November 8, 2013 kerenestro

Do you need to put your big girl (person) pants on?

Ever found yourself torn between wanting to do something and at the same time holding yourself back? Yesterday I launched my business FaceBook page. It was a major event for me. I’d been telling myself I ‘should’ do it for years, but I kept holding myself back. I’d been procrastinating on all the reasons why I was not ready to launch.

I told myself – the image is wrong, I’ve got nothing to say, it would be better to have a professional do it, I’ll make a mess of it and people will notice, the tagline isn’t quite right – on and on it went…

So yesterday I put my big girl pants on and pressed the live button. And guess what? I didn’t break Facebook! The world did not end and today I’m feeling – dare I say it – a tiny bit smug. The ‘likes’ started dwindling in and all of a sudden I felt exhilarated and brave – “Yes I did it!”

We all do this to ourselves is some way of another. Do you tell yourself stories about ‘what will happen if…?’ And of course that thing, or things you imagine happening, hardly ever happens. But stories are powerful things, and often enough to stop you in your tracks.

The fear of everything going belly-up takes over and stops you.

I suggest you have a look at the stories holding you back, because it’s very likely you’ve made it up and made up stuff is often based in fear. The fear of everything going belly-up takes over and stops you.

Why do we do that to ourselves? Well, because we want to stay safe and stepping out of our comfort zone is risky. We are built to be risk averse. The human brain is designed to keep you safe (5:1 in favour of risk versus opportunity). And it’s useful to us. Without it we’d all be run over by buses. But unnecessary worry increases stress and can shift our innate risk to opportunity ratio far higher, until moving out of your comforts zone feels impossible, because the risk feels far too great. Then you find yourself procrastinating and stuck.

How do you overcome it? The first thing is to notice your stories, which is where mindfulness comes in. If you’re not aware that they’re just stories that you’ve made up, they will operate behind the scenes of your awareness, and you’ll have no option but to listen to them as if they’re the truth. Take them out and have a good look at the stories you create. Write them down if you like and study them hard. Ask yourself – just how likely is it that ‘such and such’ will happen? What are the other possibilities? How would it look if things went well?

Mark Twain had a great saying. It went something like this… “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which have actually happened.” It’s a helpful reminder of the power of your imagination to create havoc.

If it’s important you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find an excuse. So get out of your head and put your big girl (or person) pants on. It feels pretty good when you do.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are my stories helpful, or unhelpful?
  • How will I feel if I take action?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen?
  • If the worst thing does happen, what will I do then?

In my experience as a coach, people who’ve taken the time to think through their worst case scenario, can always come up with a plan to manage it, if it happens.

If it’s important you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find an excuse. So get out of your head and put your big girl (or person) pants on. It feels pretty good when you do.

What’s the first step you’ll take? Great – now and go do that now.

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