Mountains, Molehills, and 4-steps to Overcome FEAR

Our kitchen faucet over the last year or so had become increasingly slower. No matter the time of day nor how hard we attempted to open the tap the volume of water produced was barely a drip. Every time I turned on the tap I thought of the horrible and costly things that could be wrong.

Slow Faucet1

I dreaded the idea of the cost and effort to fix the problem, so I chose the path of least resistance. I can’t tell you how many times we’d just take a large pan and ‘fill it from the tub’. It was far easier to carry water throughout the house than to consider the cost and consequences of a real repair.

A couple of weeks ago, as I waited for the coffee carafe to fill with water, I decided I had had enough! It was time to at least see what the problem was. I began by removing the strainer at the faucet. Amazingly the problem was the strainer – it was clogged!

Within minutes, the catalyst of the problem was clear! Even better was the fact that the fix was quick, easy and very inexpensive.

But wait, there’s more!

This isn’t just a story about my faucet. It’s a reminder that often the problems we imagine are a huge mountain – We imagine thousands of dollars in costs – We imagine huge investments of time that are really molehills, minor and simple. We often imagine the mountain when we encounter a molehill.

FEAR

We imagine the worst possible scenario and become paralyzed by fear.

Fear can be a great motivator and a powerful tool of survival (especially when there is possibility of a lion attack); however, fear can also become the antithesis of action. Fear allows us to take a little mole-hill and create a mountain in our minds. Dale Carnegie once said

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

In an effort to help me ‘overcome fear and go out and get busy’ here are the 4 steps I have come up with to overcome fear:

1 – STOP THINKING START DOING – I can and oft do get so caught up in thinking about a project / problem / idea. I spend so much time and effort thinking and planning that I do not actually do anything.

2 – REDEFINE FAILURE – this is ridiculously hard for me! However, with each thing that doesn’t work you are one step closer to discovery of the thing that does work.

3 – REALIZE DOING NOTHING IS AN ACTION – by avoiding or doing nothing I am taking an action. I know it seems strange but the act of inaction is in itself an action. By taking responsibility for the action of inaction I can spur myself to being more proactive.

4 – SHIFT FOCUS – By shifting my focus to what I can gain it becomes easier to act. In the example of the faucet when I was completely focused of how much I wanted better water pressure I was spurred to action.

Choose to be fearless today!

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. ~ William Shakespeare

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FEAR – The Final Frontier

My dog Wrigley is a very fearful guy. His fear manifests it’s self in many ways – the most amusing is his fear of jumping on the bed. Wrigley is tall and can easily rest his head on the bed and with most beds he could just step up and be there. However he lives in fear of hopping on the bed. We have cajoled, and offered cookies. We have begged and yelled. Yet, the result remains the same – the fear negates any efforts.

I know what you’re thinking – what’s amusing about a 80lbs dog

Wrigley and Marshall on the Bed

trembling in fear? The amusing part is that once a human touches him somewhere about the neck and shoulders he leaps victoriously on the bed and proceeds to do a victory dance that would shame Rocky! His pride in accomplishment is down right funny – since most likely he has cried whimpered for a long time before someone gave in and helped.

Last night during this process, I realized I am just like Wrigley. I look at things and I see all that could go wrong. And rather than take a leap of faith and try, I whine and cry (both literally and figuratively) and take no action.

How do you over come fear?

I discovered a blog post – 33 Powerful Ways of Overcoming Fear … Right Now – that I thought had some good ideas (although some, like hypnosis, therapy or hiring a life coach seem extreme in most cases {read my case}). However, I  have come up with my own 6-steps to overcoming fear; because I do think overcoming fear comes down to a few simple steps (six to be exact):

1) Accept the Fear – acceptance in no way means give in to the fear! Acceptance means accept the presence of fear. Observe the feeling in your mind and body without labeling or judging it. Surrender to the fear instead of fighting it. As you do this the negative energy will pass through you and your body will release it. And you can return to focusing on the task at hand. Focusing on the now not only reduces fear but also increases the chances of you succeeding as your mind is focused.

2) Find the reason – Write down all the wonderful things you will gain in your life by overcoming this fear. Do it now – Take out a piece of paper and a pen. And write down all the wonderful ways you can come up with how overcoming fear will improve your life.

3) Take Small Steps – sometimes when I watch Wrigley and his hopping on the bed phobia, I think ‘don’t try to jump so far – take smaller steps’. This is so true of the fear we have in our own lives. Our fear can become so overwhelming that we are paralyzed and unable to act. Break it down in to small manageable portions and begin moving forward.

4) Live right now – The basis for our fears come from past experiences and imagined future experiences. Stop thinking about the failures of the past or how you should have made different choices. Don’t borrow trouble for the future by imagining what might or could go wrong. Do what you can right now. Make your best possible choice. LIVE NOW!

5) Accept Help – I probably have the hardest time with this one. I like to believe that I can handle it all on my own. It is hard to accept help. But sometimes we must accept that we can’t do everything and need help.

6) Celebrate Success – I wish I could celebrate with the complete and unadulterated joy that Wrigley has when his feet land on the bed. He does not contemplate the fear, or lament the need for help – he simply dances, and celebrates his victory.

Be fearless today, My Friend!

 

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Be Fearless

FEAR!  We all have it. We all are forced to face our fears from time to time. Whether it the spider who confronts you in your bedroom when no one else is around or the idea that something is wrong in your body and you fear life changing news. We all from time to time must face our fears.

How do you approach your fears?

I am embarrassed to report that recently I lived with, at times, excruciating pain for over two weeks because I was afraid of the diagnosis. My mind could imagine all sorts of truly life altering problems. Fortunately, once I faced my fear, the problem was relatively minor and easily fixed with medication. For many of us, this is how we face our fears. We avoid.

Last night I spent some time on the phone with a friend who was afraid. She was afraid of being alone outside on a night with little light. She imagined wild animals and bugs, she feared falling and being unable to have help. Was this an irrational fear? Probably, but it was nevertheless it was a fear that caused her to be unable to continue with what she needed to do.

How do you overcome fear?

1. Recognize the fear

2. Decide you are going to conquer the fear

3. Focus your attention

4. Step into the fear with abandon

5. Pat yourself on the back when it’s over

6. Notice how much easier it gets

Be fearless today!

 

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