With a new year on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months and plan for the next. Considering how challenging the past couple of years have been, we all have experienced more fear than usual – what if the next year could be your most fearless one yet?
Fear is one of our most primal survival mechanisms. The body’s reaction to fear is the same whether it’s a physical or an emotional threat. Our brains respond to potentially dangerous stimuli before they have all the facts, based on past history or hurts. Yet, when you understand how fear works you can master it, put it in its place, move past it and take charge of how you want to feel, think, and behave.
I’d like to share the 4 ‘No’s’ of Fearless Living. Actively applying them consistently to ones’ life is where the magic lies in creating the possibility of a truly fearless year ahead.
No Expectations: If you are continuously disappointed, feel betrayed, aren’t getting your needs met – Expectations may be what stand in your way. Expectations are deceptive and seductive. They keep us stuck by giving us permission to feel disappointed with others, ourselves, and life.
Expectations are what you think should happen as a result of what you do, say or plan. So, when you approach your relationships with intention instead of expectation, you expand the possibility for mutual happiness and support.
Expectation made John – the client who came to me thinking he wanted a divorce from Jill – say “I expect Jill to play the role of wife exactly as my mother did.” Once he let go of this expectation, intention allowed him to say “I intend to make a priority of focusing on my sense of purpose in life. I also intend to allow the confidence that comes from that focus to guide me while Jill and I discover ways to redefine the roles of husband and wife to suit our values and our relationship.”
When we ‘intend’, we delete the word ‘should” from our vocabulary. There’s a commitment to the process versus the results. The intention is about living in the present, actively choosing the future while being aware that in each moment your state of mind is up to you. You learn how to accept what’s really going on and handle it.
No Excuses: If you have no control, experience victimisation, can’t seem to find the time, or feel powerless – Excuses are running your life. The cure for excuses is to make a ‘lifelog’. Over the course of a week, log how you are using your time each day, then reflect on what the results tell you. When I did this exercise, I saw that I did really have time to go to the gym if I was willing to get up 45 minutes earlier, go to bed 45 minutes earlier and watch less television.
No excuses. Authentic transformation comes from accepting wherever you are in life and constructing your life from there.
No Complaining: If you are tired, lack creativity, frustrated, don’t feel included, or are dissatisfied – Complaining may be the culprit. Reflect on the things you tend to frequently complain about, a common one for busy parents are ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘my needs come last.’ Now whilst our complaints feel very real to us consider that we have a choice and if we’re really honest with ourselves maybe we are not really prioritising what’s important to us, or maybe we are not using our voice to speak up and state what our needs are?
A previous client of mine complained that she did not feel included at work and that nobody ever invited her to do anything. After coaching, she saw that she had not been proactive or extended invitations to others and that she was grateful for the authentic relationships she already had with people who shared her values.
Gratitude is such a positive emotion and the antidote for complaining is to shift to gratitude instead. Aim to find three things a day to be grateful for. When you consciously choose to see the good in your life every day, you immediately open up the possibility of more good coming your way.
No Beating Yourself Up: If you don’t think you can do it, don’t believe compliments, lack self-esteem, are unable to take risks or move forward – ‘Beating Yourself Up’ is stealing your life away. We all do it, we may find ourselves thinking thoughts such as, I can’t believe I did that, it was so stupid. I should know better by now! What is wrong with me?
Beating ourselves up keeps our fears in place and our confidence low. Our negative self-talk disempowers leaving us to fight our daily challenges with little or no self-esteem.
The cure for beating yourself up is to use acknowledgements instead. This technique builds your self-esteem and your ability to count on yourself. It’s a specific way of giving yourself credit that’s probably long overdue. Acknowledgements are about every baby step you take. They are about every act of courage, big or small to overcome your fears.
For example, if you want to get fit, yet you have not done any exercise for years. Your first action might be to research the possible gyms to join, your second might be to buy some new trainers, your third might be to go and look at a gym. All these actions when acknowledged will help you to master your fear, stop you from beating yourself up, and motivate you to keep taking positive actions and act on your commitments despite your feelings. Conversely, beating yourself up will keep you fearful and either immobilised or prone to doing things that aren’t good for you.
When you begin to acknowledge yourself every single day, you will turn your primal fear of not being good enough into a force that sets you free.
Finally, to become 100% authentically YOU, you must remove the fears that block you. Applying the 4 No’s and their antidotes will support you to leave behind the old restrictions of your expectations in order to embrace a new year full of possibilities and unlimited potential. Are you open to the possibility that this could be your most fearless year yet?
Picture Credit : Christin Noelle on Unsplash