FACE YOUR FEARS

How do you know when life tells you it’s time to face your fears?

Several years ago I started coaching a man who was tired of working in the corporate world. At our first session Carl (not his real name) told me about a business that he had always wanted to own, but he dismissed that idea by saying, “There is no money in it”. Not long after we started working together, Carl was offered a well-paying position in the corporate world which he accepted.

Carl continued to work with me on and off over the years and made progress in his personal life and he improved his management skills, but he still wasn’t really happy in his job and didn’t know what he wanted to do. It took another change of job, which precipitated a midlife crisis before Carl finally listened to his heart.

Carl has now invested his life savings in the dream he told me about at our first session. He doubts that he will make as much money from this venture as he did as a corporate executive, but he’s chosen lifestyle and personal satisfaction over money. I personally think he has such great ideas, skills and such passion that he may surprise himself, but time will tell. When I caught up with a very excited Carl he said, “What always held me back before was fear. I simply wasn’t ready to face it.”

I hear a lot of reasons as to why people can’t have what they want ranging from: confusion, lack of money, lack of support, no skills, insufficient time, not intelligent enough, and not good enough. These are only the outer manifestation of fear. Problems, confusion or dissatisfaction, are mirrors which show you the fears you have yet to face.

Some people think that they are facing their fears, and have gone after their dream, but it didn’t work out and they settled. The reality is often that it was easier to give up than to face their real fear.

When I started my life coaching business I knew I had found my passion so I made a commitment to myself to do this work regardless of whether I made a living from it or not. I was prepared to get a day job that paid the bills and coach in my own time if I needed to, and there were times when I did just that. There have been times when my business has flowed and times when it’s been tough, but one of the things that I love about myself is that I never, ever give up. If it feels right, and I love what I am doing, I look at what I have to learn from the situation and then I address the fear.

Face Your Fears

The gifts that comes from facing your fears are freedom and joy. Freedom to live life on your terms, to be yourself, and joy that makes waking up each day worthwhile. There are too many people who just get by, don’t be one of them. The only thing that stands between you and the life you were born to live is fear. When you face the fear, accept responsibility and take steps to turn your dream into reality the people, money and resources come into your life to support you to turn that dream into reality.

It’s been a few years now since Carl started his business and business is booming. He said he is happier now that he has ever been.

WHAT ARE YOU RESISTING?

Most people know that Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin group of companies, is a self-made billionaire, but did you know that he has never worked in an office building? Richard works from his home and much of his work is done from a hammock. He is a perfect example of a person who knows what makes him happy and who takes responsibility for meeting his own needs.

What separates successful people from others who never quite achieve their dreams is their ability to focus on what they want. One of the best ways to do this is to not focus on problems. Oprah says, “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find different ways to stand”.

Establish the habit of accepting what is. This does not mean that you cease being proactive and working towards the outcome you really want.  It simply means that you place your attention on what you want, rather than limitations.

What are You Resisting?

The most common things people resist are: being unemployed, unfairness, having no money, being in debt, losing everything, losing face, not having what they want, their partner’s habits, conflict, not having enough time. What we resist makes us poor. There are many people who are time poor, friends poor, love poor or support poor. Poverty in any form results from the judgements we make about what is. Any time you make a judgement about another person, yourself or a situation you are resisting what is.

If you want to live a relaxed prosperous life always focus on what you want to create, rather than the things that irritate you.

LEARNING TO TRUST

In 1979 Denis Waitley was on his way to a speaking engagement and was booked on a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles.  He arrived at the airport late and had to run for the flight.  He arrived in the departure lounge just as they locked the door to the plane.  Denis argued, begged and pleaded to be allowed on that flight as it was the only one that could get him to his engagement in time.  Despite his protests he wasn’t allowed on board and he stomped back to the ticket counter to register a complaint.

While standing in line 20 minutes later, Denis heard that the plane had crashed on take-off and there were no survivors.  Denis keeps that unvalidated plane ticket on a bulletin board in his home office.  Whenever he gets annoyed he looks at that ticket and remembers how grateful he is just to be alive, it was a vital lesson for him in learning to trust.

