(This one’s for you LB.)
One of the women I’m working with has just been asked to do something she’s dreamed of being asked to do (it’s so exciting), but it’s frightening her as well.
We all have times when life offers us our best dreams only to find ourselves scared about our ability to rise to the offering!
Here’s what I suggest to people in this situation:
1) Acknowledge the fear–but, acknowledge it in a way that makes it only a part of you. After all, even though new opportunities may stir up fear, they often stir up other emotions too, like excitement. When we acknowledge all the various parts, we’re more able to stop ourselves from identifying with just the fear and that will provide us all kinds of wiggle room to grow. Changing your language to reflect this will help. Say, “Part of me is scared….” rather than “I’m scared.”
It’s kind of like a parent dealing with a frightened child. If the parent got frightened too, that wouldn’t be very helpful to the child. As you can imagine, for the parent to help, he/she needs to listen and be supportive, not IN the fear as well.
2. As you listen to your frightened part, see if you can hear what it needs emotionally & be as responsive as you can about meeting that emotional need. If you think of that part as a child, it will help.
3) Take lots of quiet time. When we’re transitioning to our best selves, it can take a while for our energy to shift into the new way. You may need lots of non-doing time to adjust–just as a caterpillar needs to cocoon before emerging as a butterfly. Give this to yourself.
4) Even if you have never done well at what’s newly required before, don’t worry. Keep reminding yourself that your body grows new cells ALL the time and the past doesn’t matter unless you say it does.
5) Spend time in the imaginal realms SEEING, HEARING and FEELING yourself handling the new situation/task/project with the greatest of ease and skill. ALL top athletes do this and they do this for a reason. It works.
6) Focus on your passion for the project, NOT your performance. This is crucial. Think of a mother giving birth–she doesn’t think about how she’s performing, or even about the pain, but focuses on her excitement about seeing the baby. She lets her excitement pull her forward. Ditto.
As Fritz Perls, the great psychiatrist said, “Anxiety is the gap between now and then.” Hopefully these strategies will help you make that gap smaller, so there’s no leap, only a lovely long stride into the new you!