Updated: Sep 3, 2020
My book of choice this week is entitled 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' by the author and psychologist, Susan Jeffers. It was first published in 1987 (the edition I have been reading), at a time when tape recorders, the Sony Walkman and dictaphones were the height of technology; a time when social media and the freedom of the internet were but a sparkle in technologists eyes!
However, despite a number of the activities suggesting that you would benefit from recording things on side A of a tape, and that you could listen back on your personal stereo, the content and messaging throughout the book have really struck a chord with me; and most definitely stand the test of time.
The overall notion of the book is that a lot of things in life are scary, and that by embracing that fear and 'doing it anyway' we become more in control of our fear, rather than being controlled by it. There is also the overarching principle that, no matter what the situation, we always have a choice...albeit that this choice may simply be about the attitude we choose to adopt at that particular time. We are in control of our own destiny.
Early on in the book, you are introduced to the concept of the 'chatterbox', the negative commentary that happens in your head when facing something scary; the voice that tells you nothing is possible and that it is far too risky to even try. Then towards the end of the book, you are introduced to the spiritual concept of your 'higher self'; the internal source of positive energy and thoughts that is preferable to the 'chatterbox' in many situations.
I really enjoyed reading this book and as I whizzed through the 219 pages, I took time to step back and reflect on many of the thought-provoking insight that emerged from the words. Some of the content resonated completely and I could see how it can really help develop my thinking and behaviour going forward; whereas other sections presented me with more questions than answers, and others just simply did not feel like they aligned with my personal philosophy or beliefs. But that is all part of the ongoing process of learning.
What really struck me as I read this book is how many of some now very well known concepts, models and principles have their base in these very same ideas. For example, whilst reading this book I found myself thinking about The Fish Philosophy (Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen), The Chimp Paradox (Dr Steve Peters), the GROW model, the SCARF model (David Rock) and a whole variety of approaches to self-reflection and growth from the fields of psychology, learning, development, coaching and sport. I also know that if I looked back from the first publication date of this book (1987), that I could trace other ideas, principles and philosophies that connect to the approaches and thinking in this writing. Perhaps some of Lewin's change theories, Kolb's learning cycle and most definitely links to psychological theories.
And that, I suppose, is how we learn and continue to push the boundaries of what we know. We reflect on the past, we think about current knowledge and practice, and we look at how we can combine existing theories and practices to further our awareness and understanding of core issues. And in a world where we now have smart phones, global connectivity, social media and an unbelievable wealth of technological solutions, rather than the walkman, tape decks and two-sided cassettes, the potential for solutions and connected thinking is potentially endless. It is about making connections between previously unconnected thoughts and seeing where that takes us.
So, follow your heart...feel the fear and do it anyway.