Harness your fear

Today’s post is for Sharon.  Thank you for the inspiration Sharon and all the best facing your fear!

Most people are afraid of something.  And that’s ok.  What you do with your fear could cripple you for life or launch you beyond all your wildest dreams.  Fear gets in the way of success.  If you wish to move forward, if you wish to be successful, if you wish to grow, if you wish to be the best version of yourself that you hope to be, if you wish to find your passion and design your best life, you must face your fears.

So what are you afraid of?

Fear of failure? Fear of success? Fear of being exposed as a fraud? Fear of being hurt? Fear of being abandoned? Fear of not being good enough? Fear of not being able to live up to expectations? Fear of heights? Fear of enclosed spaces? Fear of being rejected? Fear of hard work? Fear of not making the right decision? Fear of regret? Fear of criticism?

Your fear has probably established itself through something that has happened to you in your life.  Whatever that thing was, it was obviously very valid in your mind at the time and therefore, the fear was real.  In the past, the fear served to protect you from something.  You may believe it’s still serving its purpose.  But what if you are stronger now? What if you now have the tools to face your fear and overcome it?  What if you have reached a point in your life where you now have the skills to be better than your fear?  What if you could do it?

Could you try?  How would you try?

If you are ready to face your fear, here are some steps you can take:

1. You must analyse the fear and acknowledge it.  Where did it come from?  What purpose did it serve me in the past?  Do I still need to be protected from that?  Can it still hurt me?

2. You must try and face your fear.  Start with small steps.  Small exposure to your fear gradually desensitises you to it and the more you see that it can’t hurt you anymore, the stronger you become against it.  When you feel strong enough, face your fear head on.

3. Step outside of your fear and rationalise it.  See your fear through the eyes of someone who is not afraid.

4. Seek support from friends, family, support networks dealing with your fear, depending on what it is there is likely to be a huge army of people you can surround yourself with to help.

5. Keep taking small steps.  If your fear has taken a lifetime to develop and establish itself, it’s not going to go away in an instant.  But by taking one small step every day, you will eventually see massive progress and who knows what the future may hold for you, sans fear.

Fits pump moments

One of my favourite radio segments at the moment is one delivered by two guys called Will and Woody on 101.9 FoxFM in Melbourne. It’s a segment where they celebrate the smallest and silliest “Fist Pump moments” in your day.  Fist Pump moments are of course any small, usually insignificant moments in your day where you have cause to ‘pump your fist’ in celebration.
Callers call in with moments such as – “I was sitting at my desk, I had a piece of paper to throw in the bin.  I decided to take a shot at the bin from my desk and from about 3 metres away I sunk the shot!”

Will and Woody then take great delight in playing the song ‘You’re the best around’ by Joe Esposito, the theme song from The Karate Kid movie.

I love it because it forces people to think about the small victories, about the positive moments and encourages people to be grateful for the little things.  I think we should all celebrate our daily ‘Fist pump moments’.  And the next time you have a fist pump moment to celebrate, I want you to play this song in your head.  It’s annoyingly catchy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fWvub_WBho

What if success was just one step beyond?

Hands up if you have ever started something with a clear goal of what you wanted to achieve, but then you’ve given up because it all got a bit too hard or the prospect of reaching your goal seemed too far away?

What if success was just one step beyond the point in which you chose to give up? 

How could you know success wasn’t possible? How will ever you ever know what you missed out on? The problem is you will never know.  Each time you choose to give up on something, you will never know what is beyond that next step.  You will never know what you are potentially missing out on.  That’s what potential means… It’s the promise of something, the prospect of achieving more. But unless you choose to keep trying, to never give up, to persevere, you will never know.

Personally, I believe success is found within the effort to achieve something as much as, sometimes more so than the end result.  What is your definition of success when embarking on a goal?  Is success in only achieving the ultimate end result or could success mean growing and learning new skills along the way?

Is success a destination or a journey?

These are some critical things to think about when you set yourself your next goal.  How will you measure how you’re going?  How will you decide if and when you are no longer successful?  Will you rely on your own judgment or will you take advice from others?

