Dealing With Fear and Anxiety:
Principle 3 - Discern Two Types of Fear
Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're
When dealing with fear, it is helpful to realize that
not all fears are created equal. W. Timothy Gallwey and Robert Kriegel
devote an entire chapter to two kinds of fear in their book, Inner
Skiing, which they call Fear 1 and Fear 2.
Fear 1 magnifies danger and vulnerability while minimizing your sense
of competence. In other words, Fear 1 is Fantasy Expectations
Fear 2 mobilizes your whole being for effective action.
It includes a series of marvelous physiological changes that prepare the
body for peak performance. Fear 2 focuses attention, provides adrenaline
for extraordinary effort, and sharpens perception. Fear 2 promotes effective
action, Fear 1 paralyzes us and prevents action.
Return to the list of fears that you made in the first
exercise in this guide. Now, you have the opportunity to sort your fears
by type. Work through your list, labeling each fear as:
• Fear 1
• Fear 2
• Not sure, or includes aspects of both types of
If you have not yet written a fear list, do so now. Writing
down your fears is a powerful step in dealing with fears and anxiety and
eventually managing them. Until you write them down, they are like so
many vehicles in gridlock. Once you have them on paper, you can park some
and move others, clearing a space for forward movement. In this way, writing
down your fears creates a space for awareness and choice. (Tip:
Refrain from judging yourself or your fears. Just list and label them.)
Making the Distinction Between Two Types of Fear
Once you have a list, notice where Fear 1 and Fear 2
show up. The following distinctions will help:
• Fear 1 promotes panic and confusion. Fear 2 promotes
clarity and purpose.
• Fear 1 is often about saving face. Fear 2 is about stepping out
of your comfort zone.
• Fear 1 triggers avoidance of the facts. Fear 2 heightens awareness
• Fear 1 wants you just to stop. Fear 2 wants you to move forward
powerfully and safely.
• Fear 1 magnifies danger and vulnerability. Fear 2 calls on our
capacity to respond to danger.
• Fear 1 originates in our ego mind. Fear 2 is a whole-system response.
Both types of fear are present in many situations. What
is important is to use your powers of assessment and discrimination to
turn down the volume on Fear 1 while calling on Fear 2 for the energy
and focus to move forward. With practice, you can actually transform Fear
1 into Fear 2 by focusing and accurately assessing the real risk and your
For example, Fear 1 makes a terrified skier (and I speak
from experience!), see a shear drop where the slope is actually quite
moderate. When the skier stops and measures the actual slope by holding
her pole parallel to it, she increases her awareness of actual conditions,
reducing the influence of Fear 1. By continuing to examine the slope,
seeing in her mind’s eye how she would ski the slope if she chose
to, she further reduces panic. When at last she takes off down the hill,
trusting in her competence and in her assessment of the challenge, she
completes her shift from Fear 1 (panic) into Fear 2 (concentrated exhilaration).
Learning to deal with fears in this manner takes practice.
The pay off is potentially unlimited as you remove barriers to learning,
performance and joy.
Next: Dealing With
Fear: Maintaining Homeostasis, Self Sabotage,
and Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
About the Author
Molly Gordon is a Master Certified Coach,
who shows accidental entrepreneurs how to manifest the success that is
the natural consequence of living their hearts' desires with integrity,
authenticity, and passion. Since 1996, she has coached hundreds of clients
through personal and professional transformation. Her unique coaching
style is informed by her experience as a business owner and artist as
well as her lifetime commitment to service and creativity. She is a widely
sought after speaker and facilitator.
I support my clients to live lives of meaning and prosperity. Learn more
about business coaching and
personal growth coaching
I offer. When you are ready to transform your life, email me, mgordonATmollygordon.com,
to discuss whether coaching is right for you and to see if we are a good
fit. Until then, please accept my heartfelt good wishes.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Susan Jeffers
How to Overcome
Fears and Anxiety
by Molly Gordon, MCC
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Business Coach and Personal Growth
Coach Molly Gordon
available in Greater Seattle Area and internationally can be reached at:
mgordonATmollygordon.com | Phone: 360.633.4397 | Fax: 206.201.5020