Problem #2: Holding yourself back
“Wait, what? I’m not holding myself back!”, I hear you saying- “I’m putting in 110%! If I weren’t, that would be like self sabotage and I would fail! I wouldn’t do that. I can’t afford to fail!”.
Ah failure. It always comes back to you, doesn’t it?
Let’s examine this idea of failure a bit more.
Can we fail? What if I told you there is no such thing as failure? Every time something happens that doesn’t align with what we hoped or planned for, we have an opportunity to LEARN. As long as we take the experience and look closely at it to define what went right (how we can do that again) AND what went wrong (and what we can do to avoid that in the future), it’s a positive.
When I realize that I’m stuck in a loop about avoiding failure and being afraid of it, I turn to my favorite little exercise: Fear Busting!
What are you afraid will happen if you fail?
>> Write it down
What are you afraid will happen if THAT happens?
>> Write it down
Follow the spiral all the way down to the very bottom.
Now, ask yourself (at every step of the way), how likely is it that this will happen? On a scale of 1-10, how likely is this scenario to happen?
By the time you reach the bottom, you’ll see how ridiculous your fear is.
Try it for yourself!
I’m afraid that if I fail….
I won’t have an income and will have to rely solely on my husbands income.
Our marriage will be extra stressed because we won’t have enough money.
My husband will resent me because I’m not earning anything.
Eventually, our marriage will fall apart because I’m a non-productive member of the relationship.
I’m still not making any money but I still have my pride so I’m too afraid to ask for help so I’m now homeless.
I have no street survival skills and I’m the most tenderhearted person so I remain the lowest of the low.
Eventually, I curl up and die.
While this is NOT a sunshine and rainbows exercise, it DOES reveal how absolutely ABSURD our fear can be!
The truth is, only the first two lines of mine are likely to happen.
I know I have a very solid marriage and that it would take YEARS to build the level of resentment I’m talking about here.
Seeing this also means that I have a chance to turn this around into opportunities to change the downward spiral. If I’m afraid of the stress on our marriage because of a tight budget, I could: get a part time job, spend more time gaining new business, or do things “on the side” to make ends meet. I can prepare for the “worst”.
The REAL bottom of my spiral is feeling the pinch of me not having an income. Not fun but bearable. And temporary. One failure doesn’t mean no success ever. Just remember Thomas Edison and all his research to find the RIGHT way to make a lightbulb.
Transforming your fear into your advantage
If you’re like me, you find yourself thinking “if only I had x, I could do y”. Or “If only I was x, then people would take me seriously/buy from me/whatever your response is”.
I want you to break those ideas apart.
Why do you think you need x?
Is it because “that’s what everyone does”? If that’s the case, use that to your ADVANTAGE!
If you need…a big public space to display your art because “that’s what you do”, have a small private space and write down all the ways that is BETTER than a big public space for your customers. (Not how it’s better for you. While it’s nice to know that, your customers just don’t care.)
If you think you need 100 items in your store because that’s what they tell you, how can having less items in your store be an advantage?
>> Customers will only see your BEST work
>> Customers won’t be overwhelmed by choices and need to “think about it”
>> Customers will be able to make an easy purchasing decision (A or B? Instead of A-Z)
If you think you need x because you’re afraid of what will happen if you don’t have it, run it through the fear busting exercise.
If I don’t have x, the worst that can happen is….
See how easily you can take the thing you fear or think you “NEED” and turn it into something positive?
Turning it all around
I find the best way to overcome my fear is to take a moment to ask myself one simple question:
What is ONE thing I can do TODAY to make progress?
If I get to the end and decide I really do still need x, I have to ask myself “What can I do today that will get me one step closer to x?”. Write down, schedule it, and make it happen!
Progress feels so good, don’t you agree?
Next I’ll be wrapping this three part series up with a little bit on finding your focus when you’re feeling torn between two ideas or paths.