By: Dr. Gwen Smith
Sometimes we think that we are perpetually self-confident to step out and get what we want. I know that was certainly the way I felt with a lot of things in life and work, until of course that huge thing comes along that I never experienced before; and suddenly I freeze.
There are tell-tale signs that my body used to experience to let me know that I was anxious or fearful about taking on something new. Learning to recognize those signs have helped me know what to do to allow me to keep me moving ahead despite my feelings.
Taking action is the single most important thing in building self-confidence and getting results. Each time you step out and accomplish something, it gives you a new high and creates a surge in your confidence for the next big thing.Staying frozen, however, produces the opposite effect.
Recognizing signs of fear in your life can help you use strategies to counteract the lack of actions that keep you from getting results.
Consequently, I'd like to talk about recognizing 7 signs that can let you know that you are being fearful about taking your next step and give you a few of the strategies that have worked for me in moving forward.
- You over-plan though you may already have a solid plan to start taking action
- You have a feeling of not knowing enough and wanting to do just a bit more, or to research more
- You’ve run through the scenarios in your mind, only a million times before and don’t seem to come up with anything new
- You're late with your timeliness as a result of your delaying
2. Lethargy or in a Daze
- You feel tired and drained and all you want to do is to sleep incessantly. Of course this could be a symptom of something else too; it too may alsi be a symptom of fear and anxiety about your goals
- You feel spaced out as though you are not present. You keep replaying the event over and over in your mind
3. Acting-out and Nervousness
- Getting in ‘trouble’ so you don’t have to do the task or activity. This is a regular one especially with students in schools
- Sweaty palms and an inability to focus on anything else; confusion
- Faking illness or a lack of ability so you can be excused
- Pretense about a lack of resources, tools, equipment, etc. so you can buy more time
- Pacing and going back and forth, unproductively
4. Doing the opposite of what you want
- You know you want to have a certain result in your life, yet your actions counteract the results you are seeking
- Self-sabotaging yourself;for example you know you need to take action now, and you delay and let the timeline pass so you miss the opportunity
5. Eating excessively
- You find yourself nervously grabbing food, comfort foods: typically finger foods, sweets, chips,etc.
- You nibble rapidly while you continue to be zoned out, clearly not conscious of your current eating habits.
6. You want to use the bathroom excessively
- Your body functions seem to take over and you want to pee excessively or you have loose bowels that you can’t seem to control
7. Elevated heart-rate or blood pressure or illness
- This time you are not faking it, and your blood pressure is elevated
- Your pulse is racing
- You become really ill
- You become weak in the knees
Of course these are just a few of the signs, but they are the really common ones that I've seen or experienced in the past. If you’ve experienced any of these signs before taking on something major in your life, welcome to the family! 🙂
Everyone feels some level of fear or anxiety when he or she is about to step out to do something never before accomplished. What you do with the feeling will determine your success and results however.
So here are just four of the many ways to handle fear to get you moving ahead despite your feelings and symptoms that you no longer need to allow to stop you.
Tuning in to your body, your thoughts, your actions and your emotions can help you to spot a pattern that you may very well be treating as a symptom of something else, and therefore have caused you in the past to shrink away from your goals.
Maybe you experienced all or none of these symptoms. It could be that there are other signs that you experience. Whatever those signs are, the first step for you is to be able to recognize them by being aware, so you can use strategies to help you overcome them.
By taking preliminary actions you can diminish the intensity of many of your reactions to the situation that you are fearful about. It is always good to be prepared and to do your best.
Planning, setting time in your calendar to pace yourself, and to practice if that’s what is needed, are some actions that you can take to help reduce the fear of failure. The more practiced you are, the greater your self-confidence will be. Lack of preparation will increase your anxiety and fear. Once you have prepared, practice feeling self-confident about your preparation.
You are afraid that you will fail, you are afraid you won’t be good enough, you are projecting something from the future into your current thoughts . Doing this increases your fear.
Realizing that the fear is a result of your not staying present—that is you’re already into the future thinking that you know what the results will be—will help you to process each step moment-by-moment. Stay out of the future, and stay with what you are currently working on.
Use Active Imagery
Along with the positive thinking, recalling a time that you have had great success at something—anything— then substituting the feelings of the successful activity while you imagine yourself doing the fearful activity is a very powerful strategy to use.
In this situation take four deep breaths and relax your body, then use all of your sensory modalities (sight, feelings, hearing,smell, taste) and experience what it was like then while you were being successful while hearing the words of congratulations being spoken to you.
Using active imagery
, imagine yourself being applauded, imagine yourself celebrating, imagine that you have great smells and sounds and feel the emotion of joy while basking in the moment.While you’re recalling (create a moment if you don’t remember one) your success, switch the scene and imagine yourself doing this scary activity and this time you are feeling the same feelings, sight, sound smell as with the successful activity. Do this several times a day up to your goal execution.
This is a very powerful strategy because your brain really does not know reality from pretense. Your subconscious mind only communicates in the sensory modalities. So, by switching out the activity, you associating the activity you fear with the same success as you had in the past.
This will allow you to step into the next activity with the confidence you need, as long as you stay focused on the success. You only need to imagine yourself succeeding again just immediately before the task, then take a deep breath and execute.Once you are in the task, just relax and stay in the current moment, not the future. There is no fear when you stay current and in the moment.
So the next time you have a major goal that you are afraid of and if you begin to experience any of the 7 symptoms of fear, remember these four strategies to help you overcome them and to move forward. You'll find yourself building self-confidence the more often you apply them because now you will finally be accomplishing increasingly difficult goals and having success around them.
I’d like to invite you to join me in a FREE 7-Day Challenge. I want to see you getting results and putting an end to procrastination, and I would like to give you the jump-start to get you going.
So click the image below to join the waiting list to start the challenge and to get your goals underway this year.
Please leave us your comments below!
Click the image below to learn more about how you can join a FREE 7-Day Challenge to help you to put an end to your procrastination and to get breakthrough results.