Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's Fear Got To Do With It?

I have started to notice that I have been getting over fears a lot easier than I ever have.  It might be because moving to NYC was one of my biggest fears and perhaps, seeing that fear went away once I did the "doing" of moving there - I am coming to a bigger revelation that I have spent a lot of time whipping myself into a negative frenzy and then sitting in a stew of fear - rather than taking chances.

I spend so much time anticipating what will go wrong that I can dismantle a dream, like a bomb, in under :30 seconds or less.  Being negative or assuming something won't work means that I don't have to make a move.  I can stay happy (not happy) in my inertia.

What I used to do with fear is just push it aside.  (And I'm not saying I am completely recovered!  I'm just going to talk about what works for me, now.)  I would distract myself with TV, going out with friends, the internet, anything -- so I did not have to face fear.

I have always, ALWAYS been a journal writer but when I start to get afraid, I will abandon it.  It becomes too scary to face my feelings.  Though with the decision to move to NYC, I'm surprised looking back how deeply honest I am with my unhappiness in LA.

I feel like connecting with myself and writing that down made me come face to face with having to make a decision -- I could no longer push the feelings aside and be immobile.

When I got to NYC, I met a girl who worked on the same floor as me.  I liked her right away because she embodied my idea of a young, single woman in NYC.  Fun, upbeat and funky, she was running her own clothing design business out of her own showroom.

Seeing her so happy, especially being new to a city, I really started to gravitate to her.  But it was a month later when I started to see that she was paralyzed by her own fears regarding her business.  She had just moved to this new showroom and she now had a tremendous overhead.  I found her stopping by my place often or admitting she had wasted hours on the internet.


I saw myself.

When the fear engulfs you and soon, you are making bad decisions or no decisions.  What I noticed is I became very much in the mode of Mama Bear with her.  I often did not know how to fix my own fears or give myself the pep talks I needed.

But what I could not do for myself, I could do for her.

I said I thought she was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of decisions she had to make.   What if we started having a weekly meeting and named every goal we wanted to get done for the week, named what day we would hit that goal and then printed the list so we each had it.  Then we could check in with each other every day and root each other on.

It worked.  When she was too scared to call a manufacturer about taking on making some of her items to free her up to design, I said I would do it for her.  She thought it over, "That's okay, I can do it myself."  We nudged each other.  Had I been doing my creative writing like I said I would -- even though it was for passion and not pay?  Yes I did.

Was I contacting all the companies I said I would for freelance work so I could then pay for my passion of writing just for love.  Soon, with her encouragement, yes.  All of a sudden, it didn't seem so overwhelming.   I had three or four goals to hit every day.  Breaking down in small pieces how to accomplish something makes it so much more manageable.

Pretty soon, I was determined to have days marked off for creative wring in the City.  An adventure.  A new coffee shop, a new side of me to explore.  T was finally making that call to Beyonce's stylist and took the big meeting with the manufacturer (with me going along for support).

We both can't believe what we have gotten done.  

I think the best part is every time she or I are giving the other a pep talk -- it's really the pep talk we would give ourselves.  When I am rooting her on, I feel so energized -- if I am trying to get her to believe in herself, why would I do any less for myself?

We are two new friends that now meet every week to set goals for our lives.  I think this can work with any facet of life.  Two friends outlining a fitness goal, a life goal, a business goal.  We are no more than a support team for each other.

But the key has been writing things down - small goals AND follow through.  And I promise, if you start doing the follow through, you will say, "That wasn't so bad!  Now I'm not so afraid to do the next thing on my list!"  And you become stronger and stronger.

I think the other thing that helps me is now I am promising myself that when I feel fear, I will JOURNAL about it.  I am reading back on a year ago this time about how happy I am in LA and I wish that I would chuck the fear and move to NYC.  Other years, I pushed away from these feelings - last year, the more I named everything I did not like about LA, well, the only course was action.

So maybe you have a goal.  Maybe it's a goal that feels like it could be a year away or maybe there is something you could change now.  I would say #1 - get a journal, open up your heart, be vulnerable, be honest.  Yes, it might make you cry and this will be uncomfortable.  But what I found was - I was already unhappy - what was a little discomfort?  Especially if it got me to a better place.

In my case it did.  (Not that NYC has been without it's challenges, because has it ever!)  But reading my old journal entries keeps in perspective, I am much happier now.

So my advice:  Name the goal.  Start working on a few small things you can do a day to get to that goal.   If you are having uncomfortable feelings about this goal, if it is making you feel fearful - start to journal your feelings.  This gives fear less power and YOU more power.  Enlist a friend for her support - even if her goals are different, it feels great to have a cheerleader.  And you will feel great cheering her on, too.

Let me know if I can answer any questions.  And I would love to know - what are your fears or if that is too personal, when you have fears, what strategies do you use to get over them?  

Girl Power!  xoxoxo



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Am Right Here

UPDATE:  Sorry every one!  I have been so busy but in a good way!  Starting to overcome my fears lead to some great strides this week.  I want to tell you all about it and how I did it.  I will post soon!)

This picture, it describes it all.  Exactly where I am.  I want to write a post about getting past your fears to go after something you are afraid of.

Fear.  It stops us all.

