Do you focus your energy, efforts and goals on what you want to achieve or what you want to avoid? If your goals are motivated by fear, then you may be making decisions based on factors that aren’t even real.
Although we want to better our lives and achieve more both personally and professionally, many of our decisions are governed by fear. Sure, we want to prevent unwanted situations from occurring. The irony is, when we set goals or make decisions hoping to avoiding situations that we don’t want to happen, we’re often making decisions about future events that are not even real!
Granted, the feeling of fear is very real and I’m not disputing that. Fear is another feeling or emotion; like happy, angry, excited or sad. These feelings often trigger a physiological reaction, (perspiration, elevated heart rate, etc.) which reinforces our belief that fear is also real.
However, there are actually two parts that make up the experience of fear. If one component is the feeling of fear, the other part of fear is the very thing you actually fear or worry about.
Unfortunately, most people collapse what they fear and the feeling of fear together, without distinguishing between these two parts. As such, we have a tendency to resist fear, perceive it as a threat or a weakness and make it our adversary, rather than embracing fear as our greatest teacher.
Here’s the typical process. You look at past problems, negative experiences or failures and assume they will happen again. (“The last time I tried that/spoke to that person/delegated that task it was a disaster. So, why put myself in that situation again?”) Consequently, you make decisions with the intention of avoiding what you believe would happen in the worst case scenario. The real cost here is, you wind up basing your decisions on assumptions (it will happen again) rather than facts. You’re also directing your energy into avoiding something you don’t want to happen, instead of focusing your energy and efforts on evaluating your processes and approach so that you can achieve what you really want.
You’re familiar with the three points in time: the past, the present and the future. Think about where your greatest fears live? That which you fear is the negative expectation or assumption of what you don’t want to happen in the future and is never happening in the present. Even if the future is in two minutes, two days or two months, it’s still the future. The good news is, since that which you fear lives in the future (“I’m not going to make my quota!”), you can defuse the fear and make better decisions by bringing yourself back into the present moment. Then fear loses its powerful grip on you.
If we are pushed to avoid consequences or what we don’t want to happen, conversely we are pulled towards what we do want; pleasure. Since fear is the negative assumption of the outcome, try shifting your focus to the positive outcome or what you do want to create, instead of what you’re trying to avoid.
The key point here is, your fears are just as “real” as your dreams! But as long as you give more power to your fears rather than your dreams and goals, your fears will always seem as if they are more of a reality and in turn, will get the better of you. Think about it for a moment. They are both visions and pictures of a future that you have constructed or visualized in your mind’s eye. Both your fears and dreams are created using the same tool; your imagination!
The real danger is, if you’re really clear with what you don’t want and don’t focus on what you do want, then where do you think you’re going to continually direct your thoughts and energy? Your goals and dreams don’t even stand a chance!
Empower your dreams and goals, rather than your fears to be the driving force that moves you forward. Once you do, you’ll be able to make choices based on what you want to create, instead of what you want to avoid so that you can achieve what you want most.