An anonymous client once said: “If I succeed, it will cut into my sitting around time.” She was just kidding, but underneath the humor, she was terrified. Fear of the unknown may cause people to stay stuck in the same situation. Maybe you are considering a new job, or would love to start your own business. Perhaps you are stuck in some other life situation that you need to change. You know you want to go in a new direction but your thoughts may set you up for sabotage. There is a tendency to remain with the known rather than venture out on a new road. There is fear of getting lost. It is easier to complain about how bad things are than to make changes.
Some people fear success. If they move out of their comfort zone, they may have to be uncomfortable. In order to face your fears, you will need to look at
your feelings about your situation, and beliefs about yourself. It is important to pay attention to your thoughts. Fear is a natural part of life. Fear occurs when we are threatened. The amygdala — a small almond-shaped part of the brain in the limbic system — plays a key role in scanning for threats and, if it finds one, pushes us into “fight or flight” mode where our bodies become flooded with adrenaline.
Understanding the threat or fear response can help when you are trying to make the decision about what to do next.
Pay attention to your thoughts. Take your time before running away from your fears. Something as simple as paying “mindful attention” can help develop integrative fibers in the brain, which increases focus, and the ability to understand fearful thoughts. When information is not processed and integrated, it often continues to nag us as some vague fear. The brain will shift into gear when it is engaged in mindful attention. Try this experiment: Ask yourself what thoughts keep you fearful and how can you change this thinking
What thoughts keep me fearful/ keep me from making this change?
For example, you are thinking of starting your own business and you have young children:
Would you say? “The children are going to suffer or I do not have a support system.”
How can I change the thinking? Imagine you are an actor standing at the top of the stairs looking down at a rehearsal of the play called “My Life.” You see yourself acting out the scene. You see your children having fun meeting other children, and playing while you work. You see a business plan that works with the growth phases of the children; within the time frame that gives you balance. When the business has problems, you take charge knowing you have a support system.
Can you now see what is holding you back? It is time to tackle this fear. Focus on changing your thinking to take charge of your life.
© 2016, Carol-Anne Minski, PhD.