As the year comes to an end, many of us are contemplating what’s next. What could the following year look like? Perhaps some big ideas involving personal transformation, or professional shifts, are on our radars.
We might even be asking ourselves questions like, “what if I actually took steps towards making these things happen?” And, just as our ideas begin to present themselves as possible realities, something else may happen, too. Our stomachs might suddenly start to drop from nervousness and fear.
At this point, we could find ourselves abandoning our ideas altogether, only to store them in that mental compartment called “wishful thinking.” And, if we are honest with ourselves, this wouldn’t be the first time. The outcome? Fear wins.
So, how might it look if we conquered our fears and pursued our biggest goals? I get it, fear is a real thing – it causes us to second guess ourselves, and doubt everything else. It’s no wonder fear has the power to hold most of us back from pursuing the things we want. Yet, we all have the capacity to overcome our fears – and the most successful people do.
So, in the spirit of movin’ and shakin’ in 2017, here are some tried-and- true steps for overcoming fears by building an invisible mental safety-net.
1. Admit That You Are Scared
Since fear, concern and worry aren’t the most comfortable sensations, many of us would prefer to numb them out, or bury them all together. We numb our feelings by labeling them as “bad,” and then we do whatever it takes to distract ourselves in order to feel “good.” This often causes us to make rash decisions, or take risks without considering the full picture. For instance, we may rationalize a goal to be simpler than it is, which just makes us less prepared to tackle it successfully.
Another tendency is to bury our feelings, altogether, by ignoring their very existence. This turns our attention towards other things, and allows us to pretend our fears aren’t even there. We then avoid the pursuit of anything that stimulates fear, regardless of how much we want it. After all, it just seems so much easier to stay inside of our comfort zones.
In either case, failing to admit we are afraid, just causes us to overlook the valuable clues that our emotions have to offer. Maybe we are scared because we haven’t allowed ourselves to actually think about our backup plans? What would happen if we did? Well, we never will, unless we are willing to admit to our fears in the first place.
2. Ask Yourself What’s The Worst Thing That Could Happen?
When we own our fears, while allowing ourselves to contemplate the worst things that could possibly happen, more often than not, we’ll find that these “worst things,” aren’t really very reasonable. And, even if they are, they certainly aren’t as bad as we trick ourselves into thinking.
In fact, these things are usually perfectly manageable; at least, when we start to consider all of the resources that are actually available to us. Not to mention, the support systems that we could be overlooking. When we consider the full picture, including our back-up plans, our mental safety net begins to form.
On the flip side, sometimes the “worst things” really do seem that awful. Yet, still, there are always options available to us, even when we confront our versions of the worst. We just have to keep our minds open to see the possibilities.
3. Create Alternatives To Your Worst Case Scenarios
Okay, so let’s say we cannot stop fixating on the worst-case scenarios. Rather than allowing them to stop us dead in our tracks, it’s time to start thinking about alternative plans.
For starters, how might we ensure that our worst-case scenarios don’t happen? In other words, what would have to happen first, prior to creating a certain desired outcome? Maybe we need to build a runway for a business idea on the side, while we continue to fulfill our current career paths. Or, perhaps there are different steps we need to take, in order to build more financial security, prior to taking potential risks.
This is the time to get creative with our alternative plans, so our best-case scenarios have a fighting chance. Remember, the world is filled with infinite resources and possibilities – they are at the fingertips of those who seek and connect with them. How might you connect with your possibilities?
4. Trust In Yourself And Jump
Okay, at this point, we’ve admitted that the unknown is terrifying. Of course it is – not knowing what’s going to happen is scary for anyone and everyone! The only difference is, by now, we either know that our worst-case scenarios are actually not all that reasonable, or for that matter, also not that bad. We’ve also started to think of alternative ways to ensure that our ideas will stay on-track.
So, now it’s time to take a deep breath, know that our plans are going to work themselves out, and most of all, trust ourselves. Why? Because we have the ability to make things work, regardless of what happens. We are smart, creative and resourceful people, and it’s time for us to get off that darn ledge and make things happen for ourselves.
The ledge is just a place that psyches us out with the most fearful “what if’s,” and we don’t even know them to be true. So why let them hold us back? If we know in our hearts that what we want is on the other side of that ledge, then it’s time for us to jump off of it. Seriously, we need to do it before we change our minds. And, when we do, it’s likely that we’ll look back and wonder, “why in the heck did it take me so long?” The outcome? Well, you win.
So, who is going to win your game of life next year, YOU or your fear?