Fear Less by Dr. Pippa Grange is about how we face our fears and how our “hidden fears” may be holding us back and keeping us from reaching our full potential. I really enjoyed this book. Parts of it reminded me of Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability or Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindset but I have found that when I’m reading books in this genre, I like it when I can see connections between other works that have meant something to me as well.
The author is a Dr. of sports psychology and a performance psychologist. Of course, this and her work with England’s World Cup team, made me think of Dr. Fieldstone from Ted Lasso, which may or may not have influenced my perspective on this book. Throughout the book she uses scenarios from clients that she has worked with to help illustrate her points.
She does talk in the beginning of the book about “in the moment” fear. This is the kind of fear that you feel in times of high stress or crisis. She explains three techniques to dealing with
“in the moment fear”.
1. Rationalize it by talking to yourself and making meaning of the situation.
2. Distract yourself from it.
3. Process it, by using relaxation techniques.
But the book is really centered around what she calls, “not good enough” fear. This type of fear manifests itself into jealousy, perfectionism, staying isolated and staying smaller than you really are. She also points out that she didn’t write this to be a quick 10 steps to fighting your fears book. In this book she is pointing out what her research has shown about fear. She hopes that through reading about other people’s experiences and learning how fear shows up in your life that you might start to see how fear is affecting you and be able to start making changes in your thinking that will help you overcome fears that you might not even realize that you have. When dealing with “not good enough” fears she has 3 techniques that she explains in detail:
1. Seeing your fear
2. Facing your fear
3. Replacing your fear.
In seeing your fear, you must acknowledge to yourself that you have fear and where that fear is really coming from. You may know that you are fearful or stressed about a situation, but have you stopped to really think about where that fear or stress is coming from. You must realize that fear is not a weakness, we all have fears and we can’t overcome them is we don’t first acknowledge them.
In the next section of the book the author digs deeper into the ways that “not good enough” fear shows up in your life and she offers thoughts on how to face these fears of:
She discusses how these fears can affect your life in ways like the quality of success that you feel, being willing to try new things, and the quality of your relationships with other people.
The final section of the book focusing on replacing those fears with things like rewriting your story, finding purpose in your life, surrendering to your fear so that you can move forward, having dreams and desires, reconnecting with people, passion, and laughter.
I have found that I can relate to many different aspects of this book. I have no problem admitting that I suffer from “not good enough” fear in my life. I like to talk myself out of trying new things because I’m afraid that I won’t be successful at them. This ties right into my practice of “low expectations”. If I don’t expect to do well then I won’t be disappointed when I fail. Luckily this is something I realized a long time ago and I am learning not to let negative self-talk stop me from trying, but it is a process and I still catch myself falling into old bad habits, but at least now when that happens most of the time I recognize it and I am starting to find ways to change those behaviors. This book didn’t give me 10 easy ways to stop doubting myself. But it did offer some insight into why I might have those fears and has given me some new ways to handle those thoughts when they creep up. My favorite reminder in this book is that it is never too late to change your story.