Overcoming Fear

When I was younger, I had no problem jumping into new endeavors. Starting my own business, self-publishing a bunch of books, tackling any idea that came my way. Somewhere along the way I became scared, or hesitant, or reluctant to keep up that attitude. I’ve discussed this before. Maybe the long stream of failures made me gun-shy, or I’m simply older and wiser now, and more inclined to realize the possibly negative repercussions of my actions – especially since kids are now involved. Or maybe life has just gotten busier, and my confidence fell by the wayside. Whatever the reason, I find this change in attitude is taking its toll. Suddenly it’s as if I’m too scared to take real action on anything.

Nothing is more frustrating than have things I need to do — things I want to do — and feeling like I’m not making any progress in any of them. I finally know what course I want my life to take: what I want to do professionally and with my kids and in my home. And yet I’m stuck getting nowhere.

I can make excuses: I’m too tired, too overwhelmed. I don’t have time. There are more pressing things that need to be handled. Yet somehow I find time to check social media and e-mail a million times a day. I have the time and energy to plan and tweak and make lists. So what’s really holding me back? Is it fear? What can I do about it?

I think there are a few issues here that I need to address:

  • Fear of failure — and of success. What if I fall on my face again, this time with what I believe is my “purpose”? What if I succeed — and discover this is not what I want to do, or that it’s more than I bargained for?
  • Uncertainty of priorities. Obviously my kids come first, yet there are so many other things that I want and have to do that I’m not sure what to tackle first, which leads to my getting nowhere, doing a little of this and a little of that until I’m just frustrated that nothing’s getting completed. But what do I do first?
  • Staying healthy, and addressing personal needs. Often the times I have available to tackle my projects are when I’m most tired: early morning or evenings, when the kids are in bed. At that point all I want to do is relax. But where do I draw the line? Is it just a question of determining how important the tasks are? Or of finding a balance?

As with everything, my way to figure out the answers is to think about them. As a problem-solving introvert with a knack for looking at all sides of an issue, I can often evaluate the problem in my mind and process what will be the best course of action. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Game plan:

  • Limit my social media and other screen time. Have scheduled times when I can check Facebook and e-mail, and stick to it.
  • Push myself to stick to my planner. I’ve worked hard to create a daily and weekly schedule that fits my needs and wants. And yet I keep deviating from it. That has to stop, at least most of the time.
  • Set deadlines. Look at my many projects and determine when I would realistically like (or need) to have them done (ASAP is not an option!). Then, prioritize based on urgency and tackle them, one by one (or two by two, depending on the projects and time availability).
  • Fake it ’til I make it! In the beginning, especially, it will be difficult to have the confidence and motivation. I think (I hope!) this will change with time.

Once I get back into the habit of getting things done, and I start seeing progress being made, I think I will feel better. At least that’s what I’m hoping! I hope that getting closer to my goals will keep me going. I’m tired of being stuck

The fear and uncertainty are still there, and they likely will be for a while. But if I can prove to myself that success is an option, perhaps they will fade away. If I can show myself that I really can reach my goals and get where I want to be, then perhaps I will once again be confident, motivated, and happy. What have I got to lose?

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