Last month I talked about 5 tips for working out what to do with your life and making a big change with Radio Verulam.
This month I wanted to talk about what gets in the way: FEAR.
A few weeks ago someone asked me ‘Aren’t you scared about opening up your new Salon and Spa’ – well I was fine until that point! It put me into a bit of a tailspin for a couple of days I can tell you. Since then I’ve seen a lot of people wreck or nearly wreck opportunities/jobs/relationships because of fear.
You can listen again to Danny Smith’s show <here>
The most important rule is NEVER MAKE A DECISION BASED IN FEAR – it’s bound to go wrong. You need to get the fear under control before you make the decision.
Why Do Something About Your Fear
Obviously fear isn’t all bad, it releases adrenalin in our bodies and helps us to run away from baddies. Plus it can be really fun; hence the kids love Halloween.
But it also has a huge amount of downsides:
Fear Of Decisions:
Worry about making the wrong decision paralyses us into doing nothing, when there could be something that we could do to resolve the problem. Problems don’t go away if you ignore them!
Or maybe there are so many options that we just feel too confuddled and bemused; I certainly had that when faced with all the choices of nails we could offer at the salon.
Or of not making an immediate decision/reaction, which makes us run around fire fighting like headless chickens, when a few moments of calm thought would have a better solution.
Fear Of The Unknown:
Fear of difference creates death and war, when thinking about it would help us realise that just because someone is different, doesn’t mean that we will ‘catch it’ or that they are judging us. So many times mums who gave their babies formula react the minute I say that I breastfed, before they even know if I’m judgemental about it or not; it’s crazy. And don’t get me on religion – argh!
Not knowing what’s going to happen is really scary, wether it’s pain, where a spider is going to go, or in my case soup (why are people drinking something that you eat is beyond me!).
Fear Of Not Being Liked:
We will always fail at this one, as only half the world can like you; but there will always be people who DO like you. I’ve already (only 2 weeks in!) had someone be a bit mean about me due to the new salon.
Fear Of Death or Loss:
This is totally understandable, and also unavoidable. But the problem is that this fear will push people away as well. On our salon wall we have the saying “It’s not about the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away”. This won’t make loss easier, but it helps so that we can enjoy what we had and the time that we still have.
Recognising when the fear hits is half the battle.
It’s that stressed out fear, when your head starts to make up stuff about what could happen or what is happening. The thoughts start to run around and around and around in your head. This is when you start thinking things like:
Everyone hates me.
I’m sure that person thinks xyz about me.
I’m going to fail.
If I don’t do xyz, then the whole world is going to fall apart.
What happens if <some awful thing> happens.
The funny thing is that often it’s not true. Especially when it’s down to what people think about you. But it WILL become true if you keep thinking it. The problem with fear is that it makes people behave strangely, and then people will react to you and then it REALLY goes wrong!
For instance, one of the questions that I asked my hairdressers in their interviews was ‘Whats’ the worst haircut you’ve ever done?’. What I wanted to know was wether they had just packed the person off out the door, or wether they had the guts to face their mistake and deal with it. I know that that I can walk up to one of my lovely girls and ask her to just take a little more off my fringe, and that she won’t react as though I’m saying ‘that was an awful cut’, when all I’m saying is ‘could you take a little more off?’. I just need to know that I can ask her and that she isn’t afraid.
How does it make you feel? Do you start to feel anxious and get palpitations? The fear of the panic is often worse than anything else isn’t it?
Think about all those times when you’ve been ruled by fear and write down all the ways to recognise it in yourself, so that you can get better and better at it.
For me, I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed and things just don’t flow the way that they normally do. I start thinking things like ‘I MUST advertise everywhere’ and wanting to make rash decisions. There is a panic and a rush to it all. Which is very different from the times when my thoughts flow fast, I’m in the zone and amazing things happen coincidentally/serendipitously that mean that changes happen fast and easily.
What to do
1) Write down all your fears and why they are scary.
It’s never as scary when you actually face it and write it down. Before that you are just scared and that fear is running around in your head. Once written down it is less scary.
Plus it means that you can look at the fear and think about wether it really is as bad as you think.
Write down all your thoughts. Then have a look at them – are they REALLY true? Can you prove them? Why are you scared of it? What is the worst case scenario?
Also, you are more likely to sleep that way and then you will feel better in the morning. Everything is better with sleep (see my tips here).
I did this for my fear with the salon. When I thought it through the worst thing that could happen is that I could lose all my money and be a bit of a laughing stock for opening up a Salon and Spa in a recession. There would be people who would probably be a bit gleeful about it – I’ve already met a few likely candidates for this. But at the end of the day I would still have my family.
With your children or loved one, don’t just dismiss their fears. Let them explain them to you and talk them through so that they feel heard.
2) BREATHE in through your nose and out through your mouth
Breathing in through your nose calms you down much more than breathing in through your mouth. Once you calm down you can start to regain control of your body and see the options that are available to you.
Remember to eat too – everything is worse on an empty stomach!
3) Avoid things or people who make it worse
If you can’t deal with scary stories don’t read the Daily Mail. If one of your friends freaks you out all the time, don’t see them as much. Avoid googling things if you don’t think that you can deal with what you find; ask someone else to do it instead.
4) Plan of Action
Once you know what your fears are you can make a plan of action. Even at if the worst possible outcome happens, there will be something that you can do. Ask a friend to help you – one who is pragmatic, calm and practical.
I really recommend therapies like EFT or Hypnotherapy if you have a phobia. You don’t have to be limited by these fears forever, and there is often a reason for it, even if it isn’t obvious (I think my soup phobia is pretty obvious – my mother’s cooking!).
What’s your worst fear? Do you need any tips for dealing with it?