Ever get a super cool idea, but then don’t do anything about it, or have an urge to try something new, and then…ya don’t??
You are not alone my friend. This happens to everyone and is a result of basic survival programming. The good news is that by understanding why we try to avoid making change or doing things that would be good for us, but that make us uncomfortable, we can short circuit our brains and use logic take back control of life!
For the most part we hate doing scary things and avoid anything that feels even slightly uncomfortable at all costs…but WHY?!
Life experience, coaching, and basic human psychology all teach that we, as human beings, are wired to first to avoid pain at all costs (ie, the scary thing) and then to seek pleasure once the pain has been avoided. Typically that seeking pleasure isn’t actually enjoyable. It just keeps us within the confines of sticking to what we know functioning, on auto pilot, and playing it safe. What does this mean in practice though??
Typically it means that we do exactly what we have been doing and do not to go outside of those boundaries because our primal brains know those boundaries we have created and operate within are safe, and that we can stay alive and exist as long as we keep doing what we have been doing. So for example even if we don't like our job, our morning routine (or lack thereof), how we keeping our home, our relationships, our health, not writing that book, whatever that “thing” is that we are kind of interested in doing but feels scary… we keep doing that "safe" thing, not because we are excited by it, but because our most basic programming knows that we are safe and that we can survive doing the thing we have been doing. It also fears failure and tells us that it's better to just not do the thing because if we tried it and failed, that would be terrible.
But ask yourself…would you really be worse off if you just tried? And what's the worst that could happen? Truly think about it…
I am absolutely victim to this programming too -- in particular with this website. I've had the site mostly constructed for months, but was terrified to put it out to the world for your eyeballs to read.
Because it's vulnerable -- I'm sharing my writing, my life, and my experiences in a way that you, dear reader, can look at and judge in whatever way you like. And that's scary for me because I don’t have any control over your impressions of my work.
BUT it's also brave and exciting, because I am doing something new and totally differently than I have before. I'm sharing my life and business in a way I never thought that I would. And in addition to the fear and frankly the terrifying adrenaline I've felt by sharing this site with all of you, I've also been super exhilarated and excited by it.
The initial jump of making the change is always scary -- but it's also worth it, even if the thing "fails" because we will have learned something or had an experience we would not have had otherwise. When I talk with clients about the times they've felt most alive or excited in their life, the answers I get pretty much unanimously surround times of change or transition or doing something "wild and crazy" or different from their current status quo of life.
So, ask yourself right now: When in my life have I felt most alive? What was happening? What did I do? Who was involved? Where was I? I'd BET that you'll likely have some sort of answer that surroundings doing things that were or could have been lightly fear invoking, but that you did anyway.
This primal feeling of fear or uncertainty stemming from our most basic programming to avoid pain isn't serving us here today. Sure, it did a great job of keeping us as part of the pack and alive thousands of years ago -- but really, today, not much is going to actually be dangerous to you. It's simply your adversity and fear to change -- but with no grounding!
As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, and my dear friend and colleague, Jen, reminded me as I was talking with her about my anxiety of sharing my website for all of the world to see:
Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.
I can tell you from experience this week that even though it was terrifying to share this website with all of you, I am more motivated and excited than I've felt the entire time I was putting it together, and that sharing more of who I am is serving me FAR better than not publishing this sit would have been.
So I challenge you this week to do one thing that scares you. It could be asking that person out you've wanted to ask but have been too afraid to try, volunteering to take on that project at work, starting a conversation with someone you wouldn't normally talk with, asking for that raise or promotion, starting to job search, going ice skating -- ANYTHING. Just pick one thing …you'll know what it is, because there will be little alarm "don't do it!" bells going off inside of you. Simply acknowledge those fears as trying to protect you from something you don't need to be saved from, and move towards the "scary" thing. Just rip the band aid and do it. I promise it'll be fun once it's over and that you'll be happier, stronger, and more productive for it!
The things that you don't do, try and reach for are the ones you'll end of regretting in the grand scheme of life. Don't let that fear rob you of the fun, changing experiences that you so deserve!