Anxiety photoWe all have worries and fears. They can easily disempower us and keep us stuck. I witness it with myself and with people who enter my office. Falling into the trap of worry and fear doesn’t have to be the default.

Here is an example of how I worked through some of the fears with, Susan, a pseudo name of a person who came to see me in my office.

Susan began the session sharing worries, doubts, and uncertainties in her business model and even in her abilities. She said, “I am excited about the business plan and my vision for the future; however, I have such a long way to go before my full vision comes to fruition. How can I keep sane and make it to the finish line?”

I empathically replied, “One small step at a time. Look at what you have already accomplished. You have written the blueprint and have an out line to follow. Most people don’t even have the courage to take the time to think of a concept out of their normal routine job, let alone write the procedures. Give yourself credit and recognition of how far you’ve come.”

“True, true. But it still feels so overwhelming,” Susan responded.

It is overwhelming when you think of the big picture. It’s easy to think of where we want to be and not acknowledge how far we’ve come. Self-criticism and judgment is NOT helping the matter now.

The present is all you know and can control. Acknowledge the past accomplishments, give praise where praise is deserved and then ask yourself, what can be done now?

Thinking into the future, brings worry. The future can feel like light years away. Forward thinking is daunting and overwhelming. It does nothing but stop you in your tracks. And that certainly isn’t moving forward at all.

You can reflect on the past, think about other goals you’ve tried and didn’t succeed. There might be some belief you’ve developed that’s keeping you stuck. Could it be something from my childhood? Was there a time in your past where you worked hard and circumstances unexpectedly took them away?

Susan began a story about a time when she was thirteen. “I was so excited for the upcoming dance recital scheduled for the end of the season. I had prepared for months going to dance class religiously. I saved my weekly allowance from cleaning the house and bought my uniform. I hung it proudly in my closet anticipating the big day. And then bam, it was taken away. I got into trouble hanging around the wrong crowd and my punishment was I could not go to the dance recital. It tore me apart.”

Susan, that must have been so disappointing to work so hard, to feel so proud, and then have it shattered. I can imagine that hurt and disappointment and betrayal can feel like it may at any moment come back. But what is different now versus being that thirteen-year-old little girl?

Susan thought for a moment, “I am an adult and nothing is going to be taken away because I have no one to answer to but myself. I am the only one stopping me now. “

Yes! As a little girl you have no control over how your parents respond, but you are not living under their roof anymore. You are not dependent upon them for your survival. You are taking care of yourself now. You have worked hard, are able to pay your mortgage, buy your own food, and live comfortably with friends and others that support you. Many changes have taken place.

Susan was able to shed some light on her beliefs and move to a new perspective in a loving manner and as a grown, mature woman.

Worry and anxiety comes from a place focusing on the past or the future. The solution is the present. Concentrating on the past hinders what can be done in the present. To get unstuck it is important to focus on the present. What can be done now?

Unfold the Full Truth

Acknowledge what is going on right now. Name the fears and then assess each one. The truth of the matter is that you are fearful of possibilities of the future. Perhaps failure, even success, looking like a fool, or that no one desires what you have to offer.

Those are all possibilities. But what other possibilities exist? You can handle any disappointments and learn from them. Obstacles are pieces of information on how to improve.

Success can be controlled. If you are so successful, you can back off and regulate what makes you feel comfortable.

You may look like a fool to yourself, but I bet some people find your vulnerability courageous. It takes great bravery to expose your project or endeavor you have worked on long and hard.

Lastly, if you desire what you have to offer, what makes you think you are the only one? You have already gotten positive feedback from a practice run.

When worry and fear overwhelms, unfold the full truth. Anxiety likes negativity. The overall picture is never one-sided. Find the positive to counter the negative.

Photo by sachac