It’s not only possible, but common to consciously convince ourselves that we want change in our life, yet subconsciously put our effort into keeping everything exactly the same as it is right now.
We can even go through all the motions of starting a new project, enlisting help, getting things started and more, only to consistently find some insurmountable challenge when it gets close to a start date that prevents us from following through.
Why would we do that?
Fear is a huge reason why so many of us don’t follow through.
Fear of what?
- Fear of success
- Fear of failure
- Fear of change
- Fear of what others might think, say, or do
- Or all of the above
We can say we’re unhappy, unmotivated, and unfulfilled. We can even know exactly what we need to do, but don’t seem to manage getting it done or moving things forward.
What does this stop and go, start and stop pattern create? This vicious circle of starting and then stopping, over and over again, can cause us to lose confidence, struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, and more. It can also cause us to lose trust in ourselves because we’re saying one thing, but our actions don’t match our words. This builds the conviction that we can’t do anything other than what we’re currently doing so we’re better of keeping everything the same, no matter how good a new future might look. When we say that often enough, that conviction becomes our new limiting belief and we’ll justify and rationalize anything that may question it.
Does this sound familiar? If so, what can you do about it?
Question your fear
A simple question like, “What’s the worst that can happen?” can show you why fear is stopping you in its tracks. Can you accept the worst case scenario? Is it really that bad? It’s unlikely that the worst case scenario will happen but if so, playing it out is often not as bad as we originally may have thought before we looked at it fully.
Imagine someone else taking your idea from concept to completion
Imagine your idea. Now imagine it was too hard, it would take too long, you didn’t have the time, resources or whatever else you believed you needed to move your idea forward. Now imagine someone else taking your exact idea and moving it from concept to completion.
If you had the idea, it’s because you’re the one who is supposed to see it through. Feel what it would feel like to give that dream to someone else simply because you didn’t take appropriate action when the opportunity presented itself.
What do you lose if you take action?
Sometimes it’s a matter of what we’ll lose that prevents us from moving forward. And, even if those things don’t seem worthy of holding onto, they’re comfortable and familiar which may be all it takes to keep things exactly as they are.
Will you lose staying under the radar as you become more accountable for your actions? Will you lose time or money as you pursue this new venture? Will you lose the story you may have created around why you can’t do something or why you’re unable to see this idea through?
Are you worried you’ll lose your current relationships or you’ll drift apart from your current social circle as you pursue this new passion and dream? Take a look at each of these concerns. Are they legitimate and if so, what decisions will you make to prevent a negative outcome as best you can? Next, consider why you may still feel compelled to hang onto that story or idea. Is it out of comfort, guilt or simply the fear of the unknown?
Make a Decision and Take Action
Through practical experience, you’ll come to realize that when you make a decision and take action, you move forward. As you do, you’ll see that life is more rewarding and satisfying when you don’t let your fears keep you small and/or stuck.
When you find purpose and meaning in what you do, you also realize that the fear evaporates. A sense of pride, fulfillment and purpose takes its place. It’s not that you’ll no longer experience fear, but by taking that fear on, you’ll have more opportunities to explore things that fill and fuel you. Taking on those fears, versus running from them, leads to success in any area you deem important.
As Winston Churchill said: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” A great perspective and reminder that stumbling towards what you want is far better than staying rooted to what doesn’t serve you.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute