Many of us and I am included in this group, are very afraid to move forward into a place that is unfamiliar to us. It is a natural reaction to that whole notion of not being in control, the not knowing something, going into the dark and onto a road we have never traveled before. Do you remember the very first time this happened to you? For many it is the first time they are introduced to a real swimming pool and the parent holds out their arms and yells, “jump”! Perhaps later this same fear came up when you were put into swimming lessons. Do you remember when you had to jump off of the diving board? Perhaps it was the first time you ventured into the ocean and your feet no longer touched the bottom and the surf gave you a face plant into the sand or something swimming by brushed against your leg?
We carry these fears with us throughout life. Even when we can reason ourselves out of fear, I bet you have an instant when the hairs stand up on your arm or neck?!
One of the things we learn to do as adults is to move forward even when we are “afraid”. Oh yeah, I know you don’t call it that, but you get a sinking feeling in your stomach or you breathe faster, when this entry into a new area comes into your life. Have you ever been asked to relocate? Perhaps you got a promotion and you had no idea what new responsibilities went along with it, or maybe you are getting married and you and your future spouse need jobs where you are going to live, what about when you graduate from High School or College and don’t know what’s going to happen next?
Every morning as you get into public transportation or into your car you do not know what to expect on your commute to work, but you do it. I doubt you sit at home fretting about what might happen on the way to work. If something does happen you handle it.
What are you afraid to do right now?
What are you afraid to commit to?
What have you not said?
What have you said that you need to apologize for but are afraid to do so?
I teach my clients a method to determine the three possible outcomes of the thing that they are afraid of. This pre-conversation and decision making process actually takes away much of the anxiety and fear away from the process.
You come to the moment of opening your mouth/move forward/or make a decision and what are the three things that can happen?
1. It goes well! The person forgives you! The whole thing was just simple and you moved smoothly through it!
2. It goes badly! You get verbally ripped up and sit out! You stumble and fall flat on your face!
3. It is a non-event!
Now if, number one happens you are elated.
If number two happens, you crawl back into your dark hole, or pick yourself up and said, I did make the effort. Now, it is done.
If number three happens, you go merrily on your way in life.
It is my experience that things are either one or three. Even if it is number two, you did move forward.
What about you?