I recently spoke with Aggregator of Awesomeness, Lauren Rinkey, about her 180s and she had a lot to say about the fear that surrounds making a big change. It's human nature to fear change, but Lauren shares ways to make the process easier.
Lauren Rinkey's 7 Ways to Push Through Fear
1) Get yourself into the presence through a regular meditation practice
I always tell people that by far and away the most profound result of my meditation practice has been the ability to deal with uncertainty. I definitely was not always like this. I've always taken the road less travelled to a degree (meaning nothing crazy, but always a bit of different path than my family/friends/colleagues/etc), but I definitely used to fear change more so than I do now. I can confidently say this is a result of learning TM. I'm not sure the exact science behind this, but it is a wonder drug. I truly believe meditation is one of the best forms of medication -- especially in terms of managing fear and anxiety -- and combating the daily stressors of our crazy modern lives (all of the "noise" -- technology, societal "norms", pressure for success, etc). Also, I think it's effect of putting me in the present -- the "now" -- is crucial to pushing through fear. I spent a good portion of my life dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Not to say I'm immune to that now, but it happens much less frequently; I connect that to a combination of things, but meditation is certainly a vital component to living with presence.
2) Find a mantra that speaks to you
I have a mantra that I find myself stating quite often -- so I'm not sure what that says about me, but I think it applies to all aspects of life, and is central to going through change: "Short Term Pain For Long Term Gain." Often times, the decisions we make for ourselves do not provide us with immediate reward (i.e. leaving a job, ending a relationship, achieving fitness goals, etc). However, if we are able to look at the bigger picture and remind ourselves that there's a larger purpose / bigger peak behind the shitty stuff / bumps in the road, it makes things much more tolerable.
3) Reframe the way you look at fear
"When I change the way I look at things, the things I look at begin to change." -Wayne Dwyer
Even when fear is present, I've learned how to reframe fear. I don't see fear as an all-encompassing bad thing. I think having fear means your are alive, you are passionate, and you care about something enough to let it affect you. Fear can be bad, if you let it be. I used to ruminate over the most senseless things. Like a lot. To the point of exhaustion. I've learned through the years that this gets you no where good fast. I've learned that fearing does not control the end result. So I can easily waste precious time and energy on fearing something that may never actually happen. Totally senseless. I've also learned time and time again that the results of what I'm fearing generally end up being way less harsh than how I anticipated it going in my head. So, I try not to even go there. I try to just notice my fear, acknowledge it, and let it drift away.
4) Make peace with the idea of failure
I used to fear failure. Big time. I still do to a degree, but in my younger years, I just didn't allow it. I grew up always ahead of the class, and I think this did me some damage. It set my self-expectations very early on, that anything less than 95% was a failure. I also had very black and white thinking...if it wasn't excellent, it was bad. A bit of perfectionist tendencies I would call it. :) If people were to ask me five year ago what was my biggest mistake, I likely didn't have an answer. Because I never let myself run into walls and learn by doing. I played is so safe that I hardly made strides. My biggest regret today is that I didn't fail enough. I didn't fall flat enough to learn resiliency. I didn't fall flat enough to grow. So fast forward, and while I still fear failure to a degree, I have learned that failure is not looked at as bad. There is a high value on failure and that is learning, bouncing back, and growing. When I think about 180s, I have opened myself up to the possibility of failure as an outcome, and that's okay.
5) Surround yourself with like-minded people
I've learned that other people fear my 180s more than I do. And when I sense their fear, I start to second guess myself and/or just feel off about my own decisions. So, I try to remove that anxious energy that doesn't serve me and surround myself with like-minded people, who similarly embrace fear, embrace growth, embrace change -- and who I know will encourage (and support) me to take risks and embark on new adventures.
6) Ask yourself this question...
I always think "What's the worst that can happen?" So I move cities...and I don't like it...I can always move back! Asking myself this question usually puts me at ease when I consider making 180s.
7) Recognize yourself for the powerful human you are
Finally, realizing we have the ability to create our future. When you get to a certain point in your life, you realize you are very much in control of your own destiny. I have had multiple friends watch me make 180s and say "Oh, I wish I could move to California..." or "I wish I could travel around the world solo..." and I'm like YOU CAN! The only thing stopping people from doing what they wish is themselves. Ultimately, I suppose I fear being limited by "rules" or "shoulds" or "should nots" or any sort of made-up societal-driven construct. And I fear the regret of not trying new things more than I fear trying new things.