I am purposefully asking questions and not giving you answers because frankly I can’t answer these questions for you.  You may not know it yet, but you actually have these answers already.  My job is to ask you the hard questions so that you can find the answers within yourself.  Each person is different and every situation and every opportunity for growth for each person will require a different assessment.

The next time you set yourself a goal, no matter how big or small and if you reach a point where you feel like giving up, ask yourself “What if success is just one step further away?”

Here are some words I encourage you to get familiar with –  Persistence, momentum, determination, courage.

I’d love to hear your stories of when you’ve achieved success after persisting through a challenge even though you felt like you wanted to give up.

What would you do today?

What would you do today if you didn’t have to worry about money, time or getting leave from work?

If cost wasn’t an issue, what would you do?

If time wasn’t an issue and you didn’t have to worry about when or how long it would take, what would be your ideal day / weekend?

If you were given paid leave from work immediately and given the week off, how would you like to spend the week?

These things are of course unrealistic for the majority of us but this kind of thinking is extremely powerful in starting to understand what is important to you. It’s ok to dream sometimes. It’s actually a good way to learn things about yourself and to start to get a better insight into your values. These things are the foundations for finding your passion in life!

What would I do? I would grab my kids and go to Disneyland!

**update – In September 2014, I had the opportunity to fulfil my dream of taking my kids to the USA including Disneyland and New York.  We had a ball!

Pink elephants

You’ve all heard the famous phrase – Don’t think about pink elephants.  Seriously, pink elephants, whatever you do, don’t think about them.  I thought I said don’t think about Pink elephants.  Oh wow it’s really hard not to think about pink elephants isn’t it?

Ok, who is now NOT thinking about pink elephants?  Not many of you I’m sure.  That’s a very brief example of how powerful the mind can be.
Have you ever had a cold or the flu?  And then your hubby or wife or friend calls you and asks how you are feeling.  And of course you want sympathy so you recall how sick you feel, and how much your head hurts, and how you just want to die……  And by the time you get off the phone you feel like death!  You’ve talked yourself into feeling even sicker than you  were 5 minutes ago.

Can you remember the last time you were somewhere really high?  Bungy jumping?  Parachuting?  Hiking?  On top of a bridge or a lookout or a ladder?  Or maybe on the roof of your house?  It doesn’t matter where.  Have you ever been up high and said to yourself, whatever you do, don’t look down?  What ends up happening?  Of course you look down!

Have you ever been on a diet or sworn yourself off chocolate and told yourself, don’t eat that chocolate, don’t eat that chocolate, whatever you do, stay away from the chocolate?   How long has it taken before you’ve shovelled in a glass and a half of creamy goodness?

Whatever you focus your mind on you will get.   Think about how bad you feel – you’ll feel bad.  Think about how sick you feel – you’ll feel sick.  Think about all the things you don’t want – you’ll get the things you don’t want.

So how about focusing your thoughts on the things you DO want.  Here is some of my I DO list:

I DO want happiness.
I DO want love.
I DO want success.
I DO want freedom.
I DO want acceptance.
I DO want security.
I DO want adventure.
I DO want wealth.
I DO want fitness.
I DO want health.
I DO want generosity.
I DO want compassion.
I DO want empathy.
I DO want dreams.
I DO want passion.
I DO want excitement.
I DO want fresh air.
I DO want inspiration.

Now take 5 minutes and write your own I DO list.  Place it somewhere you can read every day for a week.  Take note of how you feel at the end of that week.  Let me know how you go.

Can’t versus won’t

Do not confuse the concept of “CAN’T” with “WON’T”.  There is very little you can’t do.  There are plenty of things most people are not willing to do.

Sometimes the things you’re after may take some time, some patience and  some learning.

But it’s a matter of choice, not a matter of ability.

A lesson in persistence

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t” – NFL legend, Jerry Rice

Persistence is a rare quality in people today.  We want things now.  We want them with little effort.  We want others to do things for us.  When we don’t get what we want, immediately, we give up or we move on try the next easiest thing.

