Conquering Your Fears by Naming Them

We all have fears – and right now,  our fears about work, health and family may be more top of mind than ever. I hope this story helps you manage those fears more effectively. When I was a child growing up in St. Paul, I remember thunderstorms and car headlights casting quick moving shadows across my bedroom ceiling keeping me awake and causing me fear.  And, when I think about it, many of the thoughts keeping me awake and causing me fear these days are like the ones that I dreamed up as a child growing up in St. Paul – maybe not a real as I think they are in the middle of the night. 

Like many people, I’m afraid of not being accepted, making mistakes, getting hurt, not meeting other people’s expectations and not meeting my own expectations.  Too often I’m afraid of what other people think of me. You may share those fears, as well as financial, employment stability, health-related and other, new fears right now. 

Many of these fears are mental obstacles that hold us back from using our best ability to reach our goals and fulfill our potential. Other mental obstacles people face include self-criticism, lack of self-confidence, self-condemnation, self-doubt, not establishing our priorities, perfectionism, unreasonable expectations, trying too hard, false concepts and beliefs, anger, poor concentration, a busy mind, boredom, and giving ourselves too much instruction. These types of obstacles can be amplified significantly when we are more isolated, working from home and not receiving the typical verbal and non-verbal positive feedback we rely on in normal office working environments. 

When we have the basic knowledge that our mental obstacles are creating problems, we can be more effective by getting out of our own way. To overcome these obstacles, I play the three-step game of watching them:

  • First, name and or describe the feeling or mental obstacle that you’re facing – write it down. 
  • Second, recognize that your full potential already exists within yourself and 
  • Third, remind yourself that the goal at every level is to rid yourself of the still remaining mental limitations which prevent your total expression. 

It’s a game I play almost every moment of every day, especially these days. Sometimes, I am a success, but I always desire to be more successful. There is an awesome power that comes from knowing that many of the obstacles we create in our mind are not real. We have the responsibility to work to overcome our fears to ensure we are going in the right direction.  It’s the only way that we can reach toward our goals. 

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