(Phrased pinched with pride from Susan Jeffers)
Why do we do things that put the fear of God in to us? I am in Naples, having travelled here on Friday to start a 2 month programme working with an established business to develop my own business skills. On the surface a great opportunity but in reality I have walked away from paying work to a country I have never visited, where I don’t speak the language and I am flat sharing for the first time in my life. So why do it?
For me it is for two main reasons; Firstly, I want to do things that make me feel good both professionally and personally and secondly I believe in the old adage that you should ’regret the things you do, not the things you don’t’. I spent a chunk of my life saying no and I look back and wistfully wonder ‘what if…?’. I don’t want that to happen again.
If you are like me and don’t want to be plagued with ‘what if’s…?’(because those pesky day dreams about ‘what if’ are so exciting and have so much potential and as a result really can bring you down) you need to employ a strategy that thrusts you forward despite the terror you feel and ensures you get to the end.
So my advice would be to start thinking what you need to do to prevent the temptation to say ‘no’ and see your experience(s) through to an end. As I am not a completer finisher (Belbin) by nature, I have 3 approaches that enable me to step through the fear:
- I often do things first or alone, so there is no time or talk to deter me
- I tell the world I am doing it. After that conversations are dominated by advice, well wishes and requesting updates and so then there is little choice but to march forward
- I make sure I have something I can do/ somewhere I can go to meet my basic needs and quash any panic without relying on anyone else. For example on this trip (a) I made sure I had wifi where I was staying so I could call home (b) went for a walk to find a shop to fulfil my basic needs and (c) located somewhere I could while away a few hours with a book.
Tapping in to my left brain (ruled by logic) I know in a mere 8 weeks I will be sad to leave Italy and will learn so much and meet amazing people; I just needed to ensure fear did not prevent me experiencing the opportunity.
So please consider, what opportunities stand before you that fear makes you think ‘no’, but in your heart you know you will look back with regret because you didn’t do it? What plans or strategies can you put in place to make sure you don’t back down or opt out? It can be anything from finances and signing a contract before the ‘no’ pops out to posting your commitment on Facebook or to your family. Try it once, feel the fear… and do it anyway. I can’t promise it will be easy or exactly how you planned it or that the success factors won’t change, but I am confident you won’t be disappointed or have regrets as a result.
The view from my ‘reading spot’