I thought that everything already started and was afraid to enter the gym. I was signed up for an after-school basketball group. When I came for my first session, I was standing in front of the door to the sport hall and listening to the sounds of kicked balls and thought that the lesson had already started and did not dare to open the door/ The next time I came earlier and the next-next time I came even earlier than before, but the noise behind the door was the same and I did not open the door.
So if you are reading a book like ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’ by Susan Jeffers and you are thinking why someone will write such obvious things like ‘do not be afraid to do something’, just remember it is written for people like me. The ones who cannot open the door.
When I was reading this book, I recognized my troubles and I felt a bit more relieved because I learned that I am not the only one. In order not to forget the things that I have learned I wrote down three lessons for myself. I want to apply them in my life and then look back and see what is the result. The book was translated to thirty-five languages including Russian, so I think that means that there people who might need it as well. So I am sharing them and please share your fears in the comments. What are you afraid of?
Lesson 1. Stop the Chatterbox in your head
The Chatterbox is the constant inner voices that comment on your actions, environment, choices. Your every move is being commented on by negative thoughts. For example: “if I will take this job I will be regretting it because I might not be able to perform. If I will not take it, I will regret that I did not take. If I take it other people will think I do not deserve it.” My entire life I am leaving with this voice and I honestly thought that this voice is actually me. According to the book, it appeared that this is not a mandatory part of my life and it is possible to get rid of the voice. Or actually, transform it in the voice of a loving friend. There are several exercises in the book that are supposed to help to get over this situation.
- Affirmations: probably everyone knows what it is. But just in case: you work up in the morning with a thought “Again. Again I have to get up to go to work so early” and instead you should think “It’s cool! I have the whole day in front of me full of new and interesting stuff. I will handle everything it gives me”. It is suggested to write affirmations on the cards and hang them around the house. I am not going to do it as I am not leaving alone, but I will probably put one at my desk and will change it every day. (I even tried to find them on sale online, but did not manage to do it so quick).
- Pollyanna and the Glad Game: means trying to look at all events and see something good in them. Pollyanna is a character from a book who was always seeing positive things in her life events. The coffee was dropped on the carpet, good thing let’s change the carpet for a nicer one
As a result, you should a loving voice instead of the Chatterbox. The was an interesting point mentioned in the book: once you will handle the chatterbox, you will start enjoying being alone.
Lesson 2: learn to take decisions
When I have to take a decision and I look at possible options, each option looks not good enough, in every option I see disadvantages. We look at possibilities and try to predict where they lead us to, but we can never know it. Each time after taking the decision I start to regret and think that if I would choose another option, it would be better.
The book focuses on adjusting your thoughts to realizing that each chosen decision opens a new set of opportunities. The author offers to use five steps before the decision is taken and three after the decision is taken.
Before: focus on the two options, learn more about them, discuss with other people, look inside you and define your priorities, trust your intuition. And the last point ‘lighten up’, do not take everything too serious. Life is a university, we are studying. Every mistake can be corrected.
Lesson 3: take responsibility for your life
The author tries to encourage to take control of our lives using several steps (Seven Ways to Reclaim Your Power):
- Do not transfer the responsibility for your condition outside
- Do not blame yourself
- Realize when you start to play a victim
- Stop the Chatterbox
- Realize which bonuses lead you to adhere to victim behavior. What are you getting in the situation?
- Define what you want in life and start acting (ha-ha, really?)
- Remember that each moment of time you have different possibilities to react and you are making your own choice.
Did she write anything radically new about fear? Not sure. But for those who cannot open the door, the book is definitely useful. Did I join finally the class on basketball? Yes. At some day they were someone else who came there when I was standing in front of the door and I did enter. Everyone in the sports hall was busy with themselves, no one was staring at me when I came in.