Is That Tiny Little Fear Stopping You from Taking Big Action?
What are we afraid of? Most of us never have to worry about the big bad wolf actually knocking at our door. Except maybe on Halloween. We probably don’t have to worry about a lion chasing us down the street either. So we have nothing to fear right?
Not so fast. The biggest boogey men are with us no matter where we go. They live right between our ears in our imagination. So what are we afraid of?
There are few real scary events that can cause us to duck under the covers. Most of the things we get scared about never happen. See if any of these ring true for you.
Are you afraid to:
- Tell your partner or spouse something because they might get mad at you?
- To ask for that raise at your job that you know you deserve?
- To have a difficult conversation with a friend because they might not like you anymore?
- Take a risk to start a new project or job because you might fail?
- To go to a new workout class or take a different route on your daily walk?
- To ask someone for help?
- To go to an event in a new social setting?
- To speak your mind about something because others might not approve?
- Voice an alternative political or social opinion?
When we hesitate to take action because of some imagined outcome, life becomes constrained and constricted.
What fear is most of the time can be summed up by this acronym:
F – False
E – Expectations
A – Appearing
R – Real
Really, 80% of what we think might happen, never really materializes. So what do we do about it?
Here are some strategies to help you take action and not be afraid of the big bad wolf anymore.
- Breathe – Notice when you hesitate to take action because of some perceived negative outcome. Pause; take 5 deep slow breaths. Put both feet firmly on the floor. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Feel how strong you are.
- Change Your Mind – Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen if you take this action? Is it likely to happen? (No.) Is the positive outcome worth the risk? (Yes.)
- Make a Sandwich – Put the thing you are afraid of in between two things on your list that you know you can do. For example, you need to call your father in-law to discuss the rude treatment he gave your son. First, unload the dishwasher. Easy! Then, make the call. Finally, reward yourself by calling someone you like – your best friend. Or go for walk. See, you did it!
- Take Notes – Remember what happens when you take these steps. Notice whether the feared outcome really manifested. Chances are the big bad wolf never blew the door down. As you practice taking action even when you don’t want to, your brave muscles are getting stronger.