I recently stumbled upon this incredibly inspiring youtube video of a TedX talk by a lady named Michelle Poler who decided to challenge herself and live 100 days without fear. And it got me thinking about my own fears that I've been avoiding, putting off and generally denying their existence.
Physical fear has not ever been particularly challenging for me. I wanted to ride all the big kid roller coasters before I was tall enough. I've bungee jumped, sky dived, zip lined, hiked to the tops of mountains snorkeled in the open ocean, competed in triathlons, etc. I've traveled around the world by myself for the better part of the past two years; terrifying before I started but not so much now.
I mostly suffer from psychologically-rooted cultural fears: pain, embarrassment & control. I've conquered a few fears under this category: cutting my hair, donating blood, teaching yoga. (Interesting how much my fears overlap with Michelle's and I'm sure many other people.)
I guess I'm more afraid of rejection than I thought because I'm petrified at the thought of cold calling or driving around and recruiting new clients. However, it's incredibly essential if I am going to maintain my business.
My mom told me stories of the best and only salesman she ever worked with and my dad had to generate leads, network and establish/maintain working relationships with clients all the time in banking. So I soaked up their sage advice and committed to some cognitive reframing.
I'm not soliciting a bunch of random businesses - I'm carefully selecting those that align with my values and offering to help. An active imagination is critical to creativity but I think it works to my disadvantage when it spirals out of control into the worst possible scenarios. Here are a few examples of what I fantasized to be the worst case scenario and then what actually happened.
Before teaching my first yoga workshop, I imagined someone falling and injuring herself and me having to call an ambulance and her being loaded into the back of it on a stretcher with a neck brace. Reality: Everyone got a little sweatier than usual. The first time I flew my drone I imagined it spinning out of control, crashing and exploding on the side of the mountain. Reality: I safely flew and landed my drone without so much as a scratch.
So is it more likely that I'll be escorted from an establishment by security or police and banned from ever returning to within 100 feet of the premises? Or is the worst case that someone will say "No thank you."
I have countless notebooks, spreadsheets and iPhone notes full of ideas that I have been too scared to pursue. From this day forward, I am no longer letting my fear strangle my creativity.
So the point of this post is that I'm writing a list of 100 ideas that I am actually going to put out into the universe. I'm only expecting about 1 out of every 5 of them to come to fruition based on the good old 80/20 rule but that's what it takes on the journey of success. (Oh, and that's another insight I had yesterday: that success is a journey, not a destination.)
Silly pre-historic lizard brain; always confusing actual threats with imagined ones. Bad, bad lizard brain! You're officially in time out and have lost most of your influence over my decision making.
Another fear I'm conquering is to publish a blog post without obsessively editing and re-editing and overthinking the content of it. Mission accomplished.