Define Your Fears or You’ll Never Push Past Them

In Freelance by Christopher Michael FoleyLeave a Comment

Why it matters:
We usually equate procrastination with laziness. Procrastination is not about laziness at all. Procrastination is about FEAR.

Why it matters:
We usually equate procrastination with laziness. Procrastination is not about laziness at all. Procrastination is about FEAR.

 
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I talk a lot about the importance of goals being Specific and Measurable. If you have goals and dreams, but haven’t worked with them to make them clear, defined, and specific, it’s almost impossible to achieve them. It’s been said that what you can believe you can achieve, and I agree with it very strongly.

The same is true for fears. Being fearful is one of the largest stopping blocks that people experience. Fear of failure, fear of being disliked, of being cast out, ending up alone, etc. Most of the time, these fears aren’t even really real; not rational fears. And more important than that is that most of the time the fears aren’t actually defined. See, feeling fear about a specific thing is workable. If you’re afraid of a very specific outcome, you can work with that. Take action to avoid a scenario from playing out.  

Let’s talk about the State of Fearfulness.

In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad economist and financial literacy advocate Robert Kiyosaki presents a distinction between the states of being Broke and being Poor. Broke is a statement about one’s current cash flow position. Broke people are broke until the cash flow reverses and then they’re no longer broke. Poor is a statement about one’s mindset. Broke is a temporary condition. Poor is a permanent state of mind, which will never change without some determined self-improvement work. Poor as a mindset is difficult to cast aside. Poor as a mindset is why poor people who win lotteries end up poor again in very little time.

Think about this for a moment.

In my experience, fearfulness isn’t very much different at all. Fear comes up for us. All of the time, especially when we’re working on something big. You get to decide whether or not you’re going to be stopped by it, because the silly truth of the matter is that Fear Is Not Real. If you’re feeling fearful, STOP! Take the time to acknowledge your fear, instead of trying to push it away as we usually do, so as to get back to our very important tasks. Stop, identify your fear, and ask yourself: ”What am I really afraid of here?” Define it. Write it down if you find that helps. Bring your fear out of the realm of nebulous fearfulness and into the realm of the real. If we do not take out fears, define them, get clarity around them, we will never be able to push through them.

Undefined, our fears take on a life of their own, and they become bigger than us. I can remember the first time I worked with this. It was September of 1999, and I had recently moved to California from New England. I was 25 years old, and on the first major adventure of my life. I had just finished an hour of rollerblading, and was on my doorstep getting out of my skates, and started to feel anger and discomfort. I was mad at one of my housemates, and luckily I was present enough to notice that there was no real reason for me to be angry at the time. They hadn’t done anything to arouse my anger, so I sat with it for a minute. Eventually I could see that my sudden mood change was related to a sudden feeling of insecurity. Pushing through that a bit more I came to realise that I had made a promise to a friend that I had been putting off delivering on, and I was worried that they would call me on it and I would feel embarrassed, and that they would think less of me over it. Also, the promise was related to something that I didn’t know how to do very well and I had said I would do it with full knowledge that I wasn’t qualified to do so. I had written a check that I was not prepared to cash. I was afraid to start the task for fear of failure, and I was afraid of even thinking about it for fear of losing face and damaging my relationship with my friend. Okay, so with that clear, the only thing remaining was to learn how to do this thing that I didn’t know how to do. I made a few phone calls, got clear on what needed to happen, and I knocked this task out in a couple of hours the very next morning. I came off looking like a superhero, delivered like a champ, and earned a greater sense of pride and self-confidence as a result. Also, the fear disappeared, because I added a new skill to my repertoire.

Undefined fears will kill you.

Make no mistake. So. What sorts of fears plague you throughout the day? What insecurities come up to nag at you when you’re trying to get things done? What grips you by the throat when you sit down to knock out that task, the task that you end up putting off until tomorrow. We usually equate procrastination with laziness. Procrastination is not about laziness at all. Procrastination is about FEAR. What say you?

 

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