For the past 10 days, I have had a little spider making her home under my verandah outside my front door.  And every morning for the past 10 days, I’ve had to duck under her web to avoid getting a face full of spider netting.  I must admit I have had to break one of her anchor points or two so that I can walk past as it and it has been freaking me out and when it’s caught me off guard.  If you had walked past at the right time, you might have seen me do a little crazy dance or two trying to get the web off my head.

But the longer I’ve left her there, the more incredible her constructions have become.  Each night she meticulously remakes her web, neater and more spectacular than before.  She patiently builds and rebuilds her trap, time and time again, persistent in the extreme for such a tiny creature.  She needs to eat.  In order to eat, she needs to make a web.  In order to make a web that will be successful, she needs to ensure it is constructed perfectly.  That means taking down yesterday’s effort and starting again today.

This is what’s required.  No other spider is going to do it for her.

I’m sure she’s not back in her nest bitching about how the wind has messed up her efforts during the day.  I’m sure she’s not whining to her spider buddies about how the human living in the house just broke one of the anchor points.    I’m sure she’s not sulking in the corner because no-one will help her.  She just gets on with it.  She knows what needs to be done and she does it.  When it’s not right, she re-does it.

She is persistent, day after day, refusing to give up.  And she doesn’t complain.

I think we can all learn a lesson in persistence from my little 8 legged friend.

Versions of you

There are more than a few versions of you.

  •   The private you.
  •   The family you.
  •   The professional you.
  •   The social you.
  •   The insecure you.
  •   The confident you.
  •   The angry you.
  •   The stressed you.
  •   The defeated you.
  •   The determined you.

When you are shooting for a new goal, your best support is going to come from the people who know a number of these versions of you.  During your journey, you are going to be all of these versions of yourself and more and those who know and understand the different versions of you will be one of your best resources.

Must do lists

Poor time management is one of the most common problems I encounter with the people I work with.

“I’m too busy.”
“I’m just not organised.”
“There’s not enough hours in the day.”
“I didn’t have time.”

Sound familiar?

There are no more hours in a day and no more days in the week that I can offer you.  What I can offer you is some advice as to how to manage your time better.

I am a list maker.  I love having a ‘To Do’ list that I can tick off and see that I’ve accomplished what I have set out to do for the day.  But even in my daily list making excitement, I still find I get overwhelmed and underdone and end up having to re-write the list the following day with things that were not ticked off today.

The best advice that I was given recently in regards to time management is, forget the ‘To Do’ lists.  Not altogether, but do away with never ending ‘To Do’ lists containing every task that you would like to get done in the next month.  I know as a list maker I can be a little over zealous in listing down any thought that pops into my head.  What I end up with is a list of things that are not vital for today’s productivity but instead a wish list that never ends up being completed.

The end result of using is a feeling of “there’s not enough time in the day”.

Rather than a ‘To Do’ list, turn your list into a ‘MUST DO’ list.  The ‘Must Do’ list is for today only.  Only the tasks that absolutely have to do be done before you step into bed tonight are allowed on the list.

Give it a try and please let me know how your ‘Must Do’ list improves your productivity and your feelings of accomplishment at the end of a day.

Have you ever felt so passionately about something that you could hardly sit still?

Perhaps you described the feeling as excited, enthused, eager, happy, stimulated, agitated (in a good way), energized, delighted, inspired, thrilled, awakened, amazed.

Do you remember how good that moment felt?

Imagine if your entire life was lived through passion.  Imagine being excited about every moment.  Imagine being so energized that almost everything felt wonderful.  How would your life look?  How would it feel to wake up every morning?

This is what life is like when you find your passion and you design your life around it.  I can tell you first hand, it’s pretty good!  It’s still ok to have bad days and we all have those.  Living through passion doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel pain or disappointment or regret, but when the glass is always half full and you can see the positive, inspiring message in every experience, it’s a very rewarding way to exist.

Try and capture the next moment you feel passion in your life about something.  Write it down.  Reflect on it.  Think about other things you could do that might inspire the same feelings.  Your passion is whatever motivates you and moves you to action. This might just be the starting point for finding your true passion in life.