You’re very lucky.
Your ancestors were smart enough to realise that sabre tooth tigers and other prehistoric, carnivorous animals were a real threat to their safety and to fear them.
You wouldn’t be sitting here today reading this if they didn’t.
Some fears are very real. Our survival instincts have developed over thousands of years.
They’ve kept your ancestors alive when getting eaten by a sabre tooth tiger was a real and immediate threat. And they continue to keep you alive and unharmed today.
But then there are other fears you might have…
What will they think…
I’ll crash and look like an idiot…
I don’t want to try until I’ve done it in training…
What will they say about me?
They’ll probably laugh about me behind my back…
These thoughts often come to mind almost instinctively – like a reflex response – after you’ve thought about something you want to do.
I do it myself. And I hear it all the time from many of my female clients.
But here’s the secret – they aren’t fears.
They are stories. Stories you tell yourself. Stories you invent in your mind about every conceivable negative outcome of a particular situation.
Fears are stories we tell ourselves (tweet this).
The internal dialogue that goes on inside your head – and not what your body is physically capable of – can be your downfall.
More often than not, it’s your mind that holds you back. Not your body.
How many times have you thought that you’d like to try something – go to a training session, do a new sport, sign up for a race or event, try indoor rock climbing or learn to ride a mountain bike – and just as quickly these words have stopped you dead in your tracks?
We’ve all done it. We’ve been conditioned since we were kids to worry about what others think. To conform to what we should be or do.
But a life lived in fear – especially when those fears are imagined – is no life at all.
Because the reality is this – it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether people will talk about you. It doesn’t matter if they laugh. It doesn’t matter because it’s your life to live, not theirs.
Of course there may be reasons why it’s wise not to do it – for example, if the risk of breaking your neck is real and high.
But you aren’t being true to yourself if you don’t do something you want because of what some random stranger or acquaintance will say (or what you think they’ll say – which is a different thing entirely!)
And when you repeat these
fearsstories over and over in your head – I’ll crash, I can’t, what will they think – these fears become deeply embedded in your psyche. Like water that’s flowed over rock for years and formed a crevice, these fearsstories will become deeply embedded and dictate what you’ll try – and perhaps more importantly – don’t try throughout your whole life. Jealousy, frustration and emptiness are ahead if you live your life on those terms.
But here is the good news; because these types of fear are stories you’ve told yourself, you can change them – especially if your desire is strong enough.
It’s still surprising to me how many times some fears or negative talk comes out of my own head.
Once you start to pay attention, you’ll begin to realise just how much you do it too. And pay attention to how quickly these negative thoughts come to mind especially immediately after you’ve thought about something you want to do. It can be almost like the old “Pavlov’s Dog” response – desire almost instantaneously followed by doubt.
You can begin to understand the power of these
fearsstories when you think about the effect that constantly flowing water has on rock.
You might be disillusioned when you realise just how often you say these things to yourself. But don’t be. Awareness is critical if you are change the internal chatter that’s going on between your ears.
What’s the one ‘thing’ you’re scared of?
And why are you scared? Be honest with yourself. Is it because you don’t want to look like an idiot in public? Or because it doesn’t really light a fire in your belly?
If it’s something you want to do – and the fear is more imagined than real – you need to put your desire ahead of your fear by flipping the thought pattern. Say to yourself – I’m scared but this is something I really want to do so I’m going to put the effort in.
I’m not a fan of the whole ‘you must do the thing that scares you’ ideology. A hell of a lot of things scare the $hit out of me. Many – like sky-diving – are things I really have no desire to do. But some are things that scare me but that I choose to pursue. And so I do things that get me closer to my goal because my desire outweighs my fear.
But what if you realise that you don’t need or want the outcome so much? That’s ok too. Just recognise that you made a choice. It wasn’t your fears that dictated your decision but your desire (yay you!)
This stage is super important.
Have you toilet trained a puppy?
Then you’ll know just how important positive reinforcement is when it comes to getting the dog to pee outside on the grass rather than on the expensive rug on your lounge room floor.
Once you’ve made your choice – regardless of which way you decide – pat yourself on the back, say ‘well done’.
Don’t be tempted to skip this step. Think of this stage as putting one tiny pebble into a creek. It won’t do much by itself to change the thought patterns you’ve had for many years. But do it repeatedly and the pebbles will become a dam redirecting the flow of the creek – and your thought patterns in the process – so you can leave those (self-imposed) fears behind and realise just what you are truly capable of.
And let me tell you – that’s more than you could ever imagine possible. So why don’t you go and find out for yourself 🙂
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Enjoying your off-season? Read THIS first.