4 Questions to Spark Action & Decisions in the Face of Fear.
It’s said that People hugely over-estimate what they can achieve in one year, and hugely underestimate what they can do in 5. I believe this to be absolutely true. I have seen it.
I also believe that many of us don’t even dare consider where our potential for 5, 10, and 15 years ahead may lie, out of fear of not having it - to imagine it not working out, or worse, failing - is too much to handle. So we simply keep our thinking myopic - to this day, on this problem, and where it feels a little “safe” in order to guarantee a static level of controlled happiness.
Ships are safe in the harbour, but that's not what ships are made for.
I know this thinking to be true - because this is the conversations I have, in the very early stages, with almost every single person I work with during The Breakthrough. It’s OK. You’re not alone in this.
“Who am I to think I could possibly do such a thing, even though it lights me up from my core?”
“Do I really have permission to just say yes to myself like that?”
“Am I being totally narcissistic and selfish to think I deserve this?”
“If I fail, it will hurt so badly. I don’t think I could bare the pain of it. Should I even bother attempting?”
It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy then isn’t it.
Thinking about something, wanting it so badly you feel fear at not having it, which is enough justification to not even start, or, to add to the never-ending list of “totally logical” reasons why it will never work - like finances, family, and simply not being good enough in a myriad of ways - and once again winding up after another year right back where you started, living the parallel life on the sidelines - wishing you had the courage to take the leap, but feeling comfortably numb in security-ville. I do not want this for you.
How long can this cycle honestly go on for?
I’m sorry to be the bearer of this disappointing, and harsh truth - but the answer is, forever. Forever - if you don’t do something different - and slightly scary, uncomfortable and exciting. In these situations - where we recognise the static pattern repeating itself, I like to ask myself these 4 questions in the face of Fear.
These form a theory of thought that allows you to think out the consequences of situations playing out, in a smart, logical and all-encompassing way. It’s called Cartesian Logic. And it’s a brain scrambler at first, but it really works.
I invite you to pay attention to how the answers to these questions make you feel as you come up with them. Write them down, and give some space to everything that comes to mind. Write it down.
Cartesian Logic for Busting Fear and Making decisions:
What would happen if I Did?
What would happen if I did totally go all in, and go for it? And the scary one, What would happen if I did fail? (often not as scary to answer this one, as the thought of not answering it)
What would happen if I Didn’t?
What would happen if I didn’t fail?
What would happen if I didn’t go for it?
What Wouldn't happen if I Did?
What would not happen to my life if I go for It?
What would not happen in my life if I fail?
What Wouldn’t happen if I Didn’t?
What wouldn’t happen in my life if I never go for this?
What would not happen in my life if I do not fail?
What you will almost certainly find are these 3 things:
Failing, realistically, even in the worst of situations, does not always equal death, or anything near as bad. Most of the time, it’s recoverable, and still worth it.
The consequences at the end of your life of not going for things that are true to you, are far worse than the consequences of trying and failing (especially on your spirit).
You will feel happy and satisfied at having given yourself the space to fully consider your fears.
Give it a try for yourself! Whip out your journal, think about what lights you up the most, and yet you are most afraid of, and answer these questions (I know this is a bold request - but we are all about laser sharp clarity and running towards your fears here - answering a few questions can be scary and enlightening at the same time). And who knows! You may just get that little piece of clarity you need.
Once you’re done, I’d love for you to share your experience with me. Leave me a comment below, stating One “aha” you learnt from doing this exercise, or even simply reading the questions. And then, take one small action. Pick up a pen, the phone, or get on google and get the wheels rolling.
There’s nothing to lose.