The fastest way to move past fear.
How a 5-year old, halloween candy and a dark hallway reminded me just how powerful fear is, and the fastest way to move past it.
Last night I told my five-year-old son to put on his PJs three times, but he kept playing around instead. When I asked why he hadn’t listened, he said he was scared of the dark! About 12 inches from him was help: The light switch for the hallway was within arm’s reach. I pointed that out and told him if he turned it on and walked down the hallway on his own, I’d give him two additional pieces of Halloween candy. But he was too scared to take even one step into the dark hallway to reach the light switch and turn it on. So, I turned it on… and down the hallway he went. I couldn’t help but think of this as a metaphor for any type of support, coaching included.
We spend mega amounts of personal energy delaying action and pay the consequences, often knowingly, all because we’re too scared/proud to take a step into the dark and reach for the light switch. We miss out on falling in love, landing a new job, being physically fit, enjoying a comfortable retirement, and the list goes on … all because we’re too afraid of that first step into the darkness to get past what’s holding us back from what we want.
What’s interesting is that my son used to walk down the dark hallway, no problem, up until age three. Then being scared of the dark became a thing. Was this fear based on experiences of monsters jumping out at him when he walked down the dark hallway? No. The fear has been created in his mind. What stories are you creating in your mind that are keeping you from moving forward? Are they even true?
Fear is tricky. Lack of trying is lack of courage. But once you get the guts to walk down the dark hallway, you realize that there’s no monster after all. Then in the next dark hallway, the next time you’re scared, you can take that step more easily. People who are more risk-tolerant have this a bit easier. They’re born willing to take that first step. For the rest of us, it’s a skill, something you learn by action and experience.
You will only be able to break free of fear by changing your actions — by taking the step. The good news is that we don’t have to take that first step alone.
There is a “light switch” for whatever is keeping you from living a purposeful, joy-filled life. Mentors, coaches, therapists, rehabs, financial advisors … whatever’s holding you back, there are professionally trained people who want to help you get past it. Access them, let them guide you through something you haven’t yet experienced. These industries didn’t become multibillion-dollar industries because only a few people needed their service. Lots of folks do.
It’s been fun to go to mixers and networking events over the last few months and share what I’m up to with Collective Gain. When people find out I connect people with coaches, nine times out of ten they ask for my business card: “Oh nice, I could use one of those!” How often do they actually follow up? Rarely. Why? Because they’re waiting. Waiting for someone to turn on the light switch for them. Ignoring the cost they’re paying for not moving forward, or worse, convincing themselves they don’t deserve those extra two pieces of candy, anyway.
Since your mom isn’t standing next to you doing the scary stuff for you, you’ve gotta do it for yourself. Decide you’re done procrastinating, trust the fear will go away once you take the step. Flip. The. Switch. Then move down the damn hallway with a swagger: “Ain’t nothing stopping me now!”
I’ve never heard anyone say that life went by waaaaay too slowly. So do whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do NOW by getting support. Why get support? Because you haven’t walked down the proverbial hallway yet. If it was easy for you to do on your own, you would have already done it.
If you’re thinking, “No, I can do it on my own. I mean, come on, it’s not that hard, I know what to do. I haven’t even tried.” Yes, you likely do know what to do. And your lack of trying is fear keeping you from moving forward — or else you would have done it a long time ago! If you haven’t taken action, even though you know what you should be going, that’s all the more reason to get help. Something else is going on, something you’re not aware of, that will continue to hold you hostage in your own life until you get it cleared.
The good news? You can experience results relatively quickly. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that I hired my coach in January of this year — and by June I had started a new company that was aligned with my purpose and passion. It was that fast for me. It may be faster for you, if you start now. And let go of judgment about why you haven’t been able to do this on your own. Who cares? Oh yeah, you do. Because you’ll be the only one paying the consequences.
Find the light switch in the hallway you want to go down — weight, career, relationships, money — and turn on the light to help you see the way. Coaching can help in all of these categories, but choose the support that feels right to you.
The point is decide, now, that in these last two months of 2017 you will choose better. You will move toward the light. You will get support for what you haven’t been able to do on our own so that this next year, you’ll be unstoppable.
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If you’ve enjoyed this story, you’ll likely love my soul-inspired articles around how to find your way. Stay updated with my latest adventures and aha moments in the world of self-improvement and follow Collective Gain to join a community of people searching for better.