The book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – a Therapist’s View

Where has this book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” been all my life? I can only wonder what life would look like now if I’d read this book as a 14-year-old back when it was first published — well what life would be like if I’d actioned the advice in it anyway… Because like most self help books full of exercises, the advice won’t do much good if you only read and don’t do the work. But if I had, I can only wonder at what a difference that may have made to my issues with low self-esteem, low self-worth and a less than healthy lack of self-confidence.

Early on in the book Dr Susan Jeffers sets up the premise:“We fear beginnings; we fear endings. We fear changing; we fear staying stuck. We fear success; we fear failure. We fear living; we fear dying. Whatever the fear, this book will give you the insight and tools to vastly improve your ability to handle any given situation...”

Dr Jeffers (who I will affectionally refer to as Susan from here on in) believes that the inability to deal with this fear is not a psychological problem, but an education problem – and I agree! I’m always saying that a lot of this simple mind stuff is what we should have been taught in school. But we weren’t. So the only trouble now seems to be that there aren’t many places freely giving out this education to those suffering from these fears and anxieties. At least not unless you know about the hidden gems such as this book, or if you attended one of Susan’s courses back in the day.

So how did Susan come across this information? Because, even with a doctorate in psychology under her belt, Susan was still living with these fears and facing an “all too familiar sight in the mirror – her eyes red and puffy from crying in self-pity.” ( Oh how I remember those days!)

Thankfully (for us readers as well as herself), Susan decided one day that enough was enough and that she wasn’t going to let fear get the better of her any more, and so, she set out to learn all she could about this subject and spoke to as many people as she could.
This book is an accumulation of what helped Susan to unlearn the thinking that had kept her prisoner of her own insecurities. When Susan began to teach, her students “were amazed at how shifting their thinking magically reshaped their lives.”

Even though some advce in this book was included in the transformative therapies training I received – and may have even been a reference – I have still learnt strategies and new ways of thinking from this book that have indeed helped me to overcome fears and has likely impacted on my self-confidence. And I too am amazed at what us once fearful humans are capable of when taught to think in new ways.

There is a lot of content and strategy in this small book, and whilst I can’t touch on all the subjects, I can touch on a few. I did take extensive notes on my second read through so that I will always have a shortened ‘cliff notes’ version to refer to. This book review certainly won’t be all that you hear from me about this book.

‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ will teach you about the three levels of fear. Level one and two is nothing revelationary, but level three, however, sparked a lot of interest. And if there was only one thing that you could take away from reading this review, this is what I would want it to be: “At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can’t handle whatever life may bring you.” And that sounds so simple – but it feels so true! I want to plaster a reminder of this everywhere I go.

Think of a fear you have (I’ll pick one many of us carry around) e.g. rejection. Does it feel true that what you are fearing is I can’t handle being rejected? What about I can’t handle making a mistake? What about I can’t handle it if he/she gives me that look (you know the one…)? Sure, we may not like it if any of those things happen to us, but we’re not going to die or our life won’t crumble because of it. We will be able to handle it if that thing we fear happens, won’t we? We just hadn’t stopped to look at what we really fear before to know this is true. So thanks Susan, whatever comes my way today — I know I can handle it!

My work with limiting beliefs challenges fears in a similar way – by getting you to look at your fears instead of just blindly going along with them as though they were true. Because when we really look at them, we find there’s not much truth there at all. But this very basic knowledge that our fear is that we can’t handle that eg situation is a power in itself!

According to Susan, we’ve taken fear as a “signal to retreat rather than as a green light to move ahead.” She says that we all experience fear when we are facing something unfamiliar – it is how we are wired. We just need to retrain our faulty thinking. And that is something that takes constant repetition. Enter the daily mantras of the “fear truths” and affirmations to to help you with that repetition and to remind you of your power…

We’re told we need to take responsibility for our actions and situations, and step away from the (less than powerful) blaming of others to get us back in control of our own lives. Learning about payoffs and what keeps us stuck in our current undesirable thought patterns – our fears. Needing to be mindful of what negativity we surround ourselves with – and the types of conversations we’re having with people and how that affects us.

I think this book could have been titled something along the lines of How to Find and Grow Your Power instead of ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’. Frankly the old title didn’t entice me and long ago when I was in the vice grip of fear, I probably would have avoided the book for fear it would tell me that I just needed to force myself out of my comfort zone. Argh, not helpful advice for someone living in constant fear. But perhaps quite true for myself as it did take me so long to pick up a copy of this wonderful little book and read it – despite having heard of it a number of years before I even dreamt of being a therapist.