Taking action towards your most important goals on a regular basis indicates trust.  Remember this, trusting is rarely about taking one step, it’s about taking one step after another.  If you visualise, meditate or pray, do so repeatedly.  I’m not a fan of please, please, please type of prayer, I prefer to ask once and then say ‘thank you’ in advance as if I already have what I’ve asked for.  Visualise yourself as having achieved the goal just before going into a meditation and give thanks as if it is already a reality.

Learning to Trust

Action can include researching, learning, seeking advice, planning, clearing out and making way for the new, and creating a space for what you want in terms of time.  When you do this your attention automatically shifts towards the goal and away from the fear of not achieving the goal.

I often say, action comes first—feeling follows.  This is trust in action.  You need to act as if you trust before you can become a trusting person.

The Seduction Of Security

At one time I worked as an accountant for a major publishing company and I thought I’d found my dream job.  I loved books. I liked the people I worked with. I met some interesting authors. After being self-employed for several years it was nice to have the security of a regular income.  But before long I realised that the work I was doing was so boring I started dreading going to work.

Talking to my family one night I said, ‘I think I’m going to resign’.  My security conscious dad begged me to reconsider.  Dad said, ‘But Anne you’re an accountant!’  My dad had a very valid point as such jobs weren’t always easy to get without formal qualifications.  I knew I did the job well, I was valued, my job was secure and there was the potential to move up within the company.  I also knew that I couldn’t do this work long term because it was soul destroying.  I needed a creative outlet and I needed to work with people.  So I resigned and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted.

Two years later I was offered the position of starting and managing The Financial Woman, a financial planning business for women.  That job changed my life. It suited my essential nature. It launched my writing and speaking career. It set the foundation for the work I do today.  Eight years after I resigned, my first book was published by the very company I once worked for.

Although I like security it is nowhere near as important to me as it is to some people.  Recently one of my daughters said to me, ‘I’m worried that if I don’t leave this job soon I am going to get locked into a career and lifestyle I don’t really want.’  My daughter has been very successful, after just a few years of working she was offered the role of setting up and managing a large medical specialist centre.  She enjoyed the job and liked the people she worked with but her passion is writing.  She eventually left that job to travel the world, a decision she now says is one of the best she has ever made.

The Seduction of Security

Most people start their adult life with so many hopes and dreams and within the span of ten years so many settle for less than they really want. They get trapped by security, financial obligations and the expectations of others until they become so locked in they feel they have no other choice.

Ignoring the call of your heart can lead to confusion or a midlife crisis.  Driven by the need to find a better way to live some seek the services of a life coach, or look for the answers in books.  If you are willing and open you can rewrite the story of your life.

Look at your life as it is today and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you get more enjoyment from a leisure activity than you do from your job?
  • Do you feel as if something is missing no matter how successful you are?
  • Are your weekends the highlight of your week?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it’s time to let go of the illusion of security and reassess your life.  I’m not suggesting you throw in your job or do anything reckless, just take time to reassess. Be open to finding a way even where there appears to be no way. Ask for help. Hire a life coach.  It’s scary to step out of your comfort zone and follow your heart, but the joy that comes from being true to yourself makes the journey so worthwhile.

Live Your Life Like a Prayer

At one time, when I was living with chronic pain from arthritis, life was very challenging. I’d had one joint replaced, needed three others replaced, and still the arthritis continued to move through all of my body. I had gone the medical route, the alternative energy healing route, and the diet route, all without much success. I knew I could be defeated by pain and allow it to determine how I live my life, or, I could be cheerful and do the best I can. I chose to be cheerful.

I know that whenever I accept 100% responsibility for my life miracles happen.  I know some people feel that they just need to ask for what they want, then hand it over to God, and there are times when you have no other choice but to do this.  However, most of the time you need to do your bit as well.

For many people problems are the focal point of all of their conversations.  If you want your life to change, you need to give up your story.  Some people think they are positive, yet they share their story at every opportunity.  They will tell you why their marriage broke down. How they lost or hate their job. About their struggles with money.  They put labels upon themselves such as describing themselves as divorced, or a single parent.