Two of my good friends and I have been letting fear hold us back.  This week - all THREE of us had breakthroughs, threw aside the fear, went for it, got results.  So I really want to write about what we did to get it done.  Maybe it will help you or a friend of yours.

I have quite a huge deadline tomorrow but I will put up a post tomorrow!


PS, to anyone who left me a comment on my last post, THANK YOU so much!  I just finished responding to all the comments!



Thursday, February 3, 2011

So Whatever Happened to That Guy I Found On Craigslist?

Okay, so a lot of you asked, “What’s going on with your dating life?”  I know there’s a big gap in these entries.  In one, I talked about pulling out an adventure one week, the adventure of Asking A Guy Out On A Date.  When I just couldn’t quite get the nerve up to do it and time was running out, naturally, I just--

Put an ad up for him on Craigslist.  LOL.  And it worked.  We set a date to go out to a bar near me.  We exchanged pictures and I thought he was very cute.  I was a wreck getting ready… I mean, I haven’t really done the whole “blind date” thing in a really long time.  What do I wear?  On the one hand, you want to dress for you and what makes you confident.  On the other hand, yeah, I wanna look cute for him, too.

I wore a really fun, colorful t-shirt, a black lace cardigan which dressed it up and wore jeans and way sexy shoes.   I can’t tell you how nervous I was waiting for him.  It just seemed too good to be true that this would work out in ANY WAY.

Then he walked in, he waved and I was glad he knew it was me right away.  A lot of my guy friends talk about how they hate when girls misrepresent themselves in photos.  (Um, PS, Guys, we hate when you do that, too.)   His hair was longer than his photos, I’m just going to break it down, it was kooky hair but I loved it.  Kind of mop top curly.  And he had beautiful blue eyes and a nice smile.  Tall, I liked that too.  Smelled good, more points.

I was super nervous, but the vodka soda with a splash of cranberry was easing that.  And when I get buzzed I get very chatty but since he was shy, I think it worked out.  There was a peck on the cheek on that date and a lot of hugging.  It was very sweet and soon after he asked me out again, and again and again.  In fact, we went on six dates.

He spent time at my place playing with the dogs, we took them on long walks and held hands, we ordered dinner in and went out for dinners, too.   But my red flag was kind of going up the more we went out.  I have this type I always go out with and after one of my last relationships, I swore:  never again.

It’s the emotionally distant guy.  The ones with secrets, usually around the family, that won’t talk about anything.  They want to act like life started the day they met you and go from there.  Any “prying” (which is how they see it) into their past, which I think is just normal conversation, the way to get to know someone results in a giant wall being put up.

This concerned me.  I had already been concerned that maybe I was latching onto D because I was new in a city and this made it less lonely.  That is not a good or fair reason to date someone.  But the red flags about this other part really made me put the brakes on the whole thing.  I knew I would just become more and more attached and I knew I would be defying a promise I made myself to NOT date guys like this.   (I will say, if it sounds like I am being vague, there was one secret he was keeping from me which I figured out and it just put a knot in my stomach that he would not talk about it.  But I want to respect his privacy so that’s all I’ll say).

I don’t want to date guys like this because it puts me in my comfort zone.  If he’s not sharing, I don’t have to.  Then we are never really close.  And I can’t get hurt.

So I told him as much as I could without hurting him.  I didn’t think he needed to be deeply critiqued after a half a dozen dates.  I know what I want but that doesn’t make him a bad person or a person that has to change.  I put it all on me.  It was hard.  I even cried because he’s so sweet.  Who wouldn’t want to hang out with a sweet person?

It’s been hard.  He had once asked me when my birthday was.  And magically, on my birthday, a text came from his out of state area code.  (I didn’t know anyone else from here, so it had to be him).  It wished me a great birthday.  I started to cry.  It had been a month since we’d seen each other and he still remembered.  No one else had remembered my birthday at that point in the day so it really made me feel special.

I emailed him back about how much it meant to me.  I was really missing him but didn’t say so.  He emailed back—he was embarrassed because the email wasn’t from him.  (I would later found out it was from my cousin who lived in the same state but HAD never called me, never mind remembered my birthday. 

Now it was time for me to be embarrassed.

He said some really beautiful things in the email.  That he thought I was awesome and so much fun to be around.  And the ball was in my court because he would love to see me again.

I wasn’t sure what to do.  I wondered if I was just missing “someone” but maybe not D.  I didn’t want to hurt someone again.  But I said yes, I would like to see him, as friends, like he suggested.

But soon, he never responded to that email.  I sent another.  He replied.  He was getting really busy at work.  And oh so busy on the weekends.  He wasn’t one to play games.  I just imagined the wall was going up again.  He didn’t want to get hurt just like it was me before, that didn’t want to get hurt.

So there it is.  The lesson though is, I’ll NEVER regret putting that Craigslist ad up and meeting D.  It was one of the (pardon the language) ballsy-est things I’ve done.  I’ve thought of doing it again, hey maybe I just will.  It was nice to laugh with someone, get dressed up for someone and get excited to see them. 

Even if it didn’t work out, I was proud of myself for not falling back into old patterns.  I know I want more and that I deserve more…

So I’m putting “Ask A Guy Out On A Date” back in the Adventure Bowl.  Maybe somewhere near the top so I can pick it really soon!

Also, are there any patterns you're trying to break in dating?  Or that you had to break to find the right guy?  I'd love to know.