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