“The best cure for fear and indecision is action. Even if it’s a slightly wrong direction it’s easier to correct and move on if we’re already in motion than if sitting still.” – Dan Miller
Remember back in high school when you wanted to ask that special someone on a date, but fear crept into your mind. “What if she says ‘no’ and humiliates me by telling everyone at school? Life will be over!” For a while, I really wanted to ask out this beautiful girl who, might I add, was way out of my league. She was way too pretty for a guy like me, and so I let fear keep me from picking up the phone.
During the second half of my senior year, we had a military ball scheduled for those in NJROTC. I had already decided not to attend, but my instructor kept encouraging me to ask a “young lady” to go. I thought about it, considered it, and analyzed every aspect of his suggestion. While sitting in my living room one afternoon, staring at the phone for what seemed like hours, I finally picked it up and started to dial the number, but put it back down again. “Should I go through with this?” Finally, I mustered enough courage and dialed her number. When the answering machine picked up, I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew!
A few minutes later, the phone rang. It was her! My hand was forced. She had seen my number on caller ID! My hand shaking and palms sweaty, I don’t even know what I uttered…something about going to a dance. She immediately said, “Yes!” I couldn’t believe it. It was that easy?! Why hadn’t I just taken a step beyond my comfort zone months prior?! Four years later, that beautiful girl would become my wife.
Most of us feel a yearning to make changes somewhere in our lives. What prevents us from going beyond our comfort level and achieving success? When we consider pursuing something outside of our normal way of doing things – a new business, building a new friendship, developing a new interest, or sharing our creative abilities with the world – our fearful brain kicks into high gear. It convinces us that we’re not worthy enough, not smart enough, not cool enough, not wealthy enough, or not talented enough. We constantly feed our brains with negative thoughts, which are quite powerful and prevent us from taking action on our ideas. They keep us locked into the status quo, stuck in mediocrity.
To go beyond our comfort levels, we must:
1. Change our thought process. Many of us are great at constantly replaying the DVDs of negative events and words, allowing for 24/7 viewing in our minds. Begin to take a few moments each day to recall the positive occurrences and small victories and refuse to dwell on the negative.
2. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Take action on a dream or goal. Quit sitting around thinking up all the reasons an idea won’t work and try something new. What’s the worst that could happen? Failure? A bruised ego?
3. In pursuit of a goal, we will encounter times in which our comfort level is challenged. Instead of cowering in fear and analyzing the situation to death, take action.
4. When struggles arrive, as they inevitably will, persevere. Most people give up pursuit of a new endeavor at the initial sign of difficulty. By persevering, we can separate ourselves from most people who succumb to negative self-talk.