Fear is crippling.
Have you ever watched small children play? They climb out of cribs on their own, they flip off chairs, they run up to animals and they will pretty much put anything in their mouths. You know why, because they’re fearless. At that age the world has yet to place limitations on their “I can do anything” attitude. So they keep trying until they get what they want; they don’t even process failure.
At some point down the line, things change. We become more timid, more apprehensive to try things. We take longer to take that first step, if we take it at all. But why? Because we suffered heartbreak, disappointment or failure of some kind. Thing is, these things are unavoidable. There isn’t an armored suit, a stoned heart or a frame of mind that can prevent at least one of these from happening. So how do we overcome it? How do we get over the things that cripple us, intimidating us into being fearful?
- | Acceptance | The first step is to accept that it’s inevitable; that somewhere along the road something will not go as planned. It may be a small disappointment that you’re able to quickly shake off or it may be a big boom that shakes your world. In either case, once it’s done it’s done. The only thing you can do is move forward.
- | Create a Plan | You’ve accepted that your plan has gone awry, now what? Create a follow up plan. In a lot of cases people become so stigmatized by disappointment that they stop moving. When in reality, that plan didn’t work because it wasn’t for you. Instead of getting beside yourself because you’re at square one, be thankful because you may have been saved from a bigger disappointment down the line.
- | Don’t Get Stuck | This step could have easily been combined with the previous one, but its so important I decided to let it stand on its own. Do not, I repeat do not get stuck in the planning stage that you fail to execute. I’ll tell you from experience that fear can have you under its spell while giving you a little breathing room. You will think you’re fine, because you’re planning until you realize that’s all you’ve done. Don’t become an expert planner unless that’s your business and you’re getting paid do it, otherwise put some concrete timelines on those plans that fall within the SMART parameters and hold yourself accountable for staying on track.
- | Believe in Yourself | We are our own worst critics. We experience disappointment and allow it to manifest itself into doubt. Failure is in the thing, it’s not you. If you set a goal and don’t reach it, check the steps between you and the goal. There’s something along the way that needs tweaking and frankly, you stopping now won’t get you there any sooner. Now, excuse me while I get up in your face. No one should believe in you more than you believe in yourself. (Except maybe God, but he’s not one he’s all) No one should care about your goals more than you. It’s awesome to have supporters, but it’s you who will have to do the work. The reality is, cheerleaders don’t get playing time. So whatever you need to do to recharge your belief system, do that. Perhaps this step should have been #1.
- | Execute | This part of the overcoming process is crucial; it is the culmination of everything prior to this point. You’ve accepted that failure happens; you’ve created a plan of SMART goals; you’ve committed yourself to moving forward and you believe in yourself. Now, it’s time to do work. I think it’s important for me to reiterate #3: Don’t get stuck. Executing is the hard part; I won’t sugar coat it. It’s when you have to stop talking and actually do something. During this phase it’s important to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this will help you outsource where you need to. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, especially if asking for help will positively affect the outcome. Remember in #4 when I said Believe in Yourself? That’s doesn’t mean be unrealistic. If you know you’re not strong in an area, enlist the help of someone who is.
Overcoming Fear isn’t easy, it takes hard work and commitment to the process. In every instance that you press forward, you are starving your fears. The only luxury we really have in life is time, don’t waste yours feeling bad for yourself because you were disappointed. Shut Fear down before it becomes real to you.
Are you being crippled by fear or standing firm in your Forward?