Have you ever been frozen by fear? It really can stop you in your tracks. It can keep you awake at night. Cause unnecessary worry. Even leave you feeling completely helpless.
The problem with fear is that it feels real, even if it isn’t. I’m not talking about the ‘walking down a dark alley and hearing footsteps behind you’ kind of fear. I’m talking about the hard decision you have to make about a relationship. Or the difficult conversation you need to have at work with a team member. Maybe it’s stepping out of your comfort zone. Applying for a new job. Taking on more responsibility.
Whatever it is that causes fear, will undoubtedly relate to one of the following universal fears:
- The fear of not being good enough
- The fear of not belonging
- The fear of not being loved / liked
Quite often, fear feels real because we’ve tried something before and it didn’t work out. Maybe we decided that we failed, so we feel like we aren’t good enough. Maybe someone else ‘had it in for us’ and we didn’t feel like they liked us. Maybe we did or said something that wasn’t well received, and we feel like we aren’t welcome anymore.
Worse still, if we haven’t done it before we catastrophize about what will go wrong! We looked ahead at what we need to do and talked ourselves out of being able to actually do it.
These thoughts create the false perception of having no choice. It can feel like being locked inside a room without a key. We go back to our earliest human instinct – to fight, flee or freeze. And our perceived problems keep us trapped in our own prison.
Yep, you get what I’m talking about. And you’ve heard all the advice already.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway!
- You can’t feel courage and fear at the same time so choose courage
- Just breath through it
- Make it about the other person, not you
All of that is actually pretty good advice. In fact, it’s advice I give my clients with great success!
But what do you do when helplessness has taken hold and none of that works because fear has frozen you from taking any action? What if you have convinced yourself that the problem will last forever? Or perhaps you have decided that every problem is your fault? Worse still, you’ve started to think that one problem extends to other situations.
Freedom from fear can only come when we suspend our fear by triggering appreciation. Appreciation changes our thinking, shifts our neurology to a different path and starts to open us up to exploring possibilities.
How to shift your thinking to appreciation:
Take 3-5 minutes out of your day. (In fact, play along with whatever limited time you have right now.)
Think about something you deeply appreciate. To start with, it doesn’t even have to have anything to do with the current situation. It might be your kids, chocolate, watching a sunset, taking your dog for a walk. Anything!
Don’t just think about it, write it down. Visualise it. Remember how you felt at the time. What were you looking at? What could you hear? Really step into your appreciation.
Do this as many times during the day as you need or want to.
Even though possibilities always exist, we lose sight of them when we are blinded by fear. By opening our minds to appreciate what we have, we start to look outside ourselves. When we are no longer inward focussed, we become more creative in our thinking. We can start to look for the good in life and in our situation.
Remember, every question you ask yourself will lead you to either darkness or light. So ensure your questions are empowering. Try these:
- What’s great about this problem?
- What will it look like when this problem is resolved?
- What have I done previously that solved a similar problem?
- Who can help me?
- Where is the best place to start taking action?
- What is the first step I need to take?
Now that you have shifted your thinking, you can now see that you do have choice. And it’s the realisation of choice that will provide the freedom for you to just get on with your life!
Shifting your thinking patterns to appreciation will assist you seek possibilities and choices. If you are wondering how your thinking is impacting your current situation, click here to access a complimentary 32 Question Meta™ Dynamics Profiling Tool and find out your personal strengths and stretches.
Tags: leadership leadership coaching leadership development