Let me get real with you. Fear and I go way back. I deal with him on the reg. I’m in my own process of shifting my relationship with Fear to a positive light, instead of operating under the false pretense that he controls my life. As the Disney movie “Inside Out” will tell you, he’s actually not a bad guy. It’s all about the amount of power you give to him.
I have seen many places in my life when I have laid all the groundwork for a new venture, checked my boxes, crossed my t’s, dotted my i’s, etc, etc. You put in so much thought and planning and dreaming for what is going to be AWESOME and EPIC and exactly how you want to move forward. You get to the very edge of the cliff, and you freeze. The next step is action, and you can’t move. All of the what if’s come pouring in. What if I am inconsistent? What if I come off wrong? What if I can’t live up to others’ expectations? What if I can’t live up to my own expectations? What if I jump off this cliff and realize halfway down, that I don’t have wings, I can’t fly! That’s going to hurt.
Then comes frustration with self- you DID all of this work! You have your “why,” you have the knowledge, you have the vision- jumping off is the only way to move forward from here. So JUST DO IT. And then, I’m like, “Yeah, rad, but all of the things that could go wrong are just very present in my head right now, and I want to take a second/week/month/year… You know, maybe where I was before wasn’t so bad. I could just go back to that and be ‘fine,’ right?”
Sound familiar? First things first, let’s back up to those fun little “what if’s.”
What if I am inconsistent? Is it possible to consider that inconsistency is completely natural? Think about the weather, because that’s nature: We have four seasons. At least we do here in TN, feel free to insert your own hemisphere’s weather patterns here. The general pattern of these seasons remains the same. As of right now, summer is hotter than winter, spring and fall bring about a shift in our plants and wildlife, and Santa Claus comes around the winter solstice. The general structure is there, but no two years look exactly the same. The weather is inconsistent, yet it is completely natural. If we aren’t questioning our approach and trying new things, then we are fighting the natural course of action. So is it possible then, to consider inconsistency as a positive approach? Keeping things fresh and unpredictable is much more interesting than a constant repetition. Obviously there are aspects of our lives and careers where consistency is important. An example being if you are a *brain surgeon, you may not want to take an entirely different approach each time you operate. Generally speaking though, when it comes to how we approach our careers, relationships, life decisions, and forward movement, a variety of approaches is a great way to keep ourselves in the game. If you choose to view what you consider “inconsistency” as a positive thing, it will become one. If you view it negatively, it will become that.
*If you’re a brain surgeon, and you’re reading my blog, give me a shout-out @wildheartedwellness, because that’s rad.
What if I come off wrong? Well, it’s all about intentions and perception. First of all, unless you are a certified mind-reader (doesn’t exist), then you have no idea how exactly you are being perceived.
So stop listening to your inner critic who likes to believe s/he is an all-knowing guru. S/he isn’t. What you do know is the intention you are setting as you go about your business. If you say something with the intention of offending someone, you absolutely will. If you are focused on the fear of offending someone, that intention has been set- trust me, it’s worth putting in the time and space to sort this out before acting. Bring this back around to your “why.” If you don’t have a solid, positive reason for saying what you are about to say, I can guarantee it doesn’t need to be said. However, if you are approaching someone out of love, with every positive intention, you have to trust that THAT is what will read. And you are not responsible for others’ perception of you or what you have to say. You are responsible for the intention you set behind it.
What if I can’t live up to other peoples’ expectations? A: No one is that focused on you, they’re all focused on themselves. This is a good thing! B: If someone is for some reason focused on you, it’s not your problem! Yay! If they are stalking you, get a restraining order. Not yay, but fixable.
What if I can’t live up to my own expectations? Then you’re entirely in control of resetting those expectations, or even better, eliminating them. You don’t read the last page of the book before starting it, do you? Actually, I knew a kid in middle school who did that, but that was just weird and didn’t benefit her at all. The more we can learn to release our own expectations of self and enjoy the journey (#tbt New Year’s Revolution blog), the more surprises and opportunities will open up to us.
I don’t have wings! Well, the cliff thing is a metaphor. If you’re considering jumping off an actual cliff outside of the context of well-planned cliff-diving, I urge you to reconsider. The truth is, we aren’t fairies or any sort of winged creature. We are humans desiring to move forward because the alternative is stagnancy. This is not meant to be confused with allowing time for processing or development. These are important steps in a process. What I am referring to is the conscious choice to sit still without any intention of flowing again. The choice to jump off of this metaphorical cliff is going to include an amount of risk, be it finances, ego, relationships, or status. But allow me to repeat myself: the alternative is stagnancy.
Here’s another way to look at it. Let’s enter an imaginary planet where every book gets hard to read at chapter six. You pick up a book, you invest the time in reading the first five chapters, and you realize that yet again, chapter six is uninviting and challenging. You have two options. You can put down the book and pick up another, knowing that once you hit the end of chapter five, you’re going to run into the same exact issue, OR you can take a deep breath, turn the page, and read into the feared chapter six of the book you have already invested in. It may turn out that it’s not so bad after all. I personally see that one completed novel is far more valuable than many unfinished stories. Do you?
Trust me, I’m still in the baby stages when it comes to applying these beliefs. And that’s okay. I will be a work in progress until the day I leave this world, and whether you choose to believe it or not, so will you. If we can embrace that and take time to see ourselves every step of the way, I believe we will be just fine ❤