For some people, the prospect of success immobilizes them the same way fear of failure does. And I'd venture that, if we all searched back far enough in our histories, we can identify a situation (or two, or three...) where we allowed fear to stop us from taking an important next step.
I've often wondered at fear's awesome grip on us and why it continues to deliver a message that is so compelling as to stop us in our tracks not just when it is beneficial for us, as in the case of a real and present danger, but also when it is less so, as in the case of it blocking us from reaching our true potential.
To some degree, societal messaging may play a role. For example, many of us may relate to having heard some combination of the following growing up:
- "Stop showing off"
- "Nobody likes a know-it-all"
- "Let's not make too big a deal out of this, we don't want X to feel bad"
Implicit in these instructions is the subtle message that your success comes at the expense of some others' peace of mind. So, over time, the subtle message we internalize from these little gems is that we should do our best to hide our light under a bushel. And we cannot shine too brightly for fear of making others uncomfortable.
I offer a counter-proposal. Maybe your success does not come at someone else's expense. Maybe your success is yours, and yours alone. And it has absolutely nothing to do (whether positive or negative) with anything happening to any other person who may or may not be connected to you.
A Useful Jedi Mind Trick for Overcoming Anxiety
Societal messaging is not the only factor and, in many cases, it may not be a factor at all. For some, it could be as simple as your body not knowing the difference between anxiety and excitement. After all, both emotions feel the same physiologically. And this is where the hack comes in.
Since your body cannot tell the difference between anxiety and excitement, your mind can direct it to interpret the emotions in any way it chooses. Without getting into the weeds here, research has shown that we assign value to our emotions; we perform an "appraisal" of what it is we are feeling. Our mind has the leverage to appraise the emotion in any direction it chooses, positive or negative.
So the next time you are confronted with sweaty palms, rapid heart rate, flushed skin or whatever other symptoms manifest when you feel anxious, say "I'm really excited about this and boy is my body showing it!" out loud as many times as you need to settle into a comfortable space.
Our success journey can begin with a single step. Will that step be tripped up by anxiety? Or will it be bolstered with promise? I encourage you to let your light shine. Do not hide under a bushel. The universe has given you talents and gifts for a reason. Use them.
If you are interested in taking that next step, do not hesitate to sign up for my free webinar: Assessing Your Readiness for Change. Connect with me at [email protected] for upcoming dates.