Did something scare you today? This week? This year?
What really scares you? An angry boss? A lost client? A problem without a solution? Zombies?
And more importantly, what does your fear make you do? Do you shut down? Make quick decisions without thinking?
When you’re scared, you make emotional decisions. Sometimes they are rational and sometimes they are irrational. Sometimes these decisions turn into irrational actions.
For example, did you ever blow up over something that turned out to be quite inconsequential? I tend to ‘lose it’ on myself when I accidentally drop something when cooking in the kitchen. In retrospect, it was an accident, I didn’t plan for it, and I mistakenly dropped a dish of food. But I still ‘lost it’ on myself. I wasn’t scared, but I still acted irrationally.
It happens to the best of us. I help my clients look at their lives as a huge long line or spectrum with being ‘totally in-control’ at one end and ‘totally out-of-control’ at the other end. Most of the time, when we’re scared, we tend to feel that we have moved from the safe, in-control extreme to the perilous out-of-control extreme.
But that’s not true. We’ve just moved a little bit on our control line. Here’s a little secret: We’re never really totally in-control either. Someone or some thing, somewhere has a bit of control over us or has the ability to careen us out-of-control. For example, our health, our kids, our spouse/partner, work, finances, etc. all can quickly have an immediate impact on our control system.
The faster you realize you are never in complete control AND that you are never in complete chaos, the faster you will move from being scared to a more meditative sense of reality. Realize that we spend our lives moving along this ‘control’ line without fear — we’re just trying to get things done, we hit a road-block, and we solve that problem and move on.
Here are some rules I adhere to:
1. You are not at the far (deep) end of the out-of-control line. You’ve moved a bit out of control, don’t be scared, and realize a small action can bring you back in control quickly. Don’t stay in one place and begin to emotionalize your reaction. Worrying about what might happen will never really help you — you need to think rationally about your options and take action.
2. Take one small step. One micro-task which will allow you to start moving in the right direction and begin to feel better about your situation. Again, if you do nothing, you’ll go nowhere. Even if you move backwards, at least you’re moving — you can always course correct.
3. “Action expresses priorities.” – Gandhi. Once you take action — any action — you will begin to stop worrying/being scared and start to make further decisions to help you get back into a control situation. Movement or action begins to eliminate most worry and fear. Get out of that haunted house ASAP!
Let me know how this works — the last thing I want you doing is spending a beautiful spring, scared, full of fear and stranded in worry. Life is SO much better than that.