“What keeps people stuck?” my friend Anita asked.
“Fear keeps people stuck in many situations,” I replied.
“Is it really possible to release ourselves from fear?” she asked.
Now, we’re stepping into areas of philosophy and practical ways to raise our levels of success and fulfillment.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
From interviewing successful people, I’ve learned that they have certain patterns in place in how they approach problems and situations. They certainly feel fear, but they do not let fear paralyze them.
Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.
– Elon Musk
The path out of fear-based paralysis is change.
How do we do that? I’ve learned that you can just sit there and something will likely push you and the consequences may be truly painful.
However, the empowered state of being is to make choices. I’ve learned that it helps to condition oneself to take an empowered stance when dealing with fear.
To Free Yourself from Fear, Use this Pattern: Face it –> Flip it –> Forward it
- Face it.
Name it. Call it out. When we allow fear to hide in the dark, it feels bigger. However, if you name the fear, you can use that step as the start for ascending a staircase.
With Ned, one of my clients, I started a particular conversation with: “What are you afraid of?”
“We don’t have enough sales. I’m afraid we’re going to go out of business,” he said.
“Okay. That’s a good start. What can you do to improve sales?”
“I don’t know,” Ned began. “Maybe work with a coach on improving sales. Read some books. Work with my team. Interview some previous customers and ask why they bought our products,”
“Good ideas, Ned. So which of these ideas does your gut say is the one to begin with—today?”
The point here is: Ned could make improvements once he expressed his fear and then tossed some ideas on the table.
Now it’s your turn. What are you afraid of? Write this down, and then note some possible actions you can implement.
- Flip it.
The idea of “flip it” is to turn over or transform the fearful thought to something empowering.
As an Executive Coach, I often help clients open their awareness to new facets of a situation or problem. I often ask a question that opens some expansive thinking possibilities for the client.
When appropriate, I introduce my client to a principle that can help him or her shift to an empowered point of view about a situation. I mention to my clients that I have three hats of “coach, consultant and mentor.”
I’ll now share with you my idea “Mentor On Your Shoulder.” (My further guidance/blog posts are available at MentorOnYourShoulder.com.)
Your “Mentor On Your Shoulder” Keeps Certain Principles Accessible in Your Mind
Here we’re looking at “Mentor on your shoulder” as a metaphor to having someone near you to tell you valuable principles when you need them.
The process is to memorize certain phrases which stand for principles that a mentor would share with you.
Here are examples of such phrases:
a. “If in doubt, leave it out.”
On certain occasions, you can save yourself a lot of trouble, by restraining yourself from certain actions. People often say, “I knew I should not have done that.” When you recall the phrase “If in doubt, leave it out,” you can pause and perhaps, simply avoid some action that could make a situation worse.
b. “No hesitation.”
Sometimes, my team faces “creative stuck-points.” For example, recently, we needed to design a Dragon-character for my graphic novel series, Jack AngelSword. I said, “No hesitation!” and encouraged myself and two artists to jump in and draw a bunch of quick sketches. I’ve found that pressing on can help release one from hesitation, fear or being baffled about what might be a solution. I’ve said, “I’ll find out when my pencil is on the sheet of paper.” This means that I’ll find a solution as I’m actually drawing some sketches.
c. “Better than zero.”
I’ve noted that several artists and others get stuck with forms of perfectionism. I suggest making some form of progress. For example, even just 10 sit-ups a day is “better than zero.” Two quick sketches for a logo is better than nothing on the paper. Often one just needs to get started and then the ideas flow.
d. “Face the numbers and adapt from there.”
Several years ago, I was directing a feature film which called for a dream-related flying scene. The first thing was to consider a conventional way to get the effect done. I faced the numbers: $5,000 for a studio rental and some “wire-work.”
Instead, I adapted. I used a darkened garage, stood on a black tarp, and moved the camera (combined with a fast zoom-in). The cost? – when the image was composited during editing (back then at an editing studio) $100.00.
The idea here is to avoid letting fear shut down one’s thinking. Start with the conventional and then adapt and move out from there.
Steven Spielberg is noted for staying under budget when making each of his films. He made JURASSIC PARK for $63 million. To stay under budget, he cut a scene with the heroes in a river raft besieged by pterodactyls. (That scene finally saw production in JURASSIC PARK III.) Even Spielberg adapts.
- Forward it
I’m using forward here in the manner of “move forward.” Take some little step forward. Perhaps, it’s sending out an email to some friends and acquaintances asking for ideas to solve a problem. Maybe you’ll call your team together for a brainstorming session.
Even a simple Google search can help you take a step forward.
When you’re in action, you’re focused, and fear is a quiet voice in the background.
In summary, if you’re experiencing fear that’s like a vicious dog pinning you in one place … then use the Face It –> Flip It –> Forward It Process.
Spoken Word Strategist
CEO (leading teams in United Kingdom, India and USA)