The longer I coach, the more I question the need for Halloween and horror movies. Dressing up in costumes can be fun, but why do we treat fear as something unusual and exciting when, in reality, it is ever-present and paralyzing. I work with adults with ADHD, but I’ve found that regardless of ADHD, we’re already scared. All of us! Yes, me too!
Fear is very much a part of every decision we make. We fear failure. We fear being laughed at, not being taken seriously, not looking good or not fitting in; we even fear success! And we do everything possible to avoid facing these fears head on.
You don’t have to have ADHD to be scared; all creative geniuses have experienced a fear of failure. But, I think ADHDers are probably more familiar than most with how it feels to fail, and would agree that it is far from pleasant. The problem is, if you avoid any situation where failure is a possible outcome, you’re resigned to playing small, very small!
So what do you do with fear if you want to reach your full potential by playing full out? Let me share with you one of the strategies from the Conquer Procrastination module of The Maximum Productivity Makeover.
Be Aware of and Acknowledge Your Fear
The first step, once you’re aware of your fear, is to acknowledge it. That which you resist persists. And by the same token, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
Examine Your Fears
The second step is to examine the validity of your fear. You’re afraid because you’re imagining the worst possible outcome. How likely is it that the worst will happen? What are all the possible outcomes of trying something new? The outcomes could be: success, failure, or, most likely, something in between. Ask yourself, is anything less than success a failure? And is there a way you can minimize the risk of the worst happening?
Can You Bounce Back From the Worst?
The third step is to consider how you would bounce back if the worst did happen. If you fall from a 6-inch ledge outside a window on the tenth floor of a building, fear is justified. Fear is, after all, a self-preservation mechanism. Unfortunately, fear is either “on” or “off.” In the presence of life-threatening danger, you react in a way that will preserve your life. However, when there is a small, or even imagined, danger, you react the same way.
However, if “failing” at something new means that you might look foolish or that someone could laugh at you, you can easily bounce back. I have full confidence in you. No one ever died of embarrassment (although, truth be told, we might wish we had).
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Finally, after you realize that you can bounce back from whatever outcome you fear, and so, you realize “failure” really won’t be all that bad, especially compared to how much better life could be if you succeed, take your fear out for a drive… but keep it in the passenger seat. Acknowledge its existence, but don’t allow it to rule your life. In other words, feel the fear and do it anyway.
And one more thing about fear… Boo! Happy Halloween!
If fear is stopping you from achieving your greatest dreams, the Maximum Productivity Makeover starts in January 2012. Register and reduce the risk of failure.