Hey to all my sunshine people!
Hope here with a few thoughts.
In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take!
How many times have we heard this phrase?
So, you want to know something that bewilders me when I think of it?
I’ve watched many a soul pass up great opportunities, time and again, including myself. Only to regret the chance not taken!
What do we tell ourselves, “ohhhh, if it were meant to happen, it would have” OR “there must have been a reason.”
I have concluded that while sometimes those statements are factual, they are often comments we make to let ourselves off the hook…
Most times – it was because it was inconvenient or going to be complicated or challenging. Maybe we thought there were great unknowns or other circumstances we didn’t feel we could overcome. We talk ourselves out of these chances with all kinds of “reasons” or let that pesky voice of self-doubt edge its way into our brain and do its dirty work!
This process truly baffles me because, speaking for myself – I’m a risk-taker and an outside-of-the-box thinker. I’m usually willing to push my “safe” boundaries, and yet, even I have held myself back on a few occasions over the years…
Why would anyone do that?
Whatever you want to label it, go ahead.
Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of risk. Fear of abandonment. Etc, etc., etc…
And within those labels are a ton of other reasons, but they were all fear-based reasons in disguise, manifesting as something else.
Not having everything mapped out, Worrying about money, Self-doubt, Thinking you might let your family down, Saying the timing wasn’t right, Someone might get hurt, You might get hurt…
Shall I go on?
They (the proverbial “they”) say Fear Kills More Dreams Than Failure Ever Will.
The truth is, we are programmed for fear, to watch out for danger, and to self-protect.
It’s our “SURVIVAL” mode!
So many of us let the “What Ifs” and “Worst Case” scenarios stop us from following our dreams or even taking the first step. We allow our minds to take over, and we focus on what could go wrong and create self-sabotage or try to control every aspect as opposed to trusting the process and allowing the likely positive outcome just naturally to unfold.
Yes…we may have to take some seriously uncomfortable steps to get to that positive place…but in the end, wouldn’t it be worth it?
As humans, we love to tell ourselves the worst possible story. We chalk it up as a FACT based on previous experiences…but it isn’t a fact when it concerns something we haven’t even attempted yet.
So I did a little research, and here is why we do that, people…
There are physiological as well as psychological reasons for this.
“The brain handles positive and negative information in different hemispheres,” says Professor Nass
“Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones,” he says.
An outcome, we tend to ruminate more about unpleasant events – and use more vital words to describe them – than happy ones.
The takeaway, our memories regarding adverse outcomes generally outweigh positive memories, and that is what drives our fear-based survival decisions when it comes to pursuing taking chances or following our dreams…whatever that may be. Business, relationships, goals, hobbies…you name it…and it isn’t the same for everyone!
So – OKAY – it’s a natural part of who we are.
It’s very, very HUMAN!
Then add to this …
Let’s face it, most of us were raised to be hard workers, make a decent living and not take significant risks. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it can be limiting.
I’ve had loads of examples to follow, and I admire and love my family and my roots for exposure to such a broad spectrum of thoughts on what following your dreams meant…and most of my life has been exposed to risk-takers when it came to following a dream.
But even just days away from 50, I still get a little fearful of things from time to time. Every time I publish one of these blogs, a little flip-flop feeling occurs in my belly. I think, “what if it isn’t well-received?” or “what if no one reads it?”
Sometimes even I get that funky feeling when I perceive that I’ve been thrust into a situation that I didn’t feel prepared for.
Furthermore, you would think if this were the case, it would be applied across all fronts…but in my research, I found this was not true! Someone might never feel remotely fearful in a business venture but get them talking about real emotions in their relationships, and suddenly, real fears manifest…or vice versa!
The point being, we all feel vulnerable when we wade into unknown territory…whatever that territory is to that INDIVIDUAL!
But for the most part, unless it is a truly life-threatening situation – most of our fears are based on some form of psychological trauma that has created a lot of “stuff” for us and left a lasting impact on us as adults that can drive our fear-based reactions and decision making.
Whatever your “story” is, it is good to be aware of how it might be impacting your own beliefs or fears and doubts.
Maybe it’s time to examine your fears, change your thought patterns, and build new habits.
I’m not saying don’t honor your fear, sure, be aware – but be honest enough with yourself to look back and see how many of those fears became TRUTHS!
I think you’ll find it wasn’t often.
Overcoming your fears doesn’t necessarily have to involve significant elaborate steps. What works for one person might not necessarily work for another.
Yet some simple exercises may surprise you!
1. Write Out Your Fears
There is something so powerful in writing things down. It gets what is swirling around your brain out for you to examine, acknowledge, and challenge.
