nutcracker
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We all have fears that hold us back.  Sometimes fear isn’t the obvious emotion but it is the core form of resistance.  For instance, some people might simply label themselves “risk averse” rather than fearful.  Others might say they just aren’t sure yet and want to wait until they have that “gut feeling”.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t evaluate risk or trust our instincts.  However, we need to be honest if we are withholding from an experience that we truly desire but are afraid to pursue.  So how do we defeat our fears?  Sometimes it’s as simple as reframing our view of a situation but it might take a different approach if reframing isn’t working.

There is no guaranteed formula that works for everyone and the time table can vary depending on the extent of your fear and what you attach to the outcome.  But what if it was easier to push past fear than we think?  What if it were simple?  Here are 3 Simple Steps for Crushing Fear:

1.  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

It is not possible to conquer a fear as long as you think it is dependent on someone or something else.  If you are afraid to speak in public because of an experience in high school speech class, you can’t expect to hold the inconsiderate members of your class responsible forever.  Instead, you can take responsibility for your role in the outcome and focus on the future.  Your other option is to let one past incident define your future.

2.  FOCUS ON THE “DOING”, NOT THE OUTCOME.

For me, focusing on the outcome is one common way to freeze me in my tracks.  I know there is a lot of evidence that supports visualizing the exact outcome you desire.  However, I can often build an amazing house in my head before I have laid one brick.  The thought of what it will take to reach my destination and all of the potential pitfalls along the way can shift my focus to the fear rather than the appealing final outcome.

Instead, I find that I benefit from just “doing”.  I am an active thinker and visualization is not a problem.  For me to build momentum, I need to take the first step.  Each step then provides the energy I need to carry a task to completion.  The small victories come unexpectedly and encourage me to enjoy the process, the learning and the growth.  Many “successful” endeavors have grown out of a “failed” attempt.  The willingness to explore can conquer the fear of imperfection.

3.  TAKE IT LIGHT

Another step for crushing your fear is to not take yourself so seriously.  Often the outcomes we build up in our head are far more exaggerated than reality.  We often feel that people are watching us so closely that the humiliation of our feared outcome will be overwhelming.  In reality, people are more forgiving of our process than we are and sometimes (and this should be comforting and humbling) they don’t even notice our perceived failures because they are more focused on their own lives.

You are only going to move past fear by taking it head-on.  Relax, understand that you can move forward and take the first step.  In the face of your fear, you can discover your power.  Now go believe in yourself!

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UF Anderson Bulletin Board Brick Wall
Creative Commons License photo credit: cdsessums

Here are 6 blog posts that are worth reading this week:

From the always insightful Zen Habits comes The Wastefulness of Decluttering; or How to Make Less Count for More

Kyle Lacy, the author of Twitter Marketing for Dummies, gets back to what really matters…A Beautiful Life

Great tips from Ramit at I Will Teach You To Be Rich on how to raise your hourly rate

The theme of family deserving our attention and representing the true beauty in our life continues over at Man vs Debt with Adam’s post Appreciate

This might not be the cup of tea of anyone reading this blog but I have to include this post.  It is a perfect example of building your business through generosity; give it away and people will value your expertise.  Explore the world of SEO with Rand Fish

In today’s world, solitude doesn’t happen by accident.  This is a wonderful primer on the topic called Solitude: Where Your Life is Waiting

This post is short, sweet and hopefully inspiring and useful.  I have been busy guest posting at Kyle Lacy’s blog and Zen Family Habits and look forward to adding more content soon.

Have an amazing weekend!  Are there any posts that you would like to pass along?  Please leave them in the comments.

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...afraid not.
Creative Commons License photo credit: IntangibleArts

What  Stuart Smalley and Audio Books Didn’t Teach Me About Affirmations

My introduction to affirmations came through Stuart Smalley.  Oddly enough, he was a character on Saturday Night Live portrayed by current United States Senator Al Franken.  Feel free to search YouTube for a video.  Although Stuart was clearly focused on twelve-step programs, the way he affirmed himself was through the phrase “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”.

Some of the skits featuring Smalley are really funny in a dark comedy sort of way.  In addition to a few laughs, the skits also provided me with the idea that people that had to tell themselves these sort of things were a little nuts.  If you look to audio books to solve this problem, you might be disappointed.

