The Two Types Of Fear – And Which One Is Trashing Your Confidence

What are the two types of fear? And what's the little-known secret about your nervous system that means one of them is trashing your confidence?

Discover what learning to parachute to try to clear my fear of heights taught me about this - and which of the two types of fear could be trashing your confidence and cranking up Imposter Syndrome.

Here's What We'll Cover About The Two Types Of Fear

  • What are the two types of fear
  • What joining my university parachute club taught about which one of these trashes your confidence
  • What's really going on when you're what-iffing and catastrophising at 3am
  • How this stops us from stretching comfort zones and speaking up with our ideas and views
  • The role all of this plays in Imposter Syndrome
  • A self-mentoring question you can do today, if you find those fears coming up, to turn them around, fast

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Here Are Today's Resources For The Two Types Of Fear:

Read Ditching Imposter Syndrome

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The Two Types Of Fear - transcript

This is an AI transcript, so please forgive typos!

Today I want to talk about the two types of fear and why one of them might be trashing your confidence and of course, what you can do about it. So we all know what it's like. The spotlight shines on our us. Somebody asks us a question. We're asked to do something that's outside of a comfort zone, step up and stretch ourselves.

And good old imposter syndrome and inner critic kick off. Who are you to be doing that? What if you do that and it all goes wrong? We're very good at what if and catastrophising, particularly in the dark of the night. 03:00, a.m.

Classic time. Lying awake telling ourselves all the reasons why we shouldn't do what our heart is calling for us to do. So in that moment, there are two types of fear and I described them as the first one legitimate fear. This was, for example, when I was at university, I was terrified of heights, but I loved mountains and that's not a good combo. So I thought, hey, I'll take up parachuting.

Maybe that jumping out of a plane will cure my fear of heights. So spoiler that it didn't. They're two very different kinds of fear there. But I joined the university parachute club and I would get there on a Saturday morning and usually pretty early. I would pay my money, pick up my parachute, strap it on.

Obviously I'd been through the training and as I walked towards the Cessna, that tiny little aeroplane that we were going to go up in, my heart would start to pound. My hands would go clammy, my breathing would move to the upper chest breathing. I would start thinking all those thoughts about this is a really stupid thing to do. Yeah, I'm about to get in a perfectly serviceable aeroplane that doesn't have a door on it and I am going to jump out and it's going to land without me. So all of this, the sympathetic nervous system fight-flight-freeze response was my body saying, Clare, this is actually quite dangerous. Are you sure you want to do it? I really want to keep you alive for another day. This is legitimate fear. Just like walking along a slippery, muddy footpath on the cliff edge on a windy day.

It's that bit of the body that means we're about to cross a road and we pull back because there's a car we hadn't noticed, because it's part of the brain that is constantly wired to spot threats, to keep us alive, to prioritise survival, and it definitely prioritises survival over performance. A legitimate fear is genuine fear of a situation that could cause us injury, harm or death. But there's a second kind of fear. You're asked to do something that's out of your comfort zone. You're asked to do something that is stepping up, maybe, and expressing an opinion or criticising a project, telling people you think something is wrong and it won't work and your heart starts to race and your hands go climbing and you realise you've moved to the upper shedding and you're struggling to remember what it was you even wanted to say.

You fired off the sympathetic nervous system that fight flight freeze response, even though there are no parachutes, no doorless aeroplanes and no cliff pulse and no sabre toothed tiger in sight in your head, you're what if? What if this goes wrong? What if they reject me? What if they laugh at me? What if I get fired for telling them that such and such a project is going to be a disaster?

Catastrophising worrying about what might happen if we step up and do something that we've convinced ourselves in that primal part of the brain is dangerous. The problem is that your body feels every thought you think and it obeys without questioning. So this second type of fear I call mind story fear. It is fear that triggers exactly the same physiological responses in the body as being in a genuinely legitimate fear dangerous, potentially harmful situation. But it's all come from our thoughts.

And this is one of the keys ditching Imposter Syndrome. And because when we're telling ourselves the story about, what if I'm not good enough? What if they realised they made a mistake choosing me? What if they fired me? What if they find me out?

Then that's mind-story fear running. It fires up the biochemical reactions in the body that feed our emotions, that restrict our actions, and we self sabotage at a subconscious level in order to feel safe. So if you find that your self talk is harming your confidence, it's most likely mind story fear. There's all sorts of work we can do together.

One of the best things is you can either read Ditching Imposter Syndrome, teach you all about this and how to deal with it in there, work with me on my Imposter Syndrome boot camp programme, and for now, I want to give you a self mentoring question that you can use today if you find the MindsTORY fear. Coming up. It's really simple. Is this really true or is this just my mind story fear speaking? Is this really true or is it just my mind story fear speaking?

And then ask yourself what action you can take instead. So that is the two types of fear. Legitimate fear, mind story fear, and it's mind-story fear that is trashing your confidence. If you're on a personalised action, plan on this and to find out what your Imposter Syndrome score is, take my research backed questionnaire it's yours as my gift. The link is below.

Go and take that. It takes under five minutes and by the end of the day today, you could be starting to turn this around. If you found this episode useful, please subscribe to my channel. Hit that little bell button to make sure you get notified whenever I publish a new video and I will see you soon with some more ditching imposter syndrome inspiration.

About the author

Clare Josa

Clare is considered a global authority in the fields of Imposter Syndrome, burnout and toxic resilience, and has been an international keynote speaker for over 20 years.

The author of 8 books, a reformed engineer and the former Head of Market Research for one of the world's most disruptive brands, she blends research-backed practical inspiration with demystified ancient wisdom, to help you create breakthroughs in ways that are fast, fun and forever.

Want to find out your Imposter Syndrome Score? Take Clare's free research-backed, quiz-style assessment and get your score plus a personalised action plan in the next 3 minutes.

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