Fear is a very powerful emotion. It can be useful as a guide to keep us safe in the face of danger, especially if we are standing at the edge of a cliff looking down. Fear will let you know its time to back away and move to a safer place. This is a very needed and useful example, but what happens when it has a negative impact in your life?
When life takes you down a path of the unknown, taking you out of your comfort zone and removing your crutch of stability and control, this is when fear hits you directly in the face. Hard and unrelenting. You start spiraling out of control. You have lost your confidence in making any decisions. Big decisions are impossible but the smaller decisions are just as difficult because you know that they could impact your ultimate life journey. Welcome to the paralyzed by fear paradigm.
As someone that had no problem making decisions, no matter how big or small, this was a place I had never visited before. I felt lost and lonely. It was so much easier to ignore the issues than to face them. Even deciding on what to wear became and overwhelming emotional chore. This was not doing my goals any favors at all. As we all know it is vital to have goals as they keep us focused on striving for our next success. Being paralyzed with fear allows our lack of confidence and trust in ourselves to make the right decisions to take over us and keep us from reaching our goals.
I never understood people who could not lift themselves up until I had reached that place. I now understand how it slowly takes over and allows the dark cloud of doom and gloom to control our thoughts and actions - or lack thereof.
I have discovered 3 actions that is helping me move forward and its important to wake up each day with a goal in mind.
1. Just Breathe
Take time to just breathe. Allow yourself an opportunity to focus on the fact that you have been given another day. Another opportunity to make a difference. When I feel overwhelmed I try to stop and focus on my breathing. Think about each breath. Take your time to inhale slowly through your nose and hold your breathe for a second before exhaling again through your mouth. Keep doing this and its amazing how everything slows down around you and you are able to focus again.
By focusing on your breathing it allows your brain the opportunity to focus on something other than the overwhelming fear you are feeling.
2. Focus on the Process
It is amazing how we focus only on the end goal and before we have even started the process of obtaining that goal we have allowed our own insecurities to hold us back. We believe that we should have been closer to our goal. We compare ourselves to others and then we start self-sabotaging and give up before we have even started.
Although the main goal is all important, I believe that you need to identify smaller goals that lead up to the main goal. When you meet these smaller goals, celebrate them. This will boost your confidence to move to the next smaller goal. Take your time and don't feel pressured by anyone else around you. Before long you will reach your main goal. Keep going no matter your circumstances. Try and try again.
3. Take the first step
I have always been one to focus on doing everything right the first time and this can be debilitating as it plays right into the trap of becoming too scared to make a move. When you have decided on your goal you need to make a conscious decision that perfection is not a requirement. If you make a mistake it is okay. Just dust yourself off and try again. But in order to take the first step you need to look fear squarely in its eyes. Don't allow your own fear of rejection to keep you from moving forward. As in the world of Nike - Just Do It.
Its like starting out your day. You need to take the first step and get out of bed. You can never accomplish anything until you actually make the decision to get up and start.
So just breathe, focus on the process and take your first step in this wonderful journey called life.