Updated: Jul 29, 2020
At some point, many of us want to make big changes that will transform our lives or help us achieve our dreams and goals. But as much as we want to, sometimes it feels impossible to change. We lie awake at night, having a constant conversation with ourselves about why we can't make it happen. We tell ourselves that it's too much, we're too busy, it'll take too long, etc. We also grapple with fear of failure, of being ridiculed or disliked, of losing friends, family, money, and so on. We may be critical of ourselves for wanting something more, feeling shame, embarrassment or that we're just not good enough, smart enough, young enough, beautiful enough and on and on and on. This a conversation I have with myself on a regular basis!
The problem is that most of us stop there. We find all the reasons why we can't do what we really want to do, and settle back into our lives, trying to let go of what we think is too unrealistic or ambitious to accomplish. So what we need to do is keep going. This is a lot of what I talk about in my speaking gigs, so if you want to hear more or think others would find it valuable, book me for your next event! From my coaching and other training, I've learned that a few simple questions can help us take this conversation with ourselves to the next level, which supports our ability to pursue all those things we want.
If you find yourself having that #fearconversation, here are some questions to ask before giving up on pursuing your goal:
What will it really take?
Often, when we think about reaching a goal, we look at it in very general terms and it can get overwhelming. So, be specific. What will it really take to achieve it? What specific steps and resources will it require? How much time will it take? Chunk it down into steps and milestones. Write it out. When we start looking at the goal in a more realistic manner, we often find that it isn't actually as overwhelming as it was when we were thinking in generalities. We could even create a great road map to help us reach our goal that takes a lot of the pressure off if we simply follow the steps we've outlined for ourselves.
What's the worst that can happen?
This is a great question to ask ourselves because it takes a look at the fears that come up for us around failure or losing something precious to us (like approval from friends or family), or even tangible things like our savings or our home. When we ask (and answer) this question for ourselves, we can dampen the noise of those fears. For example, if we try and fail at something new, what's the worst that can happen? Maybe we're a little embarrassed, or maybe people ridicule us. But so what? That happens to everyone. Or if we're afraid of losing money or our home, is that a realistic outcome? I'd say most of time that's not going to happen. If we understand that reaching our goal will require some investment, we can plan for it so we aren't putting ourselves in a precarious position. Let's take it a step further. Say that pursuing our goal does in fact mean we could potentially lose our home or money or livelihood. Again ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?" Our minds tend to play out the worst case scenario, imagining ourselves homeless and broke. Is that realistic? Likely there are other resources we could turn to. Perhaps we live with relatives for a little while, or get a new or second job that allows us to keep our home. When we start looking at our fears in this way, we may find that they aren't really as big and scary as our mind makes them out to be.
How well is this serving me?
This question relates to the thoughts we may have about our worthiness or abilities to achieve our goal. When our thoughts tell us that we aren't able to do something because there's something about us that isn't "enough", we call these limiting beliefs. So if you have a #limitingbelief that you aren't smart enough to reach your goal, ask yourself, How well is that belief serving me? As you've guessed, it's not! Usually, no one is telling us that we're not good enough or smart enough, etc., it's what we tell ourselves. And even if someone else says it, doesn't make it true. Instead of buying into these limiting beliefs, what we can try is just thinking differently about reaching our goal.
Try thinking, what if I just tried it for fun? By being playful, having fun and being curious, we can let go of the enormous pressure we put on ourselves to make something happen. We can take small steps with an open mind, which allows us to step outside our comfort zone.
There are many more questions like these that we can ask ourselves to help us make progress in reaching our goals. If you're interested in exploring them, book me to speak or schedule a complimentary coaching session today!