From Paralyzing Fear to Compelling Reward
When I asked myself what would make me drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Virginia again, my first thought was nothing. And then I thought of what would. If my son's life depended on my driving him across that bridge, I would drive it. If I knew that a million dollars was waiting for me but I had to drive across that bridge to claim it, I would grit my teeth and drive it. Herein lies the key to overcoming paralyzing fear. There has to be some gain on the other side that means more to you than the fear that's gripping you. Without that reward, you don't have the fuel to push past that heart-stopping terror.
This realization coined a more compelling acronym to replace my old one for FEAR:
So how do you shift from paralyzing fear to compelling reward?
I can't remember who said it, I even searched to find out, but there is a quote that goes something like, "If what's in front of you is not more compelling than what's behind you, you will never move from where you are." It's so true! We think that what we fear is the problem. It's not. It's the focus on it that creates the energy around it. After all, what you focus on grows. It's that we haven't dug deeply enough to locate what means more. If we can dig through all the catastrophic thinking and threat and get to the music--the heart of the matter, the melody that longs to be heard--the energy will shift along the focus.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What do you want? Everything starts with this question. You will stay stuck, flipping back and forth in your resolve, until you get clear about what it is that you want.
- Why do you want it? This is the hinge that what we want hangs upon. I suggest applying the 5 Why's to this statement. This means asking yourself "Why" five times or as many times as you need to in order to get down to why this matters so much to you.
- Will you be okay if you don't pursue it? This is the hinge that your commitment hangs on. It brings to the forefront what you would regret more. Will you regret more going for this or not going for this? When I determined what I'd regret more, it put failure in a whole new light. You see, I could be okay with failing if I at least tried.
Now back to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. To be completely honest, had there not been traffic all around me propelling me to keep driving across the bridge, I would not have made it. All I could think was "keep your foot on the accelerator and hold on to the wheel." I couldn't shut my eyes. We couldn't change drivers. I couldn't pull my car to the side. I couldn't back up or take the nearest exit off the bridge. I had to stare at what looked like death and keep driving towards it. Besides, being suspended halfway between the top and the bottom was not an option. Furthermore, I had my mom and my son to consider. I had to keep moving.
What you are facing right now might feel just like that to you. Scary doesn't even come close. You have to dig down into your fear until you hit what means most. Focus on that and you will overcome what stands in your way.