Now before anyone gets upset, I think affirmations can be very valuable.  I just don’t think they are always represented in ways that allow someone new to the concept to relate.  If you find an audio book on affirmations, you will probably be listening to a woman with a smoky voice and new age music in the background.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and some people find it very soothing.  For me, I find it hard not to laugh.

Now I might be one of those people that laughed in church or school too often so feel free to disregard my opinion.  I just do not relate to this as something that I can take as truth for my life just because someone else is saying it on my iPod.

So what are affirmations anyway & how can I use them?

An affirmation is simply the assertion that something exists or is true.  People use affirmations about themselves to reinforce or change their thinking.  If you research them, you will notice that people will often attribute spiritual or theological implications to them but I don’t think this is necessary.  Affirmations can be as complicated, mystical, spiritual or theological as you want to make them.

In order to simplify the understanding and use of affirmations, here is my 3-point minimalist guide to affirmations:

  1. An Affirmation Is Just A Thought: There is no need to get bogged down here with anything else.  An affirmation is merely an assertion that something exists or is true.  We all have thoughts about what exists or is true, correct?
  2. Since You Are Going To Have Thoughts, Make Them Work For You: The more active your mind and self-talk, the more important this point becomes.  Some people are wired with a very active mind and with many thoughts about who they are as a person.  For many different reason, these thoughts don’t always serve who we want to be.  For instance, imagine you have always been called “the shy one” and have never been comfortable meeting new people.  Now you want to change that trait.  Instead of thinking “I am shy”, wouldn’t it help you to begin thinking “I enjoy meeting new people and showing them the real me”?  You will get there eventually so let your thoughts help accelerate your progress.
  3. Repetition Aids Belief: A lifetime of being “the shy one” followed by meeting one new person or having one day of different beliefs about yourself will probably not create lasting change.  It’s a great start but not a complete overhaul.  Some people find it effective to repeat the affirmation out loud, write it down, record it and/or commit to using the affirmation for at least a fixed period of time.

Of course there is much more discussion to be had on affirmations but this is a minimalist guide!  Try it out and see what you think.  Oh, and if you are going to listen to recorded affirmations, you might want to record your own voice.

If you liked this post, you might also like 4 Reasons Why Questions Are Better Than Answers.

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How to Reinvent Your Career – Part 2

by Vince

The New Beginning
Herm Edwards, then head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, decided to give Daron a chance. He brought Daron into their internship program because of his passion. He figured anyone turning down the opportunities facing Daron in the legal profession to start over as a coach must have passion.

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How to Reinvent Your Career – Part 1

by Vince

I had the privilege of interviewing Daron Roberts, Assistant Secondary Coach of the Detroit Lions. Daron has an inspiring story on following your dream, not waiting for retirement to do something you love and giving back.

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Serene Journey: How to Change Your Life

by Vince

I have tossed around the idea of linking to other posts that I find useful.  I don’t think I will post a cool picture because I want it to be obvious that this will link you to the work of someone else. This post by Sherri at Serene Journey is wonderful, yet simple, advice on [...]

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7 Interesting Blogs About Money

by Vince

For those of you that have no issues with or interest in money, “Congratulations!” this post is not for you. The four of you should form some sort of support group. I’m kidding and I want to make it clear that this is not a philosophical post about money. This is a list of blogs that have an interesting take on personal finance, debt, retirement, spending, etc… There should be something here for everyone (except the four of you mentioned above). Let’s get started

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Do you have a good filter?

by Vince

“Have you gained some weight recently?” Everyone can think of the guy in their life that is most likely to ask that question. The guy that talks about how much money he is making in front of a friend that just lost his job. Or says things in front of kids that make you wonder if he even knows they are present. That guy does not have a good filter.

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How to Change Your View of Any Situation

by Vince

Have you ever wished that you could view a situation differently? I am always inspired by people who seem to find the silver lining in any situation, even before there is any evidence that there might actually be one.

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Ten Quotes to Inspire You on Your Path to Reinvention

by Vince

If you are in the midst of changing something about your life, you quickly realize that the easiest path is to fall back to the norm. The process of reinvention can be difficult and take a lot of effort to form new patterns. Sometimes the risk seems too great or the reward too small even though we know that achieving this change moves us closer to what we truly desire.

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