As humans we have an inbuilt negativity bias. Our brains will naturally focus on the negative over the positive because it is trying to keep you “safe”.
But that only works when you are facing a potentially life or death situation and can actually hold you back in the modern society you live in today.
As mums, our biggest fears tend to be around not being good enough and ultimately failing. Failing to raise our children to be healthy & happy, failing at our jobs (what if someone finds out I don’t know what I’m doing??), failing in our relationships and even small daily tasks can hold a lot of weight in our minds.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway”
This is a great quote for helping to move forward when fear is holding you back but it needs to be used with caution.
You need to have an understanding of your own comfort levels before diving into a new situation head on otherwise you could throw yourself into the unknown and it back fire, making you too fearful to dust yourself off and try again.
Imagine an elastic band. When it isn’t being stretched, it doesn’t actually do its job, it is rendered obsolete until it is needed to hold something together.
When it is stretched too far, it will snap and break, making it useless once again.
However when you gradually extend it, it has the capacity to bind items together and will start to take on this larger shape because it has been gently stretched and become optimum at doing its job.
This is the analogy I use when talking about facing your fear. You need to work out what your comfort zone is and gradually stretch it. As with running a marathon, you have to build up your training bit by bit to become race ready.
When facing your fears, building up gradually is a safe way to start when the unknown feels big and scary.
Here are 5 ways to feel the fear and do it anyway while keeping you psychologically safe in the process:
1. Find someone who inspires you
Find someone who inspires you and identify what it is about them that you draw inspiration from. Is it the way they act, the job they do, accolades they have or things they have managed to accomplish? When you have that person in mind, use it as a mantra when you are facing something that’s holding you back. One of my favourite ones when I need a confidence boost is asking “what would Beyonce do?”
2. Create a vision board with your goals or fears
Place it somewhere you will see every day. This starts to take some of the fear away as you normalise it and become familiar with it each day.
3. Write your fears down.
When you can see them written in front of you they start to loose their power and it gives the logical part of your brain chance to analyse them to work out how true and likely the fear is
- Stepping in front of a speeding car = Rational fear, you are highly likely to be very injured as a result.
- Stepping on a stage in front of people to give a talk = Feels uncomfortable but with practice is likely to be exhilarating and allow you to grow and develop.
4. Practice self-compassion.
When you hold the fear in your head and trying to ignore them, your inner voice is likely to be quite scathing in response.
“Come on you looser, even a 2 year old can do this, what’s wrong with you?” is a very likely response you would say to yourself. But you would ever say this to a friend who has confided their fears to you?
Practice speaking to yourself in a way you would respond to a friend. Acknowledge the fear, accept that it is scary but encourage yourself to take it slowly.
5. Normalise the fear.
Read books or listen to podcasts that focus on overcoming fear (How to Fail with Elizabeth Day in podcast or book is a great one). The more comfortable you become with the idea of fear and perceived failure, the less scary it becomes. You start to see it as a learning phase rather than an end result.
Think about something you are worrying about because it feels scary and go through the 5 step process above. Note how you feel at the start of the process and practice the steps. As with all mindset work, this is not a quick fix, it will take time. As you gradually stretch your comfort zone like an elastic band, you will start to achieve things your never thought possible 😊
Strengths & Mindset Coach
@Elevate with Ellie