‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ was a quote that I feel like I have run away from all my life, why on earth would I want to face my fear? Aren't fears scary? Don’t they make you feel horrible?
Well over the last few months I have been doing just this. Feeling my fears and doing it anyway. It is challenging my mind and is changing my whole life and I didn’t even realise what I was doing. I have now been able to sit down and work out what my formula was and I would like to share it with you so you can take control and face your fears too.
The thing I feared most in my life was having surgery to have my tailbone removed after 15 years of chronic pain and instead of choosing to not have my surgery and to let fear rule my life, I decided it would be a good idea to do the opposite. To get really comfortable with the idea that I was going to have surgery instead. Facing the fear made the idea of surgery become easier to deal with, my thinking completely changed, my fear was no longer in the driving seat. It occurred to me that if just by changing the way I think about something the experience would be totally different, positive rather than negative. I wonder what would change if I applied this to everything in my life? This was a major revelation for me, one that has set me free and now I can’t stop doing it, in all areas of my life. Warning – a change is coming.
So the next thing on my list was exercise. Pre-op if you had of asked me about exercise I would have told you not to swear at me! I hated exercised and anything to do with it. I found myself making the stupidest excuses why I didn't want to do something that potentially could make me feel really good. So, I faced my fear, I exposed myself to exercise so much (without actually doing any exercise) that my mind thought ‘what the hey’, let's try this, what have you go to lose?
My husband had just started running a gym and I spent most of my recovery after surgery there with him just watching the classes, talking to people, watching more classes and after a while, my body was itching to do those classes too and be just like those people. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to do my first class and that was the change, no more fear. Now I can't wait to go back every week and do another one.
See, I didn't change, I just exposed myself to the fear gradually until it wasn't scary anymore. I started with one class and after a few weeks I added another, now I am finding any excuse under the sun to exercise.
Then another fear raised its head, I wanted to walk around the lake near my house. Before surgery I couldn't even handle the thought of that lake, it seemed so far to walk and way out of my league. So Instead of choosing fear I just applied the same principles again; I started with a walk to the lake to just look at it, then I walked to the first water fountain, then I walked to the next one and so on until I had walked around the whole lake. Then the next time I only stopped at two fountains, then the next time I did the whole lake. It was amazing.
See what I did?
I broke it down into pieces that no longer made me fearful. Because most of the time people will not do something because it seems too overwhelming and looks too large in their mind. The trick is to break it down into manageable chunks so that you take the fear away from it. Then break it down some more, then repeat it at that level until it no longer has any fear attached to it. The aim is to get yourself to a place where your just uncomfortable enough for it to make you feel slightly uncomfortable then once the fear has gone again take it up some more. Repeat until your brain sees that’s it’s not so scary. Keep repeating until you reach your goal. This is all I have done over and over again with many different things now and my life is so different. I have stopped saying ‘no I can’t do that’ and started saying ‘break it down until you can’.
One more example of me feeling my fear and doing it anyway, was with my finances and budgeting. This was such a daunting task and I have ignored it for years (or forever haha) and it was taking its toll on me and my finances, so I decided to expose myself to the uncomfortable but start somewhere comfortable. So I went to Pinterest - my fav place, my comfort zone and a place where I become obsessed with everything else I pin, so why not try to become obsessed with my finances, right? So created a budgeting file, I started pinning pictures that got me excited about budgeting (did not think that this was even possible before I started lol) and then I started reading blog posts about them and pinned more and more until I felt like I could try these things. Most of them were very colourful and action based and I love organisation, it is my favourite thing. Now, it did take a good week of pinning stuff until I felt motivated to action on this, and now I am actioning and yep you guessed it; I’m obsessed. I figure it's like a domino effect, once you focus your POSITIVE attention to the task at hand, it then will become something you enjoy. I have also found that you have to make it positive, because if something doesn't seem positive, you need to change it around until it is. You are creating your own process to re-train your brain, to no longer feel the fear and only feel enjoyment and satisfaction.
Now get out there, enjoy your life and take back the steering wheel from fear and get to where you want to go faster.