Awakening A True Heart Of Bravery
Pernille W. Lauritsen, Founder Mindjuice Academy By: Elevate Magazine
An unexpected encounter with her deepest fear, changes the entire course of her life. Within a few years, she goes from insecure university student to bestselling author and transformational teacher.
I slam the bathroom door. Sweat is dripping down my forehead and my heart is pounding intensively in my chest. The adrenalin level in my blood has exploded in nanoseconds, making my whole body tremble with fear.
Last thing I recall, I am in the middle of a personal leadership training. Everything is going just ne, un- til the teacher tells everybody to walk in front of the room and share our new found life purpose. Life pur-pose!! I barely know what that means.
In that very second my brain’s fear detector, amygdala, sends an autonomic ight response through my brain. Adrenalin is immediately released into my blood- stream, my pupils dilate (for better vision), my sweat production increases (to keep me cool in case I need to run), my brain shots down and my thought activity is reduced to a matter of ght or ight.
Before my conscious mind even realizes what is hap- pening, I hear the bathroom door slam behind me. In a split second, I have transformed from a controlled, rath- er intelligent, calm and collected psychology student to a nervous breakdown case, completely out of control.
ESCAPING A LIFE SENTENCE IN PRISON
In my life, I have instinctively avoided situations like this, which could challenge the high walls of my imprisoning comfort zone. But my conscious mind doesn’t know that. I have no idea what is happening to me. Like most people, I have avoided fear so long; I don’t know what’s hit me. Everything is a scary blur.
The world famous martial artist Bruce Lee once said:
”TO UNDERSTAND YOUR FEAR IS THE BEGINNING OF REALLY SEEING”.
But I am only 24 years old and further from seeing than I would have ever imagined.
After a few minutes of panic behind the bathroom door, the teacher comes looking for me. He noticed the speed with which I exited the room, and recognized the aura of fear that followed.
FROM PRISONER TO WARRIOR
In the next thirty minutes he changes my life forever. He shows me that fear is running my whole life, and that I have a choice. To stay a prisoner or become a warrior. The choice of overcoming my fear is going to take cour- age, but I know in my heart that this is my chance to break free.
I walk back into the room, still shaking, still crying, but this time with a purpose bigger than fear itself. I have just realized why I have to go up on that stage, and my why is growing stronger and stronger with every step I take.
The room is watching me silently. I nally get in front of everyone. I fear their judgment, I fear their laughter, and I fear their anger over me wasting their time.
Underneath those fears, my biggest fear is that I have no clue, who I am, looking like the biggest shallow fake ever. But my inner warrior has awaken. I don’t care about my fear in this moment. I care about my future, and I know deep in my heart, I have to do this.
I look straight into their eyes and share my vision for my life. I don’t know much, but this I know for sure. I will live my life being committed, creative and courageous.
It hasn’t been like that before this moment. But this is my purpose. This is my future. Everybody jumps out of their chairs and starts clapping like crazy.
I don’t understand what’s happening until my teacher comes running through the crowd, swings me around in his arms, and says: “Wow, you are so courageous! Never have I met anyone as scared as you, but you did it anyway.”
I look at him, still confused. I don’t feel courageous. “Remember”, he says, “courage is not absence of fear. Courage is breaking through fear”.
THE POINT OF NO RETURN
Twenty years later, I still recall that moment like it was yesterday. I promised myself that I would never go back to a life in prison, which is what living in fear feels like.
I was done watching one opportunity after the other y by me, thinking, “I wish life was different. I wish I was different, I wish I was a cool, fearless person, who had it all together.”
My teacher made me realize I had courage. He shed light on one of my biggest talents. No one had challenged me like that before; no one had seen my capacity to escape my own prison. My best friends and family had bought into my story of being shy, and they had given up on me ever breaking out of it.
THE DECEPTIVE FACADE OF THE EGO
It’s sad, but it happens to all of us every day. We buy into each others facades and miss the opportunity to recog- nize fear. The more fear, the more façade, and it can even be enchanting. You have to remember that on the outside – just like everybody else – I didn’t look scared at all.
I had travelled almost 50 countries, climbed mountains and volcanoes, and sailed across huge oceans. I had intuitively learned to mask my fear, so no one would ever know. Not even myself. Rather than looking afraid, I occurred self-assured as part of my unconscious pro- tection of The Zone.