Think about what’s stopping you or what you think is getting in the way of you following your dreams…get those fears out on paper! Write down all the possible “reasons.” See if there are any themes, and select the top 3-4 you feel are your biggest roadblocks.
Then one by one, describe the reasons in vivid detail by writing them out. What do these reasons look like to you? Write it from the point of view of that evil little doubting voice inside your head.
Once you get it all out, write why each fear is NOT a concrete fact or insurmountable obstacle. Then explore these questions: What is ‘not acting on what you want’ costing you? What is the likelihood of the worst-case scenario happening? What is your ability to fix the situation if your fear becomes real…and best yet, what could go right?
2. Say It Out Loud
When I sit with my fears in silence, they seem to grow and grow and become more accurate and scary. It’s easy to go to a dark place where you feel there’s no way out if you keep everything inside.
Get it out! Be vulnerable and tell someone what’s worrying you. No matter how irrational your fear may seem. It can be such a relief and a real sign of courage too.
Find someone you trust and respect who will listen or offer advice you are willing to receive. You can even share your written list! Like writing something out, saying your thoughts aloud can somehow take away their power. So many times, I’ve had to sit and process my fears out loud and afterward say, “Thank you for listening. I feel so much better.” Even if it’s only for myself!
Although it’s just a tiny step to overcoming my fears, I often feel much less weight and worry after talking with someone, and they put it in a new perspective for me to consider.
3. Focus On What You Want
It’s so easy to dwell on what could go wrong or negative things happening in your life, but it’s also easy to focus on what you want. It just requires dedication and practice.
List out everything you want. What do your goals look like? Career, Relationships, Lifestyle, Health. Whatever it may be? What would your life be like if you achieved them? Imagine them in great detail. Sit with them. See them. Feel them. Visualize yourself, the people, the setting, the emotion, the colors, and the sounds, and bring them to life in your head. Do this often.
And when the negative thoughts start coming, pause your brain. Stop yourself, say no thank you and start thinking about those goals you visualized wanting to manifest. Don’t let the “manifesting your destiny” feel foreign to you. Get comfortable with it and direct your thoughts to the positive.
Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right. You have the power to create the life you want by redirecting your thoughts. You are manifesting your destiny
4. Fill Your Days With Inspiration
The more you focus on positivity, the more you invite it into your thoughts and life, which means you are less focused on negativity and fears.
Whether it’s reading an excerpt from a book, listening to a podcast, watching a youtube video, following someone on social media, or having coffee with someone you admire, surround yourself every day with inspiration and positivity.
Try building “inspiration time” into your day. Maybe you wake up a few minutes early or carve out a few minutes before bed. (psst…my early morning sunrises are my inspiration time) Just find a consistent time that you can commit to. The more your brain focuses on positive thoughts; the more positivity will come your way.
5. Tap Into Your Intuition
We all have it, but we aren’t all paying attention to it as much as we should. It can get quite clouded by our negative thoughts. But our intuition or “gut” is trying so desperately to direct us on our path and provide us with ways to move forward past our fears. Sometimes we have to be willing to listen.
When that idea or interesting thought comes into your head, please write it down! Keep an idea journal with you at all times or text yourself (this is what I do all the time, you should see my phone) and no matter how random, capture it. These ideas start painting a picture of how you can take steps towards your dream or goal.
You might also want to try asking “the universe” for guidance and then sitting quietly and listening to what comes. Otherwise known as prayer or mediation, that can scare some people off. Don’t think of it as having to sit still and not think. Do what works for you. Just ask a question and then see what comes.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
There is more than one correct answer, people! Live in a world of potential and search for answers without fear of failing. There is so much to learn when you don’t get it right the first time.
Be ok with being a beginner. Hey, we are human! It’s a free pass not to get something right the first time. No one is expecting you to be perfect. There’s no shortage of being honest about being human.
Celebrate messing up. And if you dare, go public with your mistakes. It’s pretty freeing. People will relate to that and trust and respect you much more if you admit you’re human and don’t have it right all the time. You can talk openly with family, friends, co-workers, or a valuable loved one… the point is, be vocal…maybe even write a blog titled, “Fear and Ways to Sail Past it!”
Hey….that’s not a bad idea!
Now…on occasion, if you find fear jamming you up, give one of these ideas a shot! Take things one step at a time, get to know your concerns, build new habits, and reprogram your thoughts and patterns to envision a successful, positive outcome instead of a fear-based survival outlook! You might love the results…
Now have a beautiful day!
As always…Go in love,