I do recognise that change can be a fear in itself. It is the unknown. The unfamiliar. And this book is all about making change because ,”If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” And truthfully, that getting what you’ve always got is not what we want, or we wouldn’t be here reading this now.

There’s pages here on getting comfortable making decisions, and how and why to visualise your ideal life – this visualisation thing keeps showing up for me everywhere I look. It must be time for me to knuckle down and just do it religiously instead of sporadically! [I’m hearing you universe!]

Susan teaches us to “Act out of strength, not weakness,” and thinking positively is a very big part of that. Yes, it is time to join that positivity movement if you haven’t already. Focusing on positivity clearly made a massive impact on my life some 3 or 4 years ago now – a decision I will never regret, although I sometimes too still need some reminders (or redirection I could say). There’s creating a positive ‘exercise’ program consisting of inspirational talks and books, positive quotes and affirmations, calming music. An exercise to show you how negativity makes you physically weak. And apparently we need to keep practising because if you don’t use it, you lose it. Like showering — do it daily for maximum benefit, not just a once off!

Putting into action the exercises and advice in this book has the very real possibility that you will change for the better. Better for you that is to take back your power that we’ve been trained since we were young children to give away. I’m presuming you are an adult reading this… and it is high time we all grew up and stopped acting like hurt little children.

There’s a twist on a great therapy technique in this book for letting go of resentment towards others. I tried it out on a resentment against an old boss and while it doesn’t feel as complete as when the technique is performed in a hypnotherapy session, it is quick and easy to do for yourself and I feel it still gets results. So much so that I must have cleared out something to make way for healing around this issue in my very next personal hypnotherapy session with a colleague, because the subject of an old boss of mine came up (in a good way). And I’m very happy to change my mind about that old issue — not for his benefit, but for mine!

I must caution that Susan cites resentment and anger as a cause of cancer. This statement may upset some. But as for the truth — who knows? I know through my work with others that illness can be a voice for those who don’t speak for themselves.

Even if this mention of illness as manipulation doesn’t align with your beliefs, there’s so much gold in these pages that I know you can find much to learn from and grow with.

You’ll learn about your inner negative chatterbox and how you can be rid of it. What words to strike out from your vocabulary that are giving your subconscious mind the message that you are weak. There’s even a grid system to plan out your life like you would like it to be and to help you focus on what you want..

Susan teaches us to say yes to our life because we’ve been so busy saying no to it and fighting against it. We’re always “searching for something ‘out there’ to make our lives complete. We feel alienated, lonely and empty. No matter what we do or have, we never feel fulfilled. This feeling of emptiness or intense loneliness is our clue that we are off course, and that we need to correct our direction.” Correcting our direction is not something we do just once. It is a constant effort.

I know I will be referring to this book often as it has already added to my wealth of knowledge and what I teach to the women in the circles I move in.

I hope for you too that you will pick up a copy of this book and read it and put into action the exercises and advice to take your self from a place of pain to a place of power. Teach your kids. Tell your friends. Talk to me about it. The more we immerse ourselves in these teachings, the more we will get it and use it and benefit from it.

But If you need further help with your fears or if you’d like to take your healing one step further, schedule your own transformation session with me. Together we can find out the limiting beliefs you are carrying around that are keeping you stuck in that disempowering place to get yourself living a much more empowered future.

Think of a fear you have (I’ll pick one many of us carry around) e.g. rejection. Does it feel true that what you are fearing is I can’t handle being rejected? What about I can’t handle making a mistake? What about I can’t handle it if he/she gives me that look (you know the one…)? Sure, we may not like it if any of those things happen to us, but we’re not going to die or our life won’t crumble because of it. We will be able to handle it if that thing we fear happens, won’t we? We just hadn’t stopped to look at what we really fear before to know this is true. So thanks Susan, whatever comes my way today – I know I can handle it!

My work with limiting beliefs challenges fears in a similar way – by getting you to look at your fears instead of just blindly going along with them as though they were true. Because when we really look at them, we find out there’s not much truth there at all. But this very basic knowledge that our fear is that we can’t handle that eg situation is a power in itself!

