Got Fear? Stay There or Make Progress Now
Overcoming fear often involves embracing change. That can be one of the toughest things to do. Accepting change is something that ultimately must come from within yourself. It involves some extensive soul searching and brutal honesty. That’s what I want to encourage in this chapter.
Getting Honest with Yourself
One of the very first things you need to do when starting a big, scary change in the eye is to ask yourself why you want a particular outcome. Whether it’s a new job, to accomplish something you’ve never done before, to make a major move or any other unknown, it’s important to understand your deepest reasons for wanting the thing that’s in front of you.
One way to accomplish this is to start writing. You can do this through note form, in an outline, with a mind map or using other such tools.
What’s important is to get the ideas from your head out on paper or on the computer screen. Seeing them will allow you to process them and to put them into action.
You’ll want to ask yourself tons of questions during this exercise in order to elicit ideas and to make sure you get down to the nitty-gritty of your soul. Remember, the purpose of this entire venture is to get past your fear. Holding back during this brainstorming session will only hinder your ability to do this.
Consider what your ideal scenario would be with regard to the issue at hand. How would you like it to play out? What would the ultimate, best outcome be? Why do you want this to happen? Who is involved in the events? How would you feel if this were to happen? What would it look like? What would your surroundings involve? Delve deep and pull out all the details you can possibly consider. Keep going until you feel satisfied you’ve made sufficient progress.
Find Your Why
Your “why” is the answer that comes from the above exercise. It’s the deepest reason for your wanting this particular thing. You might even say your why is your purpose. It’s personal and unique to you. For it to be meaningful, it must be honest and relevant to what you truly believe and desire.
Take all of the information from your brainstorming session. Pull out what seems most important or what resonates with your heart. Then refine that information further by creating a statement declaring your why. It can be one sentence or up to three, maybe four. Try to make it as succinct as possible in order to keep it simple and commit it to memory.
One why statement maybe, “I wish to go back to school to obtain a Master’s degree in School Counseling. Influencing the personal and academic lives of young people is my passion. It will help me to lead a personally and emotionally fulfilled life that will provide a significant income to take care of my family.” This statement answers a number of questions relating to the writer’s core values, what’s important to them, what they will achieve by obtaining their desire, how it will affect their overall life and what they will gain from it.
Knowing your why will help to provide motivation when the fear threatens to overtake you. It can also reinforce your decision to pursue a particular desire. After all, don’t forget that change must come from within.
Two Types of Resistance
There are two types of resistance to change you should know about. These are structural resistance and personal resistance. Structural resistance is the type of pushback you may have against external factors, things that are outside of yourself. These include factors such as job change, geographic relocation, family growth or graduation. This type of resistance comes as a result of something that happens in your life.
Personal resistance comes from within, and it’s probably far more difficult to overcome than structural resistance. These mental blocks cause us to freeze. They can be the most frustrating because they don’t involve logic. They’re not caused by one specific event. When resistance comes from within, it’s usually more paralyzing than anything caused by external circumstances. After all, we’re almost always hardest on ourselves in difficult times.
Causes of Resistance
You absolutely must overcome any type of resistance in order to improve your life, do better, achieve more or gain something you want. However, you should probably understand what’s contributing to your resistance in order to most effectively battle it. There could be multiple causes of your particular resistance. Let’s take a look at some of the most common.
You probably know that one of the biggest issues at play here is fear of the unknown. In fact, we often will choose to remain in a situation that makes us miserable rather than risk moving toward something that’s uncertain. Another problem that holds us back is fear of disappointing others. We may think that we’ll never live up to the expectations of those who matter to us or the individuals we wish to impress.
There’s also fear of failure. That fear may stem from our concerns about disappointing ourselves. Again, don’t you tend to be hardest on yourself when it comes to placing judgment? We may also be afraid that we aren’t capable or talented enough to accomplish a goal. This is a big one when it comes to self-doubt and personal resistance.
We might also get nervous with regard to what others may think of us. We worry about what “they” might say. Our actions reflect upon us. Sometimes it’s painful or difficult to deal with the reaction others have to our actions.
What’s also tricky about the factors that lead to resistance is that they often overlap each other or are cyclical. Fear of not being capable can lead to fear of failure. Being afraid of others’ opinions can influence your own views of yourself, as well as compound any worries you have about disappointing people.
Ways to Overcome Resistance
I’d like to end this chapter by giving you examples of some ways to overcome resistance to change and the things that cause you to fear. Most of these involve looking within yourself, knowing that you have to take charge of your life and are responsible for your own happiness. Give some of these a try and see if you don’t start to think differently about what scares you.
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Be honest with yourself. Nothing will get better or move forward if you can’t face reality. Also, surround yourself with positive people who lift you up. Negative folks are usually content to remain unhappy, and they tend to want those around them to be miserable, too. Look for cheerleaders and people who inspire you.
Accept imperfection. If you think everything has to be perfect, you’ll remain stuck because perfection isn’t truly possible. Concentrate on what is within your control, and try not to worry about the things that aren’t. Take proactive steps to handle those things you can control. You’ll feel more confident and will fear to change less.
Along with being honest with yourself, you should also be gentle on yourself. Nobody’s perfect. We just touched on that. Forgive yourself for making mistakes and know that you probably will. Brush yourself off, congratulate yourself for giving it a try, recognize that you learned something and move on.
Put yourself first and consider yourself to be a priority in your life. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves the time, care and attention we need. If you want to face your fears and accomplish great things, you absolutely must believe that you’re worthy of doing so. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others. You’re unique and talented in your own ways. Comparison leads to feeling you’re not good enough and will never measure up. These beliefs become self-prophecies and hold you back from greatness.
Finally, don’t feel the need to explain yourself to others. It doesn’t matter if they believe in you or if they think what you’re doing is worthwhile. This is your life. What matters are the things that are important to you. You’ll see that the freedom of living life on your own terms is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
I know these suggestions are often easier said than done. I believe the information I give you throughout the next few posts will help you put these tips into action. Up next, let’s talk about setting goals and making a plan to reach them. When you’re able to do these things, you’ll see that what you once thought was impossible is usually something well within your reach.
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