A topic that often arises when coaching my clients is the subject of FEAR.
Fear of failure, fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of not being ‘good enough’,fear of judgement, etc. This four letter word always seems to make an appearance. It has the potential to have so much “power” over how we live our lives, what we think, what we say to ourselves and the actions we take towards achieving our goals. It can greatly influence what we want and the goals we wish to achieve – if we give it the power to do so.
Fear can be a good thing
Human beings were born with fear. It is an emotional response to an actual threat and it’s a vital survival mechanism that’s worked pretty well for us throughout human history. Basically when you’re in immediate danger, fear tells you to get yourself to someplace safer – ASAP!
Alternatively, fear is also the fuel which allows you to fight back and protect what is yours – hence the desire to give a good thump to the guy who decides to make a runner with your Mulberry bag! On a serious note, fear is a means of protection and certainly serves its purpose when it’s required.
It’s just a story in your head.
However, the fear I’m referring to causes you to simply stop in your tracks. It’s the obstacles which prevent you moving forward, the excuses you start to create accompanied by procrastination. It’s when you get that sick, heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach that descends like a thick fog,making your desires seem unattainable. It causes you to stop dead in your tracks, paralysing you from taking any further action. I’m sure we have all experienced some of these feelings at some point in our lives.
This in effect is not actually fear but simply an illusion. Humans are great storytellers and we love to create and listen to stories. Our fears are indeed just another concoction which we have created that we perceive to be real – False Expectations Appearing Real. We have become masters at composing elaborate explanations as to why something can’t be achieved, why our plans won’t work out and why it will be too hard. We allow ourselves to live in a ‘What if’ world, “What if I fail? What if I can’t handle it? What if I’m not good enough?”
Instead of tackling these thoughts in a realistic fashion, we then start to create a dooms-day scenario, making it bigger and bigger, ramping up our levels of anxiety. To add to this, we then repeat these stories to ourselves so often that, “BOOM!”, before you know it, we’ve gone and created some pretty believable false expectations. In addition, we are also convinced that this is the only possible outcome. The more we buy into it, the more paralysed we feel and the less we are able to move forwards. We continue to live in this limiting reality, believing our stories and acting accordingly.
Open your eyes.
I want to you do a little exercise for me: Close one eye, then spend a moment just looking around. Look at your surroundings, take in the details, scrutinise objects near and far, pay attention to what you can see. Then, when you are ready, open the closed eye.
You can see pretty well with one eye, but with both of them you are able to take in so much more. The images are brighter, richer and have greater clarity. That’s very similar to what we do when we live with our false expectations. We allow ourselves to live with an obstructed view of the world, believing things that are false to be true, causing us to stay stuck within the limitations of the reality that we have created. We are only seeing a fraction of the image and are not aware of the bigger, brighter picture.
The good news is that there is hope! You are able to overcome your fears by learning to embrace them, rather than fight against them. In doing so, you will be able to disempower your fears enabling you to take the actions, make the changes and reach your goals. Below I have shared with you some of the tools that I regularly use with my clients (and I use them too!) to help them embrace their false expectations, empowering them to make massive breakthroughs in achieving their goals.
This is the slightly scary part: Get real with your fears. The first step is to gain clarity on exactly what it is that you are afraid of,e.g.fear of failure.Then identify what’s the worst possible thing that can happen – and the key question – how can I recover from this?
By establishing how you can overcome your fears (and most of us realise that even though it may feel uncomfortable, we will be able to overcome most of our worst case scenarios), you are able to disempower the fears knowing that you are in control. Once this has been done, put it aside and PARK it. Then leave it alone!
Identify your why?
This is the fun bit – gain complete clarity on what it is that you want!
If those fears did not exist, what would be happening? Take time to establish the big picture, immerse yourself in it, visualise what it is and dig deep. Ask yourself why this is so important to you. One vital key in disempowering your fears is that your why (your reasoning behind your dreams) needs to be greater than your fears. When I find myself falling prey and listening to my false expectations, remembering my why is a crucial motivator to help keep me on track towards achieving my dreams.
Once your ideal picture has been established, break it down into smaller, bite-size chunks and then commit to taking regular, consistent action everyday. No matter how small or irrelevant your steps may seem, they are keeping you focussed and moving you towards what you want. This also prevents your fears from paralysing you and causing you to stop in your tracks.
Two useful questions to ask yourself are,“What am I gaining from staying where I am? What is it that I want?”
You have a choice everyday, so choose to let your actions be fuelled by your fear and keep moving forwards.
It is vital to have fun. Lighten up and enjoy the process! I once heard fear being described as excitement with the hand-brakes on. The same rush of sensations and emotions you experience on a roller coaster ride in a theme park is similar to embracing your fears. Go with them and just enjoy the ride. Keeping it fun and light-hearted also allows you to operate from a level of joy and happiness, making it loads more fun and exciting. It is important to celebrate your success and accomplishments. Believe in yourself, knowing that all the answers lie within you.
Remember, YOU are the author of your own stories. Choose to look at your reality with both eyes open so that you are able to see the abundance of possibilities available. Embrace your fears and work with them. Release the hand-brake and go for the ride allowing your fears to fuel your actions so that you are able to live a life you love and deserve.