According to Susan, we’ve taken fear as a “signal to retreat rather than as a green light to move ahead.” She says that we all experience fear when we are facing something unfamiliar – it is how we are wired. We just need to retrain our faulty thinking. And that is something that takes constant repetition. Enter the daily mantras of the “fear truths” and affirmations to remind you of your power…

We’re told we need to take responsibility for our actions and situations, and step away from the (less than powerful) blaming of others to get us back in control of our own lives. Learning about payoffs and what keeps us stuck in our current undesirable thought patterns – our fears. Needing to be mindful of what negativity we surround ourselves with – and the types of conversations we’re having with people and how that affects us.

I think this book could have been titled something along the lines of How to Find and Grow Your Power instead of ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’. Frankly the old title didn’t entice me and long ago when I was in the vice grip of fear, I probably would have avoided the book for fear it would tell me that I just needed to force myself out of my comfort zone. Argh, not helpful advice for someone living in constant fear. But perhaps quite true for myself as it did take me so long to pick up a copy of this wonderful little book and read it – despite having heard of it a number of years before I even dreamt of being a therapist.

I do recognise that change can be a fear in itself. It is the unknown. The unfamiliar. And this book is all about making change because ,”If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” And truthfully, that getting what you’ve always got is not what we want or we wouldn’t be here reading this now.

There’re pages here on getting comfortable with making decisions, and how and why to visualise your ideal life – this visualisation thing keeps showing up for me everywhere I look. It must be time for me to knuckle down and just do it religiously instead of sporadically! [I’m hearing you universe!]

Susan teaches us to “Act out of strength, not weakness,” and thinking positively is a very big part of that. Yes, it is time to join that old positivity movement if you haven’t already. Focusing on positivity clearly made a massive impact on my life some 3 or 4 years ago now – a decision I will never regret, although I sometimes too still need some reminders (or redirection I could say). There’s creating a positive ‘exercise’ program consisting of inspirational talks and books, positive quotes and affirmations, calming music. An exercise to show you how negativity makes you physically weak. And apparently we need to keep practising because if you don’t use it, you lose it. Like showering – do it daily for maximum benefit, not just a once off!

Putting into action the exercises and advice in this book has the very real possibility that you will change for the better. Better for you that is to take back your power that we’ve been trained since we were young children to give away. I’m presuming you are an adult reading this… and it’s high time we all grew up and stopped acting like hurt little children.

There’s a twist on a great therapy technique in this book for letting go of resentment towards others. I tried it out on a resentment against an old boss and while it doesn’t feel as complete as when the technique is performed in a hypnotherapy session, it is quick and easy to do for yourself and I feel it still gets results. So much so that I must have cleared out something to make way for healing around this issue in my very next personal hypnotherapy session with a colleague, because the subject of an old boss of mine came up (in a good way). And I’m very happy to change my mind about that old issue – not for his benefit, but for mine!

I must caution that Susan cites resentment and anger as a cause of cancer. This statement may upset some. But as for the truth – who knows? I know through my work with others that illness can be a voice for those who don’t speak for themselves.

Even if this mention of illness as manipulation doesn’t align with your beliefs, there’s so much gold in these pages that I know you can find much to learn from and grow with.
You’ll learn about your inner negative chatterbox and how you can be rid of it. What words to strike out from your vocabulary that are giving your subconscious mind the message that you are weak. There’s even a grid system to plan out your life like you would like it to be and to help you focus on what you want..

Susan teaches us to say yes to our life because we’ve been so busy saying no to it and fighting against it. We’re always “searching for something ‘out there’ to make our lives complete. We feel alienated, lonely and empty. No matter what we do or have, we never feel fulfilled. This feeling of emptiness or intense loneliness is our clue that we are off course, and that we need to correct our direction.” Correcting our direction is not something we do just once. It’s a constant effort.

I know I will be referring to this book often as it has already added to my wealth of knowledge and what I teach to the women in the circles I move in.

I hope for you too that you will pick up a copy of this book and read it and put into action the exercises and advice to take your self from a place of pain to a place of power. Teach your kids. Tell your friends. Talk to me about it. The more we immerse ourselves in these teachings, the more we will get it and use it and benefit from it.

But If you need further help with your fears or if you’d like to take your healing one step further, schedule your own transformation session with me. Together we can find out the limiting beliefs you are carrying around that are keeping you stuck in that disempowering place to get yourself living a much more empowered future.

Book review: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Dr Susan Jeffers, Arrow Books Limited 1987

Wishing you the feelings of love, strength and freedom always,

Leah Taggart signing off with Love and heart

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Leah Taggart

Women’s Transformation Specialist. Helping women find the LOVE, STRENGTH and FREEDOM they’ve been searching for ♥️

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