How to overcome the mental blocks that keep you from taking action
Through my work as a coach, I come across many women who want to achieve great things, but who fail to...
Through my work as a coach, I come across many women who want to achieve great things, but who fail to see things through, get stuck in a rut, or simply lack the motivation to keep at it until their goals are achieved. In many cases, the reason that these women don’t achieve what they set themselves out to do is based in their fear and limiting beliefs.
There are all kinds of fears and beliefs like this which can prevent women of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures from doing what they are passionate about.
And today I want to address the subject of fear, as I believe this is the number one mental block that keeps many women from achieving their dreams.
Before we take a good look at fear, I want to say up front that, to me, overcoming fear does not mean being totally absent of fear. Being fearless is not the absence of fear; rather, it’s having moved through fear, or past fear, based on the assumption that the result of taking action outweighs the uneasiness involved in doing so. So being fearless does not mean that you live without fear. Instead, it means you’re able to live with your fears – to really look at them and get to know them, and then befriend them on your journey towards accomplishing your goals.
Being afraid of something is human and, in many situations, a necessary and life-saving reflex. In the evolution of humankind, fear has helped our species stay alive and evolve into the intelligent and advanced societies and cultures we live in today. Unfortunately, although we don’t need all of those “fight or flight” reflexes anymore, fear is still a part of who we are.
Fear has evolved with us, provoking psychological, emotional, and even physical reactions that are separate from our surroundings. That is where the problem lies. We can be lying in bed or on the couch – protected, warm, having nothing to fear – and yet, in our heads, we are afraid and anxious. As a consequence, our bodies experience the stress reactions caused by fear. And, in turn, that causes mental blocks that keep us from taking action.
In order to recognize these fears for what they really are and learn how to overcome your mental blocks, I invite you to try the following exercise. Whenever fear is holding you back, I want you to…
Review your fears
A powerful question that has helped me and many of my clients is: What’s the worst that can happen? Whenever you experience fear, ask yourself this question and write down everything you can possibly think of. When your list is ready, review the items and try to identify the worst outcome. Now compare that worst outcome with the life you’ll have if you don’t pursue your passion, goals, or dreams.
Embrace your fears
After you realize that your worst outcome is probably still much better than the unhappiness and unfulfilled life that might lie ahead of you if you don’t follow your passions, it is important to accept the fact that answering your calling will be scary sometimes, both now and in the future. But that is perfectly OK, and something we all experience. This is why befriending your fears and accepting them is really powerful, especially when you’re undertaking new and exciting things.
Transform your fears
A great way to live with your fears and make them work for you is to channel them into something empowering. Transform your negative, limiting beliefs into positive mantras that you repeat to yourself daily and your fears will change in your favor. This might be something as simple as starting to say “I can” instead of “I can’t”, or “yes, why not?” instead of “no, not me”.
Avoid letting fear shut you down
Whatever you do when you experience fear, I want you to take action and do whatever it takes to avoid shutting down. The simplest way to accomplish this, and get going again when fear hits you, is to sit with your fears and “do it anyway”. There’s no really easy way to do this, except through practice. Yet, by using fear as a trigger for this practice, you’ll diffuse it from the start and it will get easier.
Don’t let fear guide you
I’ll be the first to admit that fear is very powerful. If left alone and free to play games with your mind, fear will eventually lead you away from your dreams and desires, cloud your judgment, and drag you down. The first step to avoid this happening is recognizing your fears and knowing when they try to lead you. Being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions will help you to stand against fear, and not let it guide you.
Prevent fear from deciding for you
Fear is not only powerful, but it’s also very deceiving. If a fear stays with you for too long and you don’t challenge it enough, it will become part of your belief system. When that happens, fear starts to dictate your decisions and even give direction to your life, career, and business. Prevent fears from becoming familiar by habitually questioning your belief system and turning inwards. Doing this is essential to knowing what really makes you happy, and to giving your life the direction you really want.
By befriending fear and accepting it as a part of my life, I became a happier, more fulfilled, and also a much more productive person. And I believe that by befriending fear and overcoming the mental blocks which stop you from taking action, so can you.
And so, tell me, what is the number one thing that keeps you from taking action or seeing things through?