“Hey, you, pick up your tennis shoes and put them away.” And they all look around with that innocent, “who me”, look on their angelic faces.
“Billy Bob Smith, pick up your tennis shoes and put them away.” Ahhh, much better. No option to ignore the request when it’s attached to a specific name.
“Excuse me, Mr. Walmart, can you tell me where that one thing is?” Mr. Walmart is good, but even he may get confused looking for “that one thing” amidst all the other “things” on the Walmart shelves.
“Mr. Walmart, can you point me in the direction of the White Cheddar Grooves?” (Not that I need direction finding those since I never go a week without buying them.) But with a name he can point me directly to aisle 11, bottom shelf toward the north end. (I could probably work at Walmart myself.)
Naming, being specific, brings a panoramic view into tunnel vision. I tell my students all the time – be specific in your writing. If my boys ask me if they can see my phone so they can do something, my answer is always the same: “What is something?” I’m not handing my technology device over to a third grader so he can do something. Now, if he wants to send a text to his dad about the basketball game tonight, that’s a different story. I get that. I don’t get something.
A name clarifies, defines, specifies, gives direction. Points to a solution. We need names.
Fear Needs a Name
I’ve learned a new vague “thing” that needs a name this past week. A name that has clarified, defined, specified, given me direction, and pointed me towards the steps to a solution. I’ve learned the name for my fear. Yes, I’ve learned that we all have fear types and mine has been named this week.
I’ve recently been introduced to a woman named Ruth Soukup, famous for her blog “Living Well, Spending Less“, along with numerous books and her entrepreneurial endeavors. Her newest book coming out in May is titled Do It Scared and her podcast has the same name. I’ve been soaking in much of what she has to say, including a test she offers to find out your Fear Archetypes.
The Name of My Fear
When I read the names of my top fears, a light bulb flashed in my eyes. I wasn’t blinded; I was enlightened. I understood why I never seem to be able to start a new project, why I feel the desperate need to get everything in order before I feel able to start, why I HATE making mistakes and find it much easier if someone can just tell me the steps to take to reach the end.
Give me the rules and I’m a super charged rocket to accomplish any goal. Allow me to wallow in my own vague imaginings of how to get it done and I’m worthless. I can see where I want to be – I can see the end result of my dreams – but if I have a hard time knowing how to get there, I can feel stuck. I can plan and research my heart out, pretending I’m taking steps forward, but planning and researching are not actually doing the stuff.
All of these feelings were a vague something in my mind until I took the Fear Archetypes test and my fear took on a name with an explanation behind it. Now I see myself a little more clearly.
Why Naming Your Fear Helps You to Overcome
And by seeing myself clearly, I know how I can overcome the fears that are stopping me from moving forward.
That doesn’t mean it will be easy to overcome. I still have to beat the fear back by taking one step forward at a time, but I know how to challenge that which tries to stop me from achieving my biggest goals.
Always to my mind pops the verse that God did not create me to be timid or to have a spirit of fear. He created me for more than that. So my fear may now have a name, but specifics don’t do any good unless I’m going to trust God for the first step, and then the second, third, fourth – you get the point. Every step through fear is essential to reaching the end.
Such a relief. It truly is. I read the description of my fear type to Benj and he laughed. He knows me. (And still loves me mind you.) He already knew all that my fear archetype described about me. But even for him, being able to know the name to my fear helped him say, “Aha, that makes complete sense.” He hasn’t taken the test but I can pretty safely say his fear type is not mine. Where we are opposites, he now knows how he can help me more specifically. Because of a name.
We can help each other when we name it. Whatever “it” is. As is so often the case, it’s community that supports us and draws us toward our safe place by taking the scary steps. That was in fact one of my action steps tied to my fear type – I need an accountability partner to help me set goals, make a plan, and carry it out. Community is accountability.
We Need Each Other.
“I have an eating disorder. I need help sticking to my meal plan.” Naming that need brought me to today.
“I don’t know what to do with my writing.” Naming that need brought me to Hope*Writers.
Even naming the emotions we feel leads us to the clarity we need to move through it – I’m frustrated. I’m lonely. I’m lost. Name it to face it.
It’s been an eye-opening week for me. But I want my open eyes to see my way past my roadblocks. So I’m going to use you for my community as I have so many times before when it comes to my struggles and fears.
Here’s where I want accountability: I want this blog to grow. I want to add value to others through what I write and share in this space. I want to allow this outlet to become my safe place and yours. I see in my mind’s eye where this blog will be in a year, but now I need an action plan to get it there. I will combat my fear with specificity because now I have a name to give me clarity and direction.
And in naming my fear, I can find a solution.