“I woke up at three in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I’m completely stressed out.”
To say his life is perfect might be a slight exaggeration, but it seems pretty damn amazing. He owns a small web development company and has successfully grown to eight people in a distributed workforce that hums along 24×7 with developers in Canada, the Ukraine, France and England. He lives in Chamonix with his beautiful wife and his flexible work schedule allows him to climb, ski and play in the mountains when he wants.
His problem is that he needs to find something to worry about.
He has never fully addressed his Fear Frontier© and will continue to wake up in the wee hours of the morning and miss out on the joy of life over fear of the future and regrets of the past. Sound familiar?
In my upcoming book, Fear is Fuel, I share the neuroscience of how to find courage and live your life with confidence. One of the primary explorations is discovering your most influential trauma from when you were between 7 – 12 years old. That created your Fear Frontier.©
Mining the depths of your psyche for early trauma can help you recognize specific defense mechanisms you created before your pre-frontal cortex fully developed. Mechanisms to “protect” yourself. Only then can you reveal how those reactions both serve you and hold you back. Like it says in the Book of Life: “The compulsive need to worry is evidence that – somewhere in a past we haven’t fully unpacked and understood” – we experienced a life-defining trauma.
Your Fear Frontier© creates hidden anxieties because you have never properly consolidated that traumatic memory from your childhood. Memories form with two halves: an episodic memory (which is just the facts) and an emotional memory attached to those facts (how you felt at that moment). The science of neuroplasticity proves we can change emotions associated with our episodic memories. Doing that will free you from anxiety.
If you want to be fully present and experience how great life can be, then unpack your past and figure out what your event (or series of events) was. What happened that scared or traumatized you as a youth? Then gradually you can see how it conducts your life today. That is one of the biggest steps toward leading a courageous and anxiety-free life. It’s one my climbing partner is working on as well.
If this has been useful or insightful please pre-order a copy of my book Fear is Fuel. I wrote it after six years of research to show anyone how to find courage and confidence and live the most amazing life possible.