This time it will be different, a ground-shaking, earth-shattering lightening bolt of electricity and the accompanying intensity. This time we will get it right and it will be perfect. Follow all the bread crumbs on the trail to the enchanted land of “Happily Ever After”.
But what usually happens is that the electricity fizzles out and once again we are left standing and clutching our uncertainty and wondering… How did this happen again? How could it happen again?
Why is it that we can be filled with so much conviction, passion, courage and heroism at the start and then fizzle out when we get deflated by our own thinking? It’s not them or that. Think about it, what has been the one constant variable in all your equations? How many times have we started the new diet, the new exercise program, the 30-day challenge or the “New Me” on Monday. When did Monday become this magical day of transformation. The only difference between Monday and Sunday is the power and meaning we give it.
In my early years of recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism I was franticly trying to avoid my triggers. Life has a very funny way of teaching you some very important lessons; Plot twist… I am the trigger! Now that can be a very tough pill to swallow for our delicate sense of self, but it’s okay, we can learn how to colour outside the lines.
We are not immune to speed bumps, road blocks, and brick walls. No matter how much we dig our heels in the sand and scream “this shouldn't be happening to me”. By their very nature, these obstacles are designed to ask us one very important question. The obstacles are not there to keep us out, they are there to ask us how bad do we want it?
Do you see an obstacle or an opportunity? When you feel yourself fizzling out and deflated remember this one very important powerful question “Why is this happening for me?” as opposed to the reactive disempowering “Why is this happening to me?”
Thinking and doing are not the same “ing”, and it’s the gap in between that collects so many bystanders. What do you think stops most people from taking action? It has nothing to do with lack of hope, talent ,creativity, drive, ambition or that magical trump card – purpose. The fear of failure, making mistakes, and self doubt can stop most people dead in their tracks.
Most people will not take that all important step because they are afraid of the uncertainty and the underlying sense of constriction and lack of personal freedom without being in control of their own lives. We crave seeing the connection of all the dots, and that “it all makes sense” of certainty.
It’s an awfully deep dark gap, in that chasm of uncertainty and self doubt. The massive amount of hope, ambition, willpower and drive to avoid the uncertainty and the subsequent splat, has to count for something? Doesn’t it?
For a lot of us, we interpret this lack of control and self doubt as we are doing something wrong, slipping backwards, and spiralling further and further, deeper and deeper into the gap of uncertainty. When did fear and doubt become synonymous with erroneous? Do you really think that the perfect next move or reaching the magical enchanted “Happily Ever After” and complete control will eliminate all fears, doubts and insecurities?
We get so afraid because we are afraid. Have you ever stopped to think that failures and mistakes are a necessary part of the process? It took me four “Rock Bottoms” before sobriety finally stuck. Each rock bottom would cast me deeper and deeper into a pit of helplessness and hopelessness. The issue had nothing to do with sobriety’s stickiness, but had everything to do with how I viewed success and failure.
Success isn’t something you get but rather something you bring. Self doubt is normal and we have all played that little game of here we go again… let's create a brand new start line.
Start looking at self-doubt as a gift and it’s a great way to sharpen your sword of resolve and inner strength. The real success isn’t reaching “Happily Ever After” or chasing that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Success is something you bring when you are grounded in a nurturing, accepting and loving relationship with self.
It can start with letting go of these three disempowering fairy tales:
1 – Perfect feelings will ignite us to feel confident and take action.
We can wait and wait a little bit more for that “right” feeling to come along and ignite us to start. It’s backwards thinking. Ready–aim–fire simply creates more inertia and more thinking. Start with the action and that will create the feelings of feeling more confident. The perfect plan is not the answer .
When have you ever felt ready? It’s time to let go of this childish notion that you can some how use a get out of jail free card from doing the work and navigating obstacles. Reading all the books and saying all the mantras is not doing the work and is simply not going to make any dent what so ever in changing your behaviour. Start. Do you ever really know what’s around the next corner? Is it clarity that we seek or an immediate relief from self and the uncertainty?
2 – Worried what other people think.
We have absolutely zero control over what other people will think. Trying to be perfect so as to not attract any undue criticism or rejection is very self limiting and defeating. Think of all the times you have moved your pieces on the chess board trying to avoid rejection. How many times have you obsessed over your next move, griped with fear and indecision of making the “wrong” decision. Yeah, but what will they think of me?
What are them and that really thinking? Who is really doing the judging and criticizing with that oh so recognizable and familiar voice? It doesn't have to be perfect; the only person who can really reject us is ourselves.
Trust me, people are so wrapped up on their own stuff that you are not even on their radar. Other people are not the ones keeping score, pointing the judgemental finger or upholding the sacred standards of right and wrong. The biggest obstacle that stands in our way is ourselves. You need to get very intimate with failure and of letting go of this false sense of security masquerading as perfection. Isn’t life already challenging enough?
3 – Getting Intimate With Fear
Fear based decisions devalue your capacity to become the hero of our own story. Have you ever wondered why you have always started from the exact same starting point? Security and that overwhelming sense of control traps us into the narrative that I can only feel heroic if I have no fears or insecurities and the illusion of control and perfection. Let’s be honest, fear and insecurity can lead us to feeling pretty uncomfortable and powerless.
So the next time you are feeling fearful remember that fear is a necessary ingredient for courage. You cant have any courage without any fear. The next time the paralysing grip of fear has you feeling utterly powerless; instead of playing hide and seek with your fear, get intimate with your fear.
Firstly, you need to ADMIT that you are Fearful . The honesty to admit that we are fearful is one of the first steps that will release the paralysing grip of fear. Do you really think you can out run your shadows and fears? Only once we get honest with ourselves do we realize that all along we have been running from ourselves. The one constant variable in all my equations is myself.
Secondly, ALLOW yourself to feel all the fear. Sit with it and don’t play hide and seek with it and try to squirm away. Don’t keep abandoning yourself by reaching for your common distractions and numbing out fear. Allowing yourself to completely feel the fear is one of the greatest acts of self love and nurturing. Trust me you do have the capacity to nurture and love yourself.
Thirdly, ACT how would you act if you were fearless. Fearless is not the absence of fears. We have to have the courage, heroism and love to get intimate with our fears. Fearlessness has to be choosen on a moment to moment basis. How would you act if you granted yourself the permission to grow from mistakes and “failures”?
You want to be the “Hero of Your Story” and are wondering what does it take? The truth is there is no extraordinary cosmic snap of the fingers, but rather extraordinary results come from the consistent ordinary small steps you take. And the most important step is the one YOU take RIGHT NOW under YOUR feet. Trust me when I tell you that you are qualified and you have everything you need right within YOU. Want to find success and complete control? Then take a deep long look in the mirror.
Darren Scherbain is an Ironman triathalete, recovered addict, podcaster, reconditioning coach and motivational speaker based in Phuket. His story of addiction and recovery stands testament to the amazing power and healing energy of sport, exercise and an altered mindset. Contact Darren at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit secretsofbetterliving.com
Darren will be giving a talk entitled ‘Standing in our Strength’ at Inspired Phuketians on Sunday, September 24. Inspired Phuketians is a series of talks hosted by Skye Lake Club in Cherng
Talay. This event is proudly sponsored by The Phuket News and Live 89.5.