THE MASKS WE ALL WEAR
This is how fear works, it slowly takes over your life, and you mask it with anything available. Fun, laughter, ad- venture, knowledge. You name it. Without training, you won’t even know how much fear is running your life.
Today I know the fearless people don’t exist. Some people claim they have no fear, but that’s because the have lived in The Zone for so long, they forgot how it feels to be in contact with fear. But they too will fear their own darkness, loneliness or depression, when they meet it some day. And then it will be ten times worse, be- cause they avoided the contact for so long.
Don’t forget, it is easier to meet fear on a sunny day, where you choose to meet it, than on a rainy day when life forces you to face it.
CHOICES BASED IN LOVE
If I could change something in my life, I would have learned how to handle fear at a much younger age than 24. Why? It would have changed so many things in my life if my choices had been based in love rather than fear from early in life.
Most people say they don’t regret anything. I recently heard that it’s not true. When we get to the end our lives, our regrets are exactly those opportunities we didn’t take, the relationships we didn’t dare ghting for, the owers we didn’t pick, the chances we didn’t grap, be- cause we were too worried about falling behind.
It is such a waste of beauty in life if we don’t learn how to dance with our fear, accept it and use it for it’s purpose. If we don’t learn how to use it, it will certainly use us.
THE SOLUTION IS NEVER HATE
Gandhi said something very intelligent about fear. “It is not hate, but fear that drives hate”, he said. I take that statement to mean that when we become fearful, we automatically begin to hate the circumstances or the people in life that make us feel afraid.
The solution, however, is never hate. The solution to fear is always love. No matter how cliché this may sound, the only answer to fear is love.
ELEVATE YOUR LIFE PURPOSE
Think about a child overcoming his fear of sleeping in the dark. What takes away his fear? His parent’s reas- suring that he can handle it, that he is loved and that he will be okay.
The exact same thing takes fear away in the workplace. The leader reassuring the employees that they can make it, that they are appreciated, that they are supported.
THE PURPOSE OF FEAR
Since I rst met my deepest fear, I have learned to embrace it. To love it and dance with it in every shape and form. Since then I have trained thousands of peo- ple in doing the same, ranging from top executives to former criminals, to start facing their fear and use it for a creative purpose.
One former notorious gang leader I trained had 360 crim- inal charges behind him. He had been shot four times, and felt he had no fear. After a while he realized fear had been the one thing that had driven him to do most of the stuff he had done. He had never seen it before, and it was big relief. Why? Because then he could change it.
A HEIGHTENED SENSE OF AWARENESS
Fear wakes us op. Imagine you are home alone one evening, and you suddenly hear someone opening the front door. Your amygdala is immediately alarmed. Your heart starts pounding, blood starts rushing in your ears; your vision is like an eagle’s. Your inner alarm system wakes up in a split second. Just like mine did in that leadership training where I rst found my courage.
I was so asleep in life that I couldn’t see what was happening. Fear woke me up, but the intensity was so strong I almost ran away. I was lucky to be around an extraordinary teacher. He helped me use fear for its true purpose: To wake us up. That is the spiritual pur- pose of fear, that is why you should never avoid feeling afraid. Fear will keep you awake and alive in many powerful ways, as long as you learn to dance with it.
FEAR AND CREATIVITY GO HAND IN HAND
Not only does fear keep us awake. It is an inevitable part of any creative process. In her newest book ‘Big Magic’, bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert writes about fear:
“If your goal in life is to become fearless, then I think you are already on the wrong path, because the only truly fearless people, I’ve ever met were straight-up so- ciopaths and a few exceptionally reckless three-year- olds – and those aren’t good role models for anyone.
Here is how I learned to deal with my fear: I made a decision a long time ago, that if I want creativity in my life – and I do – then I will have to make space for fear, too. Plenty of space.
I noticed that when people try to kill off their fear, they often end up inadvertently murdering their creativity in the process”.
About: Pernille W. Lauritsen
Pernille W. Lauritsen founded Mindjuice Academy with the intention of creating leadership and change in society. In the last twenty years she has trained thousands of people in overcoming fear, finding their life purpose and creating a business from a larger and more purpose-driven perspective. She coaches organizations, leaders, politicians and prisoners and is the author of four books.
She has served as President for ICF Denmark, and was recently chosen to represent 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the global coaching community.
Over the years Mindjuice Academy has supported more than 205 social projects created by their Master students. The one project closest to their heart is Young Role Model Academy, where young people learn to overcome fear and follow their dreams.