There is a fable about a monk who hands a man a cup and starts to pour tea into it.  When the cup is full the monk keeps pouring until the tea spills onto the floor and soaks the man’s feet.  When the man asks the monk what he is doing the monk replies, ‘This cup is just like your mind.  It is filled with so many thoughts that there is no room for anything else.  You need to empty your mind first before you can put more into it.’

Live Your Life Like a Prayer

Telling your story is a habit. When you want to change a habit you need to have another habit to replace it with.  So you need to be willing to shift your thoughts and words onto what you want to create, that could be a loving relationship, your ideal work, or freedom from money worries.  You need to place reminders around you of what is most important, a journal or vision board can serve this purpose. Or, you could listen to inspirational audios while you drive or read motivational books.

Words have power.  Your thoughts and words influence how you feel. They can uplift or hurt another. They can inspire. Create positive change. Or, they can damage. The throwaway remark that you make without consciously thinking about it can make life harder for you.

David Hawkins says, ‘Live your life like a prayer’. You do that by accepting 100% responsibility for where you place your attention. Be grateful for the blessings you have. Ask for help. Give as much as you can. Become someone you admire.

Since I have started living my life like a prayer my arthritis has improved. It hasn’t gone completely yet but I no longer live with chronic pain and I am much more active, and for that I am grateful.

There is no formula that will protect you from adversity, but the above formula ensures you can lead a full, meaningful life regardless of what happens to you. 

Have You Downsized Your Dreams?

At one time I had an amazing holiday in America where I visited New England, a region I had wanted to visit for many years. Seeing the fall leaves in New Hampshire, the beautiful houses in Maine, the sheer beauty of Martha’s Vineyard as well as the magic of New York reminded me that I had downsized my dreams.

The first time I became aware that I had a tendency to downsize my dreams occurred when I visited Hearst Castle in San Simeon, which is located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. At that time I was just getting back on my feet after a difficult financial period and I hadn’t realised how much I had stopped being honest with myself about what I really wanted. Hearst Castle itself is rather dark and dreary, but the palazzo in front of the castle is a different story. It is magnificent.

When I sat there enjoying all the beauty around me I said to myself, “I am thinking way too small”. I came home from that trip, prepared my house for sale, and as often happens when we prepare for what we want, I saw an ad for a house in the suburb that I really wanted to live that was within my means. I had thought living in that suburb was out of reach, so I never looked.  If I had continued thinking small I would never have looked and recognised the opportunity. Moving into the area I really wanted to live was just the start.  Soon after my business took off. My book became a best seller. My whole life improved because I acted as if I believed I could have what I really wanted.

Have You Downsized Your Dreams?

When I worked as a financial planner I met many people who came into money unexpectedly, and so many of these people made poor choices and lost that money within a short period of time. Statistics back this up as four out of five lotteries winners revert to their original state within five years.

Within each of us is a very detailed picture of the person that we think we are. This image encompasses our appearance, skills, wealth, intelligence, and sets our comfort zone. This picture is only how we perceive ourselves. It may not necessarily be true but we make it true by our actions. Our perception results from decisions we made and then consistently acted upon. We change our perception – you could say downnsized your dreams – and allow more into our life in the same way.

Make the new decision that you can have what you want, then support that decision with all of your choices.

When you work and socialise with the same people, live in the same area and holiday in the same place time and time again it’s only natural that you start to believe that is all you can have. Do things differently. Holiday in a different place, take regular weekends away to places you’ve never been. Contact an old friend you have lost touch with. Start acting as if you can have what you want now. Dress up, set the table nicely, pick flowers for the house, redo or replace one piece of furniture or one corner of a room at a time. Change one small thing about your appearance.

Making one small change will make you feel good in the short term but it won’t do much to change your perception over the longer term. However, by adding more into your life on a regular basis you start to believe you can have what you really want.

Put how you are going to achieve your dreams aside and focus on how you will feel once you have what you want. Choose it, then support that choice with your thoughts, words and actions daily. Then watch the miracle occur.