What is holding you back and preventing you from taking action?
I first came across this poem in a book I was reading called The Book of Awakening. The context and meaning stayed with me for a while. It left me recalling the times when I have been the ‘tight bud’. On many occasions, I have chosen to remain fixed in my comfort zone, resulting in missed opportunities due to my lack of courage and belief that I could achieve something.
We can apply this notion to any area of our lives. Whether it be staying in a job you dislike, remaining in a toxic relationship longer than you need to because you fear the change, or not accepting an opportunity in the fear it doesn’t work out. It eventually comes to a point when it is more painful to remain in a situation you’re in than going through whatever it takes to get what you desire. No matter what kind of decisions we make, they all come with some level of risk.
Speaking from experience
The idea of taking the risk to bloom is something I feel we can all relate to at some point in our lives. From my own perspective, I can link it to me recently taking the leap and creating my blog page. The thought of allowing others to read about my thoughts and experiences filled me with dread. I would often write for myself as an outlet, a form of journaling, but I would never have thought to share it with anyone else.
I felt apprehensive about what others would think, their opinions of me or my writing. The fear of being judged on my competence and abilities. Would anybody even be interested enough to want to read what I have written?
Earlier in the year, I began taking small steps towards my goal by sharing my recent pieces with a few close friends. People who I trusted and I could allow myself to feel vulnerable enough with to accept their opinions. It was then that I realised sharing what I had written with others was not as daunting as I once thought.
From here, I threw out the idea of starting my own blog page, to which they seemed enthused. However, there was still something niggling away in the back of my mind stopping me from taking action. Whenever people asked me how it was going, I would respond with a series of excuses, “Oh, I’m busy at the minute. I haven’t got the time to start it, or now is not the right time to do it, but I will start it soon.”
I needed to ask myself the question, what is holding me back? When will I ever be ready? What is it am I waiting for, a sign? A sign to say that now is the right time. Waiting for the right time causes nothing but stagnation. I knew I just needed to do it! Stop thinking and start doing. It was from that moment that I decided to take action. No longer was I going to allow fear to prevent me from growing.
I took the risk and jumped into the unknown. I had no idea how to start a blog page or where to begin, but I took action anyway! I still have so much to learn, but that’s what makes it exciting and enjoyable. You don’t need to have it all figured out. The more you think you do, then the more you will procrastinate. Have the courage and take action anyway! Do not fear what could go wrong before you have even had the chance to start.
Ask yourself the question, what is there to lose? Is it even that much of a risk? Or has my mind just made it seem that way? What happens with the fearful mind is it asks those questions, what if? And it follows them up with a negative statement.
What if nobody reads my blog? What if they think I am stupid for even trying?
I was feeding the fears and tricking myself into avoiding taking action.
What I should have said to those nagging doubts was, so what! Even if only one person reads my post or nobody does, it is no different from me writing for my own personal pleasure. I have not lost anything in the process. If anything, I have gained new knowledge and skills from my experience.
What in your life is waiting to bloom? Is there something that you have always wanted to do, something new you have wanted to try or it could be making the next move in your career? Ask yourself what is it that is holding me back? Be courageous and move forwards in pursuit of your goals.
Playing it safe vs taking risks. How do you play in life?
By choosing to play it safe, we are limiting our potential to grow. Living in our comfort zone allows for predictability. Each day we can preempt how our day is going to go based on previous experiences. For some, this kind of predictability brings them comfort and allows them to feel safe. These people will often spend time weighing up the consequences, taking a more methodical approach before taking any action.
For others, they take action and think about the consequences later. They are more spontaneous, grabbing any opportunity presented to them. These kinds of people are the people that see the most growth and change in their life.
I am not saying go and quit your job tomorrow with no backup plan or move out of your home without anywhere to live. There does need to be some calculation when taking risks, but try not to dwell too much on what could go wrong and more so on what could go right.
5 Tips for overcoming your fears
- Let go of negative self-talk and limiting beliefs- We are our own worst enemies. We often talk ourselves out of opportunities because of the things we tell ourselves, such as, I am not good enough, I don’t know enough or have the skills. This negative self-talk can also be amplified by what others think we are capable of too. Let go of the ideas, thoughts and constraints that have been placed upon you by family, friends, society etc. You have to believe in yourself even if others don’t.
- Recognise your excuses- What excuses are you making for yourself? You don’t have the time, resources, information or skills etc. When you want a goal so badly, you will make the necessary sacrifices to make it possible. You will find the time, seek the resources and develop the skills you require.
- Consider the price of inaction- Be more fearful of not taking action and settling for a life that is less than what you desire. Training yourself to do it anyway will give you the freedom to live your life. Something that most people do not have.
- Have the courage to fail- Think about when a child learns to walk. They stand and fall countless times before they finally succeed. At no point do you see the child say, “I’m no good at this! Maybe I should give up.” They persevere and demonstrate resilience, trying and failing before trying again. This process repeats itself over and over again until they succeed. The path to overcoming fear is to recognise that everyone encounters failure on their road to success. Improvement in anything requires us to make thousands of tiny mistakes. Reprogramme your mind to see that failing results in growth.
- Set clear, manageable goals- Once you are ready to make the change think about the route you will take to ensure you get there. Rather than thinking about the end goal, think about the little goals you will set along the way to ensure you get to where you want to be. Set goals that are realistic and manageable. Set a time frame for achieving your goals to encourage you to remain focused and on track. Be sure of what you want and be consistent.
I can be fearful and do it anyway. I don’t have to get rid of the fear. I can dance with the fear and use the energy of it to move forward. – Tony Robbins