Fear as per the dictionary is “distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”
All of us feel fear. There is no escaping fear. In fact, there are many benefits of fear such as:
- Helps you to survive
- Keeps you safe
- Keeps you within the law
- Drives you to improve and be better
Therefore having a healthy dose of fear is good for you.
However, on the flip side, fear is also the number one reason for a life not lived. Fear does not start and end with just one act, it creates a perpetual cycle – the Fear Cycle. The fear cycle looks something like this:
The fear cycle will generally consist of these 4 elements:
- Paralysis: You are so afraid that you will literary decide to do nothing. It is perceived to be safer if you did not try anything new or to take risk. Over time, you will not learn, not grow and not progress. You will continue to just live within the boundary that is perceived to be your comfort zone.
- Excuses: You will then look around and wonder “Why is my friend so successful?”. “Why am I not progressing?”. “Why has nothing changed?”. To these questions the answers will be “Oh it’s just their luck”. “Right place at the right time.”. “I was not given that opportunity.” “I just don’t know where to start.” You will create reasons or excuses but never face the realities of what your fears are preventing you from achieving.
- Negativity: Over time, the lack of progress will cause you to believe your excuses and further create a negative perspective of situations and of your life. Negativity will creep in and you will know its symptoms when you have emotions such as envy, bitterness, anger, self-doubt and so on.
- Purposeless: When nothing seems to be happening, and everything is just bleak, you will not be able to see or define a purpose. To drift through the everyday purposeless. You will see signs of that when you wonder what you have achieved, what is this life about and so on. You will just go through the day living out the routine and not being fulfilled.
The most common fear is the fear of failure. The only way to break free from the fear cycle is to address it head-on by changing the definition and perspective of failure. The fear of failure, is the result of what you perceive failure to be. For example, you perceive failure as:
- Personal: I am a failure and I will always be a failure.
- Talent or Intelligence related: Only the NOT Smart or NOT good fail
- Defect: There is something wrong with me or I am NOT good at anything
- Self-Worth: If I fail, I will always be a failure.
Therefore in order to break that cycle you will need to redefine failure and more importantly what it is NOT:
- You are NOT a failure. To fail in an activity does NOT mean that you are a failure. The task and the person are two distinctly separate entities.
- Failure is NOT avoidable. Once we realise that we cannot run away or avoid failure, you will come to accept that it is just part and parcel of life. It is part of learning and growing. It is life. Don’t try to avoid failure. Learn to learn from failure and be better.
- Failure is NOT permanent. You might fail in a certain task but as you learn and improve your skills, you will be able to accomplish whatever the task. To fail does not mean that you will continually fail. It is not permanent.
- Failure is NOT a step backward but a step forward. Just because an activity did not get the results that you had hope for does not mean that you will never be able to achieve the goal. It provides you with lessons on what not to do and what to do next. It is a step forward for you.
Establish a New and Healthy relationship with failure. We will all fail even in doing something that we are good at. To fail at something provides us with lessons on what to do and what not to do for the next time. It is a step closure to getting it right. In fact you will learn more when you fail than when you succeed.
- What you would like to achieve in 2017 and beyond?
- What goals are you working towards?
- What are the challenges and barriers that you will need to overcome?
- What do you need to do to overcome them?
- What help do I need?
- Where can I find the resources to help me?
- How do I build my action plan?
PS: Special for March, I am conducting a special free 30-min session to help you with any questions around coaching that you might have and how coaching could be the resource you might need to help you have a purposeful year. Just click here to start the journey.
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