I get a lot of questions from groups about fear. This seems to be a good season to talk about that, as students begin to face the excitement and scariness of college graduation. Nerves are jangling right about now, not only for new college grads, but for the many recent grads and others who sit in the seat of the unemployed.
I can tell you to face your fears until the cows come home. What matters, though, is that you are the only one who can make a decision to do something about them. I think this is a time to be practical. Now is when taking one tiny step, then another counts the most. If you don’t DO something, you stagnate. You get stuck.
That’s why I think it’s totally OK to act first, then think about it. It’s kind of like learning how to dance. The teacher will tell you, “Don’t think, just move.” Pick a move that you’ll actually do. It might be exercise, to shake off the blues. Or it might be picking up the phone and calling someone to talk about your future.
This is a case where I want to see you DO something, not just stand there. And after you’ve done something, no matter how small, then I want you to STAND THERE, and not just do something. What I mean is, look hard at what you’re afraid of. Right into your gut, your heart, your head. Get clear on what is the worst possible thing that could happen if you failed. Can you survive it? Can you pass through the disappointment or hurt and see yourself coming out the other end a little bit stronger? wiser? After all, it’s official. W hat doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
This is a good time to ask yourself: What am I really afraid of? Why? What else could be possbile? What would happen if I let that lead my thinking? Who can help me? Let me show you what I mean.
What am I afraid of? People thinking I’m a loser.
Why am I afraid of that? I want to be on the fast track, and I care what people think of me.
What else could be possible? That they would respect me for trying. That I could move faster by learning “the hard way.”
What if I let that lead my thinking? I might be more willing to go for it.
Who can help me? Parents. Friends.
We humans have this bad habit of catastrophizing things. Opportunity IS behind every obstacle. People are there to support you. If you can get yourself out of the catastrophe loop then you can start clearing some fear obstacles. Try these questions next time you get in that place.
We’ll keep talking some more about fear of failure. Thoughts? What’s worked for you?