Does intellectual gridlock keep you from moving forward? Do you mentally talk yourself out of the things you want to do the most because you don’t know where to start or you’re afraid the results won’t be that great?
If you answered yes to the above, you’re not alone. Inertia, fear, and the possibility of less than stellar results are common barriers that stop us from doing what we want and keep us stuck where we’re at.
So, how do we get past these barriers and move forward?
The first step is actually acknowledging and feeling the fear. New things are scary, putting yourself out there is scary, and committing to a new project is scary. Take a moment and ask yourself what are you actually afraid of? Are you afraid of success, failure, or the attention that could result from either of those outcomes? After you identify that, feel the fear in your body. Feel your stomach knot, your shoulders hunch up, your brow furrow. You might even feel yourself shrink down in your chair. Feeling is the first step in owning the fear and moving through it.
Next, take action anyway. That might be hard to do, but take a moment and see yourself doing what you want to do and notice how your body changes. Do you feel lighter or more relaxed? Do you find yourself sitting taller because that weight of fear has been lifted from your shoulders and replaced with the joy of achievement? Do you feel that joy in your belly and your heart?
The law of inertia plays greatly into taking action and overcoming fear. We’ve all heard it – an object at rest stays at rest while an object in motion stays in motion. If we start moving when we feel the most resistance, things fall into place.
I was in a training session with my business coach and she suggested coming up with our next signature program. It was a daunting task; a signature program meant me coming up with my best possible offering. To do that, I would need a solid day of uninterrupted time to work on it and put it all together, plus another few weeks of tweaking and perfecting. She gave us some time there in the room to get started, so I began noting some ideas. Ten minutes later, my program was on paper and I began offering it the next week. It only happened because I started to physically take action!
Another ingredient to getting over your fears and doing it anyway is to befriend imperfection. Do your best, know it’s not going to be perfect, and be ok with people seeing that. If you’re having a hard time imagining that, read through this list of 50 people who failed time and time again and still changed the world:
We learn 1,000 times more from doing than from obsessing over getting everything right. You’ll start out ok, mediocre, or bad because that’s where everyone starts. Embrace it. If you want to sing, sing in your shower or to your beloved pet. If you want to speak in front of a group, practice out loud and give it your best. Sitting at your computer and crafting every word to perfection doesn’t make you a good speaker. Imagine how dark the night would be if Edison had given up (or never started). How would music today sound if the Beatle’s had taken to heart the words of their critics?
Be accountable and share your dreams and goals with someone you trust. In a lot of realms (sports, business, personal goals), this could be a coach. Accountability might mean setting a date for that thing you’ve been putting off. Book your next speech, reserve the venue for the workshop you’re going to lead (and tell people about it), or set the date for your new program and stick to it. Nothing lights the fire like getting it on the calendar and having someone to answer to.
Finally, keep at it. Your first few times doing anything are a learning experience and you probably won’t knock it out of the park. Approach them as such, learn from what worked and what didn’t, and get back on the horse.
These are easy concepts to intellectually understand. Getting beyond the intellectual and moving to an embodied, physical approach can clear the way to getting over these hurdles. Feel the fear, get moving to combat inertia, embrace imperfection and practice your speech out loud, be accountable, and pick up the phone and call to schedule your next workshop. Getting out of our heads and into our bodies creates power and knowledge. Repeatedly doing gives us cellular knowledge (remember the last post on intellectual vs. cellular knowledge) and things get easier each time.
Here’s to reducing intellectual gridlock and moving forward! Write a comment or drop me a note and let me know how this post helps you to start doing the things you want or share a tip about a strategy you used to overcome your own fears!
Until the next time,