Do you know what I’m talking about when I say paralyzed by imagined fear? I’m not talking about the fear where we sense real danger. This is what Gavin De Becker writes in his book, “The Gift of Fear” – our animal instinct of knowing when we are in the presence of danger.
I’m talking about the imagined fear which feels paralyzing each time we want to grow outside our comfort zone. It’s paralyzing because many start with an idea, moving forward confidently to explore further. But as the dream incubates, the reasons why it’s unlikely to work start to surface. Our initial enthusiasm is quickly overshadowed by self-doubt. Once the justifications of why it’s not going to work have taken a strong hold in our thoughts, our heartfelt dreams begin to be minimized. Before long they become reclassified as silly ideas or impractical thoughts which never had any hope of succeeding anyway. We tell ourselves with conviction “I’m too old, the economy is bad, I have responsibilities and bills to pay so there’s no way I can pursue that idea”.
Does this sound familiar? If it does, keep reading.
A number of years ago, my go-to audio book was Wayne Dyer’s “Power of intention”. I listened to it over and over, as there were so many topics which resonated with me – I couldn’t get enough of these gems of inspiration. One in particular was the importance of paying attention to the ideas stirring inside us, where the whispers of our heartfelt dreams and desires can be heard.
“Don’t die with your music still in you.” Wayne Dyer.
If you’ve heard the whispers of your dreams, and felt the initial excitement of connecting with a heartfelt desire, take a look at the steps below. Don’t let yourself be paralyzed by imagined fears before you’ve challenged yourself, discerning what are real or imagined.
Tip 1: Write out ALL of your fears and imagined worst case scenarios. Don’t stop until they are all out on paper. Often this alone can restore us to clarity and calm when the fears around heartfelt desires rise to the surface.
Tip 2: Sort out the practical from the “boogeyman in the closet”. Some fears are legitimate, and can be an indication you need additional work. But some fears dress up like the “boogeyman in the closet” – imagined fears which paralyze our progress unless confronted. This is where discernment is required.
One you’ve listed every fear on paper, you can start sorting. Perhaps your concern is not having enough money to start a business. Before you discount the idea, look at your finances and write up a budget. Get clear on the practical steps for sorting out a financial buffer.
If your fear is public speaking, enroll in a group like Toastmasters. Perhaps you want a promotion, but fear being turned down. Identify areas where you need some further training, or read self-help books such as “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, or “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. Titles like these can be useful in identifying unconscious blocks to achieving success.
Whatever the fear is, it can usually be worked through with additional planning, or healing of unconscious patterns of behavior.
Tip 3: Breaking things down into small, digestible steps. A lot of what stops us from moving forward, particularly with our big dreams, can be feelings of overwhelm at the (perceived) enormity of change required to meet our goals, along with the idea that it all has to be actioned immediately.
In the words of Mark Twain, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
Tip 4: Having the staying power. One of the most difficult challenges in my view is having the staying power to sustain the ups and downs while seeing your dream through to reality. Any time we move in the direction of our heartfelt dreams, anything which is holding us back will come to the surface to be cleared. This is where a life coach or support group can be invaluable in keeping the staying power.
The advice written by Julie-Ann Tathem, Tathem LLC is opinion based and for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be in place of a consultation with a health, tax, legal or other professional.
About the Author:
Leaving a successful career in Wall Street behind, Julie-Ann Tathem was able to realize her own dream of combining the love of psychology, spirituality and business to start her own business and life coaching company, Tathem LLC. She gets to do what she loves every day: assisting people from around the world to see their lives anew and empowering clients to make better choices and live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. You can contact Julie-Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.