I once said in an interview:

“The more that you deal with fear, the less often fear will show up at the beginning of the journey. Instead of “I don’t even think I can start this,” it becomes, “What if I don’t finish this?” When you deal with fear, it morphs and changes how it shows up; you encounter it at a different point in the process.”

When you’re new to dealing with fear (or self-doubt, hesitation, whatever you call it), those feelings of fear can be what stops you from even starting.

Later, as you start to see that fear is full of capital-S Stories (fancy cognitive-behavioral term: “Cognitive distortions”), and as you see that really, you ultimately call the shots, how you deal with fear changes.

As you learn about your fear/self-doubt/hesitation, it suddenly does an about-face and changes. for instance, once it’s no longer stopping you at the outset, you’ll probably start to see big fear come up later in the process, perhaps after you’ve made the first significant investment towards what you want.

Then you start practicing courage with fear in its new form, but then perhaps the fear changes again–maybe it shows up as sudden doldrums and boredom. You might suddenly feel as if all the gas has left you. The resistance can be huge.

So you recognize that that resistance and loss of motivation is just more fear–so you start practicing courage with that fear. You start to parse out when it’s truly boredom because the project no longer interests you, versus when it’s the boredom-as-resistance.

How you deal with fear shape shifts and morphs. When you’re put into similar circumstances next time, it’ll move and show up at a different point in the timeline. When you encounter something wholly new and unfamiliar, maybe the fear starts right at the beginning again, at that familiar place of feeling like it’s hard to get started–and again, the more you deal with fear, the more it changes.

The good news? The more you deal with fear, the less intimidating it gets every time it shows up.

Bottom line? If you’re savvy about how fear shape shifts and morphs, then you can deal with fear when it arises. You’ve got this.

The fear will continue to show up. Just let it. Again, if you can recognize what it’s doing, then you’ve got this.

How you deal with fear will change, but as you get more and more equipped to recognize when it’s showing up, you’ll deal with fear better–and start stepping into being your most courageous self.