What is your secret daily fear?
Can you speak it aloud?
Maybe you can, maybe you can’t?
Let’s give it a shot.
Last week we talked about a tough topic – disordered eating, and discovered it applied to a lot more of us than we’d care to admit. If you missed it, go back and have a read.
An undercurrent of that whole topic is how we see ourselves. How we talk to ourselves. How we steal our own successes.
Another area we’re losing ground is knowing ourselves. Knowing our fears in addition to our goals. If I asked you to say what you’re afraid of you’d probably tilt your head and ask, “what do you mean?”
No, I’m not talking about a fear of spiders, heights or even death. I’m asking you what is that little fear that drives almost every action of your day? On top of that, I’m going to ask you an awful lot of questions today. Stop and really think about them as you go.
Not Just Another Personality Test
If you haven’t learned about enneagrams yet, you should. Discovering your number, and understanding what it means can help you have a clearer view of yourself. With this knowledge you may find the ability to course correct and nip unwanted behavior in the bud. You may be able to more clearly chart a path to success with your own desires in mind.
An enneagram in short helps you identify what your fear is, and how it becomes a motivating factor in many aspects of your life. Typically, your motivation never changes, but occasionally your behaviors do. You have a dominant personality type based on your experiences in childhood and other factors. You’ll likely have a “wing” as well. A wing is a neighboring type that you also exemplify. For example, you could be a 7, wing 6 or wing 8. Or a 9, wing 8 or wing 1.
I digress. Back to the fears. I know – you’re excited.
Here are the types and their associated fear. Is there one that jumps out at you?
1 The Reformer: Of being corrupt/evil, defective
2 The Helper: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
3 The Achiever: Of being worthless
4 The Individualist: That they have no identity or personal significance
5 The Investigator: Being useless, helpless, or incapable
6 The Loyalist: Of being without support and guidance
7 The Entertainer: Of being deprived and in pain
8 The Challenger: Of being harmed or controlled by others
9 The Peacemaker: Of loss and separation
A State of Mind
When we’re in a healthy state of mind we aren’t motivated heavily by fear. If we’re actively living our lives and addressing our fears head on we can lead happy, full lives. But when you’ve lost track of that can-do positive mindset, what happens?
Fear is Subtle
Often times we’ll find we’ve been secretly ruled by fear. You may be surprised where you might find fear. It is found in joyful things, and seemingly innocent things. A persons bucket list may be dictated or as a response to fear. A fear of missing a moment or experience. A fear of missing a feeling or relationship. The bucket list has a benefit even amidst the fear. If I asked you to write your list and pick only one thing, and give the rest of it up, I think you would stumble upon your true passion and purpose in this life.
Let’s look at another exercise. Have you ever created a vision board? They tend to be cheerful, optimistic and ideally based on desire not fear. Fear shows up when we add or omit things to satisfy others in our lives.
Be an Expert on You
In life, things look better when they’re driven by desire, rather than fear. But you need to know both your fears and your desires because not every day or moment is going to be picture perfect.
You need to know how you show up on good days and bad. If you wake up and fear has taken the wheel that day, do you notice? Or do you only realize about half way through the day (if that) that everything feels off? How do you respond when you’re stressed vs when you’re on top of your game?
If you don’t know, then who does? Chances are someone in your life knows these things about you and is trying (and potentially failing) to help you do better.
BUT – no one else is the master of you. Stop relying on others to help you along. You know who they are. The girlfriend you call every time you’re upset with your mother. The partner who is unfailingly listening to you make excuses about why you’re not succeeding in X, Y or Z.
Learning who you are enables you to be an advocate for yourself in the moments that really count. Maybe you’re good at speaking up on a family vacation and advocating for less screen time and more family games. But if your motivating fears or desires lie in a different space and you’re falling short there, you’re going to have a potentially sad vacation. Apply this same concept to your day to day and you may wind up living a sad life.
An Enneagram test is a good place to start because it puts our desires and fears in clear view. But no matter what you do, please work to understand what really motivates you. Share your findings with your loved ones. Let them know what makes you tick, what you’re really saying when you’re stressed and acting badly. Also share with them what the best version of you looks like and what you’re working toward. You are the master of you. Are you actually in charge?
About Zoë Dodds
Life, Health, and Fitness Coach
Zoë has a passion for helping and empowering women to the best version of themselves.
With 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry, she delivers inspiration and wealth of knowledge to her clients, some of which she shares in her blog and weekly newsletters.
Originally from England, Zoë has lived in Seattle for 9 years with her husband, two grown-up children and a Labrador called Jordi.
Click here to read more.