Identify the fear, and ask yourself what the worst possible outcome is.
Every single one of us has fears. From the wealthiest and well versed to the 8-year-old down the street. Most of my life has been in fear; of the unknown, harsh criticism, asking for help, failure, wasps, heights, to name a few. What are your fears? More importantly, what is letting this fear run your life doing to you? Being fearful of asking for help in math class got me behind the rest of the students. Slimming down the telling of my day in fear of my actions being criticized awarded me a stark resentment for my parents, as well as a brewing anger for not expressing myself. Surprisingly, I have not been stung by a wasp yet, but then again that may be why I am still scared of them.
Letting fears run my life created many negative emotions, which resulted in excessive outbursts of tears, not standing up for myself, and not taking action in pursuing my passions and dreams. I have loved writing ever since I learned how to read, and yet I did not begin to keep a journal until 19, for fear of what others would say if they read it, for fear of what I would say when I read it. Now I write in my journal every day. Overcoming fear is not impossible, but it is a conscious decision to make. One day, I woke up and decided to change.
“The easiest way to get over the fear of failure is to be more fearful of not taking action.”-Tony Robbins. If you are perfectly content with everything in your life, you have lived all of your dreams and fantasies, have the love of your life, and more money than you need, are you done? Is that it? Until we take our last breath, we are never done living. The issue with fear is that most people try to get rid of it, which is not possible. Fear is built into us, part of our fight or flight response. What is possible is to acknowledge the fear(s), be aware of your abilities and limitations, and realize that your actions are what really matter in life.
Take the first step in reclaiming your life.
Once you have identified your fears, the next step is to accept them, accept yourself for who you are. Some of us are afraid of clowns, others are afraid of showing emotions. We are all different. Micro steps are required in order to be the person you aspire to be. Whatever you are afraid of, start with something simple. I used to be afraid of asking the teacher in the middle of class for help, so I stayed after or came in early instead. Eventually, I started asking right when the problem arose (I also learned when to ask, and when to wait 10 seconds, in which my question was answered anyway). If your fear is exercise, start small, with a light walk, 1o pushups/situps/squats etc, before going to the gym for 2 hours.
The biggest way to have your fear take back over is to go as hard as you can towards your goal in the first few days. Changing your habits and making new ones takes time. In high school, I despised the days after basketball or baseball practice where we would go to the weight room. A small part was being told how to work out, but most of it was the amount of time we spent there. Now I exercise every day, lightly, and I have seen much more improvement than I ever did in high school. I look forward to it. Some studies say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, others say 66.
If you only take action when you feel like it, you will come up short 80% of the time, because you are only acting 20% of the time: when you feel like it. Making excuses will only put you behind, which will result in feeling worse, thus meaning you will take action even less, ultimately giving up. Do it when you’re tired, do it when you’re cold, hungry, bored, sad, exhausted. Of course, take care of your body, get sufficient sleep, nutrient intake and exercise, but whatever you do, do not stop doing. Regardless of being tired or “not feeling like it” I do my pushups and situps. I punch the bag. I write. I am so thankful that I have stuck with this.
Have patience with the process, it takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.
Setting a long-term goal and sticking to it by setting micro goals (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly) will keep you on the path to success. It may not look like much now, but you will thank yourself in the long run. Look back on the past year, and write down all of the habits you wish you had created (seriously, do not read any further until you do this). Trust me, you will thank yourself later. Whatever it is that you wish you had started, start now. In 1 month, 6 months, a year, you will be overjoyed with your hard work and the results. Persist through the happy feeling, it will not last. What matters most is that you keep doing.
Anxiety about not seeing the results you are aiming for is common, it just means that you still have work to do. When you do see the results you wish to see, you still have work to do. Work does not always mean doing the actual job; what you are getting paid or hoping to get paid to do. Putting in the work includes researching, talking to people, taking care of yourself, reading, learning, taking breaks and enjoying yourself. Being busy does not mean being productive. Tim Ferriss has a wonderful strategy for this that can be found here. Seriously check out Tim, he has been one of my biggest inspirations to take action. Tim, whether or not you ever read this, thank you.
I have been writing on this blog for almost 8 months now, and only in the past month have I seen a jump in viewers, as well as a purchase of one of my reviews. The first few months were extremely difficult, and at some points, I dreaded writing, even though I love doing it. I slowed way down, some weeks I didn’t write at all, and I was down due to lack of results. I got into a repetitive mode of thinking, where I was pissed that no one was reading my work, made excuses to write, and then was more pissed at myself for not writing. I’ve since then changed my habits.
One of the biggest kickers is when you start one small habit, such as cutting out a soda and replacing it with a glass of water, (unwiring⇒rewiring) your body, along with the universe, responds to that positive shift. Terence Mckenna once said that “Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles…” For the full quote, click his name above. Be patient with yourself, others around you, and it will work out. I promise you. As you learn to become more patient, you will begin to build kindness (hmm, sounds familiar) and the world will return the energy that you are manifesting.
Love losing like I do, because it will happen a lot.
As a child, I used to cry and break down at even the smallest of tragedies. Looking back, hardly any of them were worth getting so upset about, but I am thankful for my experiences, as I can learn a great deal from them. Failure will happen a lot. Every single day, you will be stumped, scratching your head, asking the why. The past month, just as I am about to write, my computer decides to freeze up. Checked for a virus, malware, and it is clean (any suggestions on why this may be?). At first, I was impatient, frustrated, and almost said screw it on multiple occasions. Naturally, the universe prolonged the experience. As soon as I take a deep breath and just wait, it fixes itself.
Gary Vaynerchuck has taught me that failure is the second-biggest component to achieving your goals, only behind doing. This short clip explains failure. Since discovering him, I have stopped focusing on the feeling I get from losing. I have instead chosen to focus on the lesson in the failure, and how I can improve. As we go through life, at some point we learn that we are our biggest and scariest obstacle. You are your only real opponent. When I decided to do regardless of how I feel, I am pushing through the loss, the setbacks, and continuing to work towards my goals. Gary, whether or not you read this, thank you for the push.
I am extremely thankful for all of the opportunities I have had to learn, along with all of the people and experiences I have had. My first trip on a plane and out of the country was just under 10,000 miles. I never thought I could do such a feat, traveling on my own and being in large groups of people for 10 solid days. But here I am, and I conquered several fears on that trip. I went skydiving, snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, ate lunch with the CEO of Collective Campus, and shared a revolutionary idea with my newly made friends and advisors, which is now being put into place.
I signed myself up for skydiving before I could talk myself out of it, and being scared of heights, I can say falling from 14,000 feet was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was afraid to date the love of my life, for fear of being heartbroken again. We are now happily together and moving into our own place soon. With her love and support, I have pursued my dreams and being the person I aspire to be. If there is one thing out of all of this I can stress, it is to do it anyway. Make yourself get up early, make yourself do that exercise routine, put yourself out there and network. Tell your story to the world, you will be surprised at how many people can relate, and are happy to know that they are not alone. If I can do it, so can you.
If you enjoyed this piece feel free to leave a comment or question below, and share your fearful stories. I love hearing new perspectives, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
P.s. make sure you click on the links, they are well worth the time.