It’s very hard to achieve goals if you have the emergency brake on, and the emergency brake is fear. ~Tim Ferriss
Sometimes, when we’re doing the work of self-evaluation–asking ourselves deep questions like we’ve been doing since Friday’s post–our fears and worries can be awakened. It’s important to keep them in perspective so that we aren’t derailed and stopped in our forward progress.
When we’re fearful we pull back, slow down, and oftentimes we come to a halt. While fear can be helpful in alerting us to dangerous situations, we can’t respond to all fears in the same way.
Some fears are reasonable and it’s right to slow down, take a close look at them, and come up with a plan of how to handle them. For instance, fears of poverty can lead us to set up a savings program, pay off all our debt, and devise a plan that allows us to live within our means.
Other fears, which are most of them, are ones that we can do nothing about and they distract us from important work that will get us toward our goals. An example of an unhelpful fear is from my own life.
When my daughter was a young child, it seemed to me that the world was teetering on the brink of total obliteration. I remember being so worried and upset and questioning why I brought a beautiful and innocent child into such a horrible world.
One day my fears were particularly strong and terrifying. As my daughter napped, I quickly walked to the end of the driveway to get the mail, my mind swirling and terrorizing me with fears. I remember standing at my mailbox and feeling the sun shining on my shoulders, warming me. That was enough to make me realize that the day was one of those beautiful early spring days. The sun was shining, the sky was a clear and brilliant blue. The trees were beginning to bud, birds were singing, and crocuses and other early spring flowers were blooming. It occurred to me that right then at that moment, I and my daughter and my family were okay. We were not facing any immanent threats; my husband and I worked in jobs that paid us enough to have food on the table and to have a roof over our heads each day. Overall, we were okay!
While this technique didn’t banish all my fears, over the years it’s helped me put my worries and fears in perspective and loosen their grip on me so that I could continue moving forward.
Feel free to use this technique of realizing that in this moment, you are just fine. This will help you keep your fears at bay so that you can take the next step, even a teensy tiny one.
